I overslept death. On July 7th 2005 in London, I was supposed to be on the Tube to Madame Tussauds. I was in London for the International Affairs program for Florida sate University and we had the day off. I went to bed early but when my alarm went off, I just went back to sleep. I woke up again an hour later and the building was shaking. A bomb had gone off half a mile away.
The tube I would have been on had blown up. If I had stuck to my daily schedule, I wouldn’t be here today.
It was tragic, angering, and horrible. It also was a reminder that I could die. You intellectually know that in your early twenties, but you don’t really know it. The attack made me pause and reflect on what I want to do with my life.
THE PLAN was to work for the State Department, teach International Relations, or even work on political campaigns, but after the attack I just wanted to work on the novel that I had given up on. I always wrote when I was younger, it was what I wanted do, but I was also really good at International Relations. It was a safe pick. It was a career. But the bombing changed me and made me think about what I really wanted.
I ended up graduating with degrees in Political Science and History. Instead of working for the State Department, I ended up managing a porn store because I knew I could write there. I wrote some pretentious literary fiction and finished a few novels that were mediocre, but I kept going. I even worked for the Dept. of Labor, because I knew it was a bullshit job and I could write during it.
During my studies, I gathered knowledge about politics, International Relations, Middle East history, and I never used any of it until I decided to write the Great White House series. With Great White House 2, I was able to explore the absurdity and tragedy of terrorism.
I am content writing about the absurdity of politics instead working and living in it.
The terrorist attack in London will always stay with me. There are few moments that can change the trajectory of your life in such a monumental way.
I will never forget that day as long as I live.