ON the morning of March 16, 1985, when three terrorists yanked him out of his car in suburban Beirut, Terry Anderson's personal script got a Hollywood-style rewrite.
Trapped in a tug of war between his Islamic fundamentalist captors and two American presidents, he spent seven years in captivity and became one of the world's most famous hostages.
Yet today, on the third anniversary of his release, Mr. Anderson says he has turned a corner: He concentrates less on piecing together the lost years and more on forging the ones ahead.
``Somebody asked me how it feels to know that your obituary is going to begin: `Terry Anderson, former Middle-Eastern hostage.' I said that when I die I hope I might have accomplished something that will push that down into the second paragraph.''
Anderson, the former Beirut bureau chief for the Associated Press, has written a book about his captivity called ``Den of Lions: Memoirs of Seven Years'' that is now a paperback from Ballantine Books. He plans to write another book about the Middle East. He is a member of an association that builds schools in Vietnam; he heads the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization dedicated to the safety of journalists in hostile localities; and is helping his sister, Peggy Say, to organize a conference on domestic violence.
Between engagements, Anderson spends as much time as he can with his wife, Madeleine, and his young daughter, Sulome. He counts skiing and scuba diving among his passions.
But that's just the start.
Convinced that New York's state government is corrupt and inefficient, Anderson founded a reform-minded group called New York Renaissance. He made news last month by campaigning for Mario Cuomo in the New York gubernatorial race. Such political forays have led some to wonder if Anderson, a Democrat, has an eye on Albany, or even Washington.