Sunday, October 19, 2008

Inspiration at Ground Zero

This blog is about inspiration. Where it comes from...where writers find it. It's elusive at best; sought after constantly. Where do writers get it from? It's the one question I ask whenever I meet a new writer. Each writer is different and therefore they find inspiration in so many different ways.

When I'm asked what inspires me the only answer i give is: life. I am inspired by life! It's the most simple answer I can think of. I'm a people watcher. I'm always intrigued as to how people behave in public vs. how they differ in their private homes. I sit at the airport, or the mall, or while I'm at lunch and watch how people relate to each other or those around them. Each person has a story and, as a writer, sometimes I find myself filling in the blanks on their life.

Writing is often more or less a fictionalized version of how we interpret life. So I try to note everything around me.

One of my biggest inspirations thus far is my recent trip to New York City. The last time I visited I was 9. I don't remember too much about the trip, however. So I started this trip with a new fresh perspective.

I came to New York wit 6140 Productions to make a movie called The Four Faced Liar. We filmed for six days and I've had the last three days to myself to enjoy the city. This is where my true inspiration began. Although, we filmed at 4am in the West Village, I learned then exactly what the night life in New York is really like. That was quite a shock to this LA boy who always though bars closed at 2am.

But I found the night life inspiring. The people that were attracted to it. The way the buildings were lit. How they towered over everything, protecting it against the world. They're almost celestial bodies at night! I realized early on how New York is it's own character. There is something magical and surreal about the city. It's almost familiar even if, like me, it's your first time.

I walked around Times Square, around Broadway, around Chelsea, West Village and met my favorite actress and friend in Astor Place. Everywhere you go there is a small piece of history or architect that demands a tiny portion of your attention. It's splendidly marvelous.

Today, though, I have tickets to see my first broadway musical on broadway! Spring Awakening this evening at 7pm. (And theatre is a great inspiration!) However, this afternoon I took the liberty of taking the 6 train down to the World Trade Center. I got off the train and walked the three blocks to where these majestic buildings used to stand. Amongst the towering buildings still standing, there is a great hole when you look up. It's almost as if their shadow still rests there. It's humbling. To stand there and see the great emptiness and know, wonder even, what it must've been like to stand there in that same spot seven years previous and watch the towers, ablaze, full of concern, and fear, for the uncertainty. It's a fear I hope we no longer have to experience.

I made my way into the gift shop where I bought a few trinkets; my most treasured being a small metal bracelet I bought. They come wrapped in a small blue gift bag. They are randomly given to you and each one is embossed with a name of a victim from 9/11. I took my little blue bag and walked across the street to St. Peter's Parish. It once used to stand in the shadows of the towers but when they fell it became a relief center for so many including volunteers and fire fighters. I walked the grounds, saw the old headstones from the 1800's and stood in front of the little memorials inside the church honoring the victims of 9/11. I couldn't help but cry. I remembered eight years ago walking down the streets of LA holding a candle in memorium of these same people.

I slowly made my way back to the front sitting on a bench under the trees. I sat there in silence. The church so tall and strong out in front of me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the little blue bag, where my metal bracelet wait inside. I pulled open the draw string and out came my bracelet: Jerrold Paskins, died 9-11-01 at the World Trade Center. My eyes swelled with tears as I held the bracelet, saying a silent prayer for him..and for his family who, to this day, probably mourn the loss of him.

I put the bracelet on, put the blue bag in my pocket and and stood up from the bench. Just like the rest of New York, I too needed to get up and move on. The new building is in the process of being erected. It will always stand for a beacon of hope for a city of so many people.


a. fortis said...

Hi Michael!
I visited New York for the first time last summer, and although we didn't have a chance to visit Ground Zero, it was a truly amazing and inspiring place to visit!
Hope you're doing well these days.

cbmonster said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing sweetheart:) Many prayers and love to you.

Annemarie said...

Just beautiful. You wrote it well. I pictured everything and cried with you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Seemed like you experienced a very emotional trip to the WTC.

Jorge said...

Thanks for sharing with us your experiences in NYC. It was a great read and very well-written! Bravo and congrats!

Lindsay said...

Wow Michael. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, and as always for using your beautiful words. As for making me cry while sitting in a classroom surrounded by friends, not so much. But thanks just the same.