September 11th, 2006



My first thought--the very first thought, the one that appalls me and at the same time makes perfect sense--upon seeing the devastated, blackened floors where the planes had crashed into the buildings, was not of the people who'd died, or the people who'd done this.

It was of a semi-post-apocalyptic story that shadowhwk and I have worked on, called Legion. In that world, NYC has grown up even taller and darker than it is today, with a layer of pathways and streets high in the sky, connecting skyscrapers in a tangle where the very wealthy live and never come near the ground. There's a dangerous, burnt-out layer partway up the high-rises that's nearly impassable, helping to keep the rich separated from the poor. And my first thought, looking at the smoking, ruined buildings against the clear blue sky, was, "That's exactly what Legion looks like."

I woke up that morning at 6am local time due to excrutiating back spasms. I figured I might as well go to work, since there was nothing else to do at that hour and I was clearly not going back to sleep. I logged onto my social chat room, as I usually do, to hear Chrysoula say that somebody'd just run a couple of planes into the World Trade Center towers.

I went upstairs and turned on the television in time--as if this were a fortuitous event--to watch the second tower collapse on live tv. I woke Ted up. I called my parents at seven in the morning and said, "Are you up? Somebody just bombed the World Trade Center," when Dad answered the phone.

Dad said, "Are you kidding?"

I wasn't, of course. I write fiction for a living, but my imagination would've fallen short on that one.

The towers falling prompted the single instance I can recall of George W. Bush sounding even vaguely presidential: his tour of the site a few days later, when he shouted out to the crowd, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon." I think right then, at that moment, he had even me. It didn't last.

My cousin Noel, who lives in New York, talked about the silence that day, and in the days that followed. She could hear birds singing, something she'd never been able to pick out of the cacophany before.

A few days short of two years later, I was in New York City to have lunch with Teresa Nielsen Hayden. It was an incredibly beautiful day, and while we were walking to the pub, Teresa suddenly said, "It was just like this, only a few degrees warmer, the day those bastards attacked our city."

Ted and I visited the site while we were there. We weren't entirely sure we were going the right way, until looking through a cross-street there was a terrible gaping emptiness. It wasn't that you could see the hole in the earth, not from where we were; it was that in New York, there are no unexpected expanses of nothing: concrete and streetways and in the midst of it all, an emptiness that simply did not belong.

We didn't stay long. We didn't take pictures. We didn't need to.

These are my memories, five years later on.


I have begun THE QUEEN'S BASTARD. 'Begun' is something of a misnomer, since there were, at the beginning of the day, 49,400 words written on it. I've re-started it, anyway, and have managed, I think, to deal with the scene that I didn't write because I didn't know it needed to be there until it wasn't, and now it is. I think it is there in sufficient quantity. If it is not, then it's because the book needs another POV character, and it's not lending itself to that. We'll see what ends up happening. (Ted cheerfully suggested last night that I take the scenes I've written from other POVs, print them, include them with the final manuscript, and say to my editor and agent, "Here. You guys figure out where these bits go." The idea is appealling. :))

So not a bad writing day, really. I ended up with...well. 3500 *new* words is something of a misnomer, as there was one scene written that I rewrote some and worked in, and a few bits from other scenes I did the same with. Still, I'm counting 'em all. I'm at 53K now. My editor wants this book to come in at 125K. I think it'll come in around 150, and have a vague fear it's going to get completely away from me and that somewhere around 200K I'm going to have to accept that I have written 2 books in the place of one. (That would not be entirely bad, just, you know. Not what I planned.) :)

Right now, having gone through some fifty thousand words of it, I /like/ this book. My only actual fear in writing it is that I won't do it justice (my God, I'm channelling matociquala!). Now, whether I still like it tomorrow after I've tried wrassling a story I haven't worked on in two years back into my brain, and figuring out what happens next, is another question *entirely*, isn't it. But we won't worry about that just yet. :)

Turns out the set-dancing thing on Mondays at the Commodore (where Ted works) is a private function, not an open class, so I skipped swimming this morning for a dance class I can't go to. Oops. Oh well. At least I walked the dog, and perhaps after dinner I'll take myself for another longer walk. (eta: ooh! ted just called to say he'd gotten in good with somebody and i can go down wednesday evening to watch the dancers and talk with them! my husband LUFFS me!)

Ok. Food, then something not-at-a-computer for at least a few hours today. *scoots*

miles to Isengard: 262
ytd wordcount: 293,100