While I was reading David Wallace‘s essay on his reaction to nine eleven, I immediately imagined him sitting at his desk frantically trying to get his feelings down on paper. Everyone knows what that feels like, I am not a big writer and I know what it feels like. You have all these feelings welling up inside and you don’t know what to do with them; all you want to do is write them down, yet as you begin writing in your journal, or blog, or whatever suits you, all of your feelings become jumbled and blurred. You don’t know which way is up or which way is down, you’re just writing what you are thinking. In my experience when I have anger or an unimaginable amount of feelings I write them in a journal just the way they sound in my head. And when I am feeling down or just out of it I go back and reread my journal. But it is a challenge to make sense of it, yet at the time I was writing everything made perfect sense and helped me achieve a deeper understanding of a particular situation.
The image in my head of David Wallace looks like this. His “caveat” states that the essay was “written in what probably qualifies as shock.” This says to me that he was venting, trying to make sense of his feelings and at the same time writing a successful essay. I would argue that at the beginning of his essay Wallace did not know where this essay was going or even exactly what it would be about, but by the end not only did he have a brilliant essay, but also a deeper understanding of his own feelings and reactions to this horrible act of terrorism.