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An Essay Of Passion
by Suzanne G. Beyer

I glanced down at the stack of magazines sitting on the floor of our local YMCA. I saw a picture of my daughter and me standing atop the World Trade Center. If this weren’t shock enough, directly underneath the photo was my essay about the devastating destruction of the two giant New York icons and the precious souls lost on that September 11th day.

My words made front-page news on the cover of the Seattle-area magazine called Northwest Prime Time. This is a paper covering issues relating to senior citizens and since I felt I was teetering on senior citizenship, I thought it would serve as good reading material. It also seemed the perfect publication for my outpouring of thoughts that tragic day.

I wrote the essay for therapeutic reasons. Here I sat in Seattle, watching this made-for-TV movie, seeing two planes crash into the buildings, then their total collapse. Horror overcame me, and with that pit in my stomach, like the feeling after a death in the family, I needed to scream out my pain. But who would listen? I was a native New Yorker and so far away. This was a hurt felt by all Americans, but somehow my sadness was more acute and increasingly getting worse. I chose to write to help me with my struggle to grasp such horror – an assault on my roots, my city! This attack felt personal.

Writing just flowed. I reminisced about my family standing on the roof of the World Trade Center. I recall pointing out all the bridges (even getting one wrong, as my daughter noted according to the plaque). I spotted my Staten Island high school, Curtis, which we used to call “The castle on the hill.” I told my children about working on Liberty Street, taking the ferry each day from my home on Staten Island and how I’d eat my bag lunch in the graveyard of historic Trinity Church at the head of Wall Street. The graveyard provided sanctuary from the sweltering, bustling city streets and a needed respite for an hour. Memories rushed to the forefront as I recorded my scattered, emotionally charged thoughts at a good 90 wpm. It was a long, rambling piece that I shortened to 600 words.

Upon receiving my article, Editor Roedell of Northwest Prime Time phoned to see if I had a photo to accompany my words.

“Yours was the only article I received about 9/11,” she said.

Not knowing what she had in mind, I could only pray she wanted to publish it. But truly, to this day, I can’t comprehend why no one submitted an article to her magazine about this horrific event.

From that first piece, "Headline News," where I received $75.00, I’ve written numerous non-fiction articles ranging from growing redwood trees in our front yard to the benefits of swimming exercise and have been published in several national magazines. More importantly, however, I’m a regular contributor to Northwest Prime Time. Last year, I opened the paper to another surprise … "Associate Editor: Suzanne G. Beyer."

© Copyright 2006, Suzanne G. Beyer

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