Many thanks to my guest today for her inspiring post! ~DD
When I realized I’d be doing my guest post on September 11, I drew a blank. The usual topics about writing process or what makes a hero hot seemed inappropriate on a date associated with tragedy, grief and rage.
Then I got an email from a friend that he and his crew would be taking part in Flags on the 48 and I knew what my theme would be.
This morning at roughly 5:45 AM, my friend Randy Pierce, his fiancée Tracy and a group of hiking friends gathered at the trailhead of New Hampshire’s 4459-foot Mount Liberty—with a big American flag. If all goes well with the hike, “their” flag will fly for a time on the top of this challenging peak, as flags will from all the 48 peaks over 4000 feet in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, in honor of those who died on September 11, 2001 and those who serve in the armed forces. On some peaks, during some periods of time, flags from other nations may join the American flag, since people from more than sixty countries died at the World Trade Center and they all deserve to be remembered.
On September 15, 2001, a group of six hikers who knew each other from Adirondack Mountain Club message boards ascended Mount Liberty with a big flag, some PVC poles and rope and a bunch of duct tape. To quote the event web site, “In a small demonstration of their helplessness and compassion in the wake of incomprehensible violence, these six hikers ascended with heavy hearts to raise the American flag from the summit of Mount Liberty. This was their personal tribute to the thousands of men, women and children who perished in the attacks.”
And since then, hikers have been climbing some of the more beautiful and yet most treacherous mountains in the country (there are taller mountains, certainly, but the White Mountains hold their own for spectacular scenery and spectacular ways to kill yourself) with flags and rigging in their backpacks, to commemorate the dead and affirm life.
What does this have to do with writing? It’s a reminder to look at familiar stories in new ways. Much of the narrative about September 11, 2001 has been one of anger, vengeance, or hopelessness in the face of world forces we can’t affect. Courage as well, but lately we’ve been hearing more about “Burn a Koran Day” than we have about 9/11/01 demonstrating courage and hope in the face of adversity.
So today, let’s think about flags flying on the 48, about what that symbolizes. About heroes and heroines who have the courage to chance the narrative, to take a story about anger and hatred and turn it into one of hope and compassion.
And while we’re thinking about courage and hope, let me mention an important member of the team hiking Mount Liberty with my friend Randy today: his guide dog Quinn.
Randy is completely blind due to a rare neurological disorder, which also causes near-constant vertigo. He still climbs mountains. He’s turned his passion for climbing into a non-profit, 2020 Vision Quest, that aims to inspire others to “Achieve a vision beyond your sight” and in the process raise funds for several organizations that work directly with blind people. (Check out the web site. It’s a hugely inspiring story.)
Here’s the other writing and romance-novel tie-in for today: Heroes and heroines lurk where you might not expect them and bravery takes many forms. I write paranormals, so my heroes and heroines have extraordinary traits as shapeshifting or powerful magic. They’re larger than life, face down demons, save the world.
But I hope someday to create a character who has the guts and determination that my friend Randy shows today, climbing Mount Liberty blind to raise a flag and people’s dreams, or the imagination and hope demonstrated by those first six hikers in an international time of grief nine years ago.
Teresa Noelle Roberts’ most recent book is Foxes’ Den (Duals and Donovans: The Different, Book 2), released in August by Samhain. To brighten the mood after a rather somber post, here’s a blurb:
Some guys just don’t take rejection well. Sure, Akane’s affair with an uptight sorcerer’s boy toy backfired, but two hundred years locked in a mortal body is cruel and unusual punishment for a Trickster avatar. To free her fox form, she needs sex magic with a male of her own kind. Except none exist.
Adorable Trickster-touched fox dual Taggart Ross-Donovan is the closest she’s found. Even better, he’s married to Paul Donovan, whose red magic sizzles the air around him. One night with them will generate the extraordinary power needed to set her free.
The last thing Tag and Paul expect to find under a sorcerer’s curse is a beautiful kitsune who gets under their skin without even trying.
No one goes into the ritual with more hope than Akane…or more fear. Failure will leave her forever entrapped. Worse, she’s falling for two mortals. And there’s only one thing that can kill a kitsune—unrequited love.
Warning: Contains sly fox men (with tails), foxy fox women (with multiple tails), sexy witches chasing tail, Trickster magic, cranky sorcerers, and enough gay, het and MMF sex to torch your Kindle.