This piece was retrieved from an old archive of my online writing—there will likely be some rough edges!
I don’t have anything profound to say about what happened in Boston. It’s awful, and I hope those who are injured physically and emotionally are able to heal up as best they can.
What happened in the aftermath of the incident, all over the Internet, was both compelling and deeply sad. The news spread on social media almost immediately, with scattered reports coming in here and there, nothing confirmed, everything still in question. And as many offered their condolences and stopped pushing out self-promotional tweets or jokes, those who were still not aware of the situation and did so were harassed for being “crass” or “offensive.” Of course, these people simply hadn’t gotten the news yet—it had been only minutes since the bombs exploded.
And out of respect, many people simply shut down public operations, perhaps in a “moment of silence” for those who were injured or worse. I thought I’d do the same, even though almost no one is listening. The thing was, according to my to-do list, I was supposed to submit a story to a few literary magazines before the end of the day.
That brought up an interesting predicament. Was I supposed to go ahead and submit, and take the risk of editors on the other end thinking I’m callous for trying to promote my own work, in a very tangential way, during a time of tragedy? The chance of that happening was extraordinarily slim, considering my piece would probably enter a slush pile to be read some weeks or months later. Even then, there was this overwhelming sentiment that things should cool off. With that in mind, I decided to just write another few hundred words and throw in a bit of editing to make up for my lack of submission.
How long does that last? Today, the writers I follow on Twitter are back to self-promotion. Is that timeline proportional to the extent of the loss? I’ve always believed it’s never “too soon” for comedians to make jokes about tragic situations, this timeframe of respectful silence is more difficult to gauge. I think it’s passed, in part because we can’t let these kinds of attacks shake us or change the way we live. Still, there’s a strangeness in actively trying to further my writing career while others are still mourning or recuperating.
As I said, there’s nothing profound to say. And that’s all. Time to be thankful for what I still have, and keep on working.