At 3:32 Pacific time on Friday, I saw a friend in London post a message of “Pray for Paris” on her Tumblr feed followed by information about a hostage in the theater who was Tweeting from his hiding spot. I jumped for my favorite online news source and just sat there, listening as a calm and otherwise productive Friday spiraled down into chaos. At twenty-two years old I was brought back to another event that my nine-year-old self saw on the morning news. To summarize it, it felt like the world was falling apart again.
Seeing what happened in Paris, it rips me to my very core. Part of it is that way back my family was French, other parts consist that I know which Revolutionary Patriots in my family fought along side with Layette but also my grandfather was there on D-Day. Emotions in my household are high because we know our connection to France, to Paris. They’re family and an ally. For me, I will always be eternally grateful to the French because if the French Resistance didn’t distract and slow the Nazi’s transportation by train, my grandfather may have died on D-Day or on the days that followed – which means that my father wouldn’t have been born and by effect I wouldn’t be here. Considering that I had spent Friday afternoon writing up a script for a documentary about D-Day, about Utah Beach where my grandfather fought, all of these thoughts were in my head while I listened to MSNBC as I made dinner.
After the news broadcasts on Friday night, I sat down and let the world fade as I wrote a single message to put out on social media. With all of the in the moment posts it seemed wise to something more substantial than hate speech that was circulating over the internet. As my earlier statement suggests, I’m part of a generation who watched the twin towers fall. Like how my parents grew up with the Cold War, my generation grew up with the War on Terror. We want to know why, we want to know how, and we demand to know the who. After terror attacks of any sort, we by human nature want to make sense of the tragedy. We want justice and by way of that we want revenge. This has been the cycle of the past fourteen years and sitting in the middle of the night in front of my computer, I realized that if there was anything I could do in that one moment: it was that I had to do my job. My first thought wasn’t, “I should go to bed,” it was, “Sit down and write.”
As a writer, it is my job to know words. But sometimes, just sometimes, knowing the right words to say invokes agonizing thoughts. Thoughts that reflect on the human condition, thoughts that didn’t make sense unless fused together with other thoughts that were said earlier in the evening on the news. Sometimes we writers are compelled to write the hardest thing in a time when emotions are high. Sometimes, we’re beckoned to open our heart and write what lies within. Because of that I wrote this one post because the words needed to be said.
Update: Link to the social media post https://www.facebook.com/lannahlstrom/posts/570745206407158