We have received dozens and dozens of essays in the days since Sept. 11 from writers who attempt to apprise us, or their friends, or complete strangers, of new depths or doubts in their thinking, sharp turns in their opinions, incredible longing for change. These are days of personal and public reckoning, of vigorous confession and debate. We thought it would be nice if some of this could happen, where it often has, in this site -- a static forum, but, we think, enlightening nonetheless.
America the invincible no more
We aren't just angry at terrorists; we are furious that we are not immune to death.
By David Alford
A plane, an explosion
Flying again is scary and tender and sticky.
By Gabriel Olds
There's prayer, and then there's the wife and money trouble and Billy Graham.
By Alan Rifkin
Paranoid like me
The country becomes afraid and my alienation begins to fade.
By Gary Greenberg
It isn't just "freedom" they hate
Those who rained terror upon the U.S. may have had real grievances -- and we shouldn't feel guilty about discussing them.
By Sara Pursley
Now more than ever
Witnessing hell has made me a born-again atheist.
By Lauren Sandler
Flying with phantoms
A pilot waves goodbye to the World Trade Center.
By Phaedra Hise
Good to go
For the first time I feel like an American, willing to fight for my country.
By Russell Morse
Rally round the flag
I love Old Glory. I just wonder if I can take it back from the creeps who've waved it all my life.
By King Kaufman
Ashes to ashes
As the Devil's smoke slowly drifts out of New York, fear and rage and madness walk in.
By Christopher Ketcham