Volume 4: 2002
February 4, 2002
by Robert Whitsitt
Life is back to normal in many ways, but the results of 11 September 2001 will always be with us, in small ways and large. Getting on an airplane is more hassle than it used to be, TV has more specials about dealing with stress than before, and all of us, I think, wish we were back in the "good old days" just a few months ago.
In spite of our discomfort and the way things have changed, we adjust, as we always do. As people everywhere always have. Hurricane, volcano, dictator, war, disease, famine, terrorist. We deal with them all and go on.
One of the more personal ways we deal with the vicissitudes of life is by telling stories and writing poetry (See Janet I. Buck's September Snow in the November 2001 issue, and Janine Goss's Aftermath of 9-11 and Ian Randall Wilson's Why I Am Hiding in this issue). Amarillo Bay lets people who are good at creating stories and poems share their thoughts with others. All of us have thoughts and feelings about our lives and their relation to the events of the rest of the world, but most of us do not write in the formal ways required by a literary magazine.
How has 11 September 2001 changed your life? Write and tell me.
May 6, 2002
by Robert Whitsitt
What we do at Amarillo Bay is important.
It occurs to me to say this because at the Oscar Awards Tom Cruise said something to the effect that it was right for the people in the Academy to go on with their work after the events of 9/11. Well, of course they go on, we all do, because there really isn't a lot of choice.
I think that what we do at Amarillo Bay is more than just going on. It must be, because everyone is a volunteer. No one, including the publisher, editors, and writers, gets a penny. That means it would not hurt our standard of living if we just walked away from it. And we would have some extra time we could spend doing something else, such as our own creative work, or even just sleeping.
So, why do we do it?
I believe we are providing a place where people can safely examine thoughts and feelings that might not be popular. A place where people who express themselves very well can let us explore ideas and emotions in ways that we might not be able to otherwise. I think the freedom to do that exploration is important in these days of mindless political correctness on the left and knee-jerk pseudo-patriotism on the right. I think that in our way, even though we almost never address political issues directly, we are helping to make freedom of speech the norm, and thus are making it harder for ideologues to take it away from us.
August 5, 2002
by Robert Whitsitt
The last few months continue to be a whole lot about the events of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath. This quarter's issue continues on that note, with those events intrinsic to Two Days in September, by Roberto Pachecano.
In my personal homeland, external events were somewhat overridden by a mammogram indicating that my wife had something odd going on at the site of her most recent breast cancer. One doctor said to wait six months and do another mammogram, but three doctors, including her oncologist, said that while it was almost certainly nothing, there was a potentially big penalty for waiting six months and only then finding out it was something important.
The biopsy found that it was nothing. We expected that, of course, but it is a relief actually to get the news.
When my wife woke me the morning of 11 September, it was to tell me of a horrible accident that had happened in New York, a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. For a few wonderful, now-na´ve minutes we knew it was no more than that horrendous accident, just as we knew that her breast cancer was not too important in the global scheme of things. In New York, it turned out that the malignancy runs very deep.
November 4, 2002
by Robert Whitsitt
The three months since I last wrote have had a lot of stress in them for me.
About 2:20 the morning of Wednesday, August 14, I woke with pain in my gut. That started an Odyssey that began with my wife calling 911, helpful firefighters, an ambulance ride, and a quick diagnosis of pancreatitis. That was followed by four days of lying in a hospital bed with antibiotics, fluids, and morphine dripping into me. I was allowed nothing to eat except an occasional ice chip. Amazingly, I was not hungry that entire time. In fact, probably due to the morphine, the time went quickly. I don't remember details about most of it. After four days of that, my pancreas was okay, so they went in at 8:00 on Sunday morning and removed my gall bladder, which was the villain that caused the problem. I went home the next day and recovered without incident.
If you've had surgery, perhaps your reaction is like mine: intense consideration of what is going on with me and no thought whatsoever of how it affects my family and friends. I'm not proud of it, but I understand it is a very common response. I do manage to remain cheerful throughout, fortunately. (I see I'm still doing it: this issue's entry is all about me.)
Last May I got involved with making another short film (I helped with A Rendezvous with Audrey the summer of 2001). This one, Objet d'Art, will be about eleven minutes long. As Assistant Director I am responsible for keeping everything on the set running smoothly, much like the Stage Manager in a theater. I also helped find locations, record auditions and the other events along the way, and plan shots. Being out for surgery and recovery did not make the process any easier, but we have now completed the filming. The editing will take a few more months.
In yet another stressful event, I started working for Google a few weeks ago. I am testing the main search site to make sure it does what it is supposed to do. My wife has been working there as a technical writer for nearly eleven months, so that made starting there easier, but a new job is always somewhat stressful even with fun people and interesting work.
And, of course, I just finished producing the new issue of Amarillo Bay. It went very well, as always, with several works that I am sure you will enjoy.
Go to Publisher's Comments Volume 5: 2003.
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