WITNESS TO TERROR:
A Writer's Perspective
Kristi Gold © 2001

When I received the call from a writing colleague telling me to turn on the television on September 11th, I had no idea what I, as well as millions of others around the world, would witness-a horrific act of violence that would leave us stunned, shaken, and filled with abject sorrow.

Unfortunately, I am no stranger to viewing tragedies played out on live TV. I watched the demise of the Challenger, the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, and much more close to my home, the fiery end of the Davidian compound, alternating between news images and watching the smoke rise from my own back yard. After each agonizing event, I went back to my writing soon after, finding salvation in my work and utilizing in my prose the range of emotions I'd experienced. Yet as I viewed images of two commercial airliners piercing the glass and steel of the World Trade Center towers, creating a fiery apocalypse, I lost all desire to write. For days I could only sit and watch the terror unfold as if by seeing the scenes over and over again, I might come to accept the reality. But acceptance eluded me as anger closed in.

Yet seeing rescue workers relentless in their determination and hope to find someone alive among the debris filled me with determination as well. Witnessing a non-partisan show of support among our leaders as they gathered together to sing strengthened my resolve. Seeing the peoples of this world unite-East and West Germans gathered at Brandenburg Gate holding American Flags, British citizens assembled at Buckingham Palace while The Star Spangled Banner played, shedding tears as I had for days-gave me hope that true compassion does exist in a world that sometimes seems cloaked in madness. But I still couldn't write.

Authors on email loops and Internet listserves echoed my own sentiments-How do we go on? It was on these loops that I found solace and an amazing camaraderie. Am I surprised? No. Writers tend to be a generous group, supportive and consoling during times of need. I began to realize that my reaction was normal, a part of the grief process. I'm certain many writers have experienced these same roadblocks and it might be a while before they can return to their stories. As long as we're kind to ourselves and remember that it's only a temporary situation, our books will once again call to us and the passion will return.

As romance authors, we weave stories of hope, of healing, of happy endings, and most important, of love. The world needs that now more than ever. And on my current journey of the heart, I will carry with me the images of the rescuers, the faces of those who've lost their lives, the personal stories shared by loved ones and recall what true heroism is all about. I will forever remember strangers embracing on the street in their sorrow, voices raised in song and the healing power of prayer. But most of all I will hold steadfast to hope, for without it, our stories, our world, would be desolate. I now acknowledge that I must go on in order to demonstrate I have not been defeated. We have not been defeated.

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying 
when there seemed to be no hope at all."
~ Dale Carnagie ~

This article is dedicated to the hundreds of men, women and children who lost their lives during the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and to those who worked tirelessly and bravely to save lives. It is also dedicated to people throughout the world, past and present, who have suffered the scourge of senseless violence… and to those who have reached out with their own hands and hearts to provide comfort.