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In the pause: 9/11 turned me into a writer

“Your word is your wand.” ~Florence Scovel Shinn

On this day of remembrance, I’m reflecting on the power of our words as writers. In many ways, September 11th gave me the urgency to write. I wanted so much to be a writer all my life. Buried somewhere in the grief of that day and the many days that followed, something rose up and said, “You must do this now. Right now.” And so I began to write things down. Ideas and stories and reflections at my then very young age of 25.

I didn’t know where it would lead, but I felt that I needed to leave something behind, something that would survive long after me. It would be many more years before Emerson Page entered my mind, many more years until a life-threatening tragedy of a different kind would literally meet me at my doorstep and spur me to find and stand in my own light.

Watching how precious and fleeting life can be, for reasons completely out of our control and out of the realm of what we even imagine to be possible every morning, 9/11 brought into irrefutable focus that we have to live every day. To honor those we lost. To honor all of those forever impacted by it in countless and unchangeable ways. To not wait. To not let the days slip away but to grab them, hold them, and treasure them. To live out loud. That’s what they would have done. That’s what they would have wanted for all of us.

On this day of remembrance, I wish you peace and love and light. And I wish you the energy to embrace your passions that make this world so rich and vibrant. Your story, every story, matters. To someone, somewhere. Write it down so that others may know you even if you never get the chance to meet them. You never know what difference your words will make to someone who needs them. You may have just the magic they need to keep going in their own lives.

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