A Quest of Another Kind
Simple Definition of quest…Merriam Webster online dictionary
: a journey made in search of something
: a long and difficult effort to find or do something
My friend, Bob Ossler, and I set out on a quest more than sixteen months ago: to write his memories of his work as a volunteer chaplain at Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11.
Bob is a talker and a storyteller. He is not a writer. But he joined a writers’ critique group that my friend, Kathryn Ross, and I organized at Cumberland County Community Church, in Millville, NJ.
Bob started telling his Ground Zero stories and stopped us cold. We listened to story after story, spellbound and teary-eyed.
When Bob stopped talking, silence overwhelmed the conference room. Then, almost in unison, the writers in the group said, “Bob, you must write these stories so readers can see a new picture of what happened at Ground Zero. Your stories tell about people with fractured and broken hearts and spirits. They don’t just tell about buildings that crashed to the ground.”
“I can’t write,” he insisted. “I’ve tried and tried. But each time I end up in an emotional mess. I just can’t do it.”
“Can you email?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Then write me emails, and let’s see what happens.”
And that’s just what he did. Bob wrote me hundreds of emails of his memories about Ground Zero. We met weekly for three hours, and I plagued him for more details. We wrote and rewrote. Then we found a publisher, Scoti Springfield Domeij of Blackside Publishing, who caught our vision and encouraged us to keep writing.
Fifteen months and ten reams of paper later, our quest ended in a published book. Writing this book was a journey, a long and difficult journey, but we did it. And here is our final product. It was a quest well worth doing, but we are both glad that it is finished. What will our next quest be? Stay turned. We are already working on another brainchild.
For more on this project see our website and blog at www.triumphoverterror.com