Sept 11: What it taught me

For many of us, September 11, 2001 was a turning point in history and our lives. And it seems with each passing year, we can still recall where we were on that fateful day, what we did and how we coped.

Moreover, we can reflect on how our lives may have been, and how different they might be now.

I was never one to live in fear. However, 9-11-01 changed the person I thought I was—temporarily anyway.

I remember looking out of the tenth floor window of my office building in downtown Newark, New Jersey, and like many others, noting the beauty of the blue sky. Seconds after placing my pocketbook in my desk drawer, I glanced up again, finding it weird that the sky near the World Trade Center had suddenly darkened.

The first plane struck. It had to be a mistake, I thought.

I literally saw the second plane hit, and became angry. I wondered who hell was flying the blasted thing, and why couldn’t they see those huge towers in front of them?

Then it sank in as I watched the news unfolding on the television monitor to my left and the flames growing outside the window to my right—just across the Hudson River.

It was deliberate.

From that day forward, I kept the blinds at the office open at all times, glancing at every plane that flew to and from Newark Airport. I became obsessed with anything flying near my office building and watched every aircraft, be it a helicopter or plane—until it flew from sight.

I lived in fear for a long time. I didn’t like it.

It’s the eleventh anniversary of 9-11, and while I still think of the events of that day, I haven’t kept my eyes glued to the skies as much. Instead, I’ve learned to be better prepared, always have a plan and take nothing for granted. I’m on guard, but not afraid.

I’ve since lowered the blinds in my office, which is a big deal for me. However, on occasion, I will glance out the window at a passing aircraft, pause for a moment in remembrance, and then get back to living.

Take a moment to remember those who are no longer here, kiss and hug those who are, and live each day with strength, passion and love.


The Words: another lesson (and reminder) about integrity

Over the weekend, I saw the motion picture, “The Words,” starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid and Jeremy Irons.

When I first saw the coming attractions at, “The Expendables 2” showing, I knew I had to see it. The movie tells the tale about a writer who, at the peak of his literary success, discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.

I’ve heard the lukewarm reviews from the critics. However, I rarely listen. I tend to lean on the side of what I want to see, as opposed to what’s being touted as the next best thing. After all, the opinions are largely subjective—as are literary reviews.

Personally, I loved the movie. Anything that features a typewriter, computer, library, books, ink, pens and thoughts, hooks me. It’s the kind of movie with which all artists, particularly writers, can relate.

I wouldn’t dare spoil the opportunity for you to see this movie for yourself. But I will tell you a line in the film that really had me thinking. One of the characters (the soon-to-be disgraced publisher) told the soon-to-be disgraced writer, “You’re not the only author who has done this kind of thing [plagiarized].”

I thought about that comment and wondered how many amongst the greatest writers of our times have put their names on someone else’s works? For starters, I know that William Shakespeare’s, work had been questioned.

Now here’s a little more food for thought:

As a struggling, unpublished writer, would you take a potential literary masterpiece that fell into your hands without anyone knowing, and put your name on it? If so, would you be able to live with the consequences?

In a nutshell, “The Words,” is a thought-provoking journey that will make you ponder your life as a writer and the possible “what if.” I certainly did. Go see the movie and then tell me what you thought.