I am Zadroga 9-11

It’s not a secret to anyone that our political process is broken.  We watch these people we don’t know, that we are told we elected, flounder around the political arena in suits we couldn’t afford, making statements about what’s best for us that don’t seem to bear out much logic.  We struggle to understand why they can’t seem to get anything done.  We try – we really do – to wrap our heads around how ‘principals’ and ‘facts’ became mutually exclusive. Meanwhile, in the real world where we all live, things are hard. And somehow, in spite of the political turmoil, real people are helping each other.  Even more astounding, we don’t base our willingness to help on the other persons political affiliation.  We help because helping is the right thing to do.  That basic belief crosses just about every boundary of race, religion or economic class.  Every boundary, it would seem, except politics.  Forget for a moment the politicians you see on TV that swear they are just like you.  Think about the people you do know.  The people you see every day.  The person who held the door for you this morning could be a republican or a democrat.  I’m sure you didn’t think about it, because it doesn’t matter.  Both republicans and democrats have families they love and jobs they need.  Both republicans and democrats donate food and work in soup kitchens.  Both republicans and democrats fear for the future. Both republicans and democrats get sick and need healthcare.  Both republicans and democrats can run into a building when someone needs saving.  Nine years ago, both...

Progress as a Work-in-Progress

There is something I have been avoiding. It’s not on purpose.  I don’t really know what it is.  But it’s there. All the time.  As I’m left to sort through everything I learned from the Hope in Chaos production, I have this…something.  A sort of now-you’ve-woken-up-the-demons feeling in my gut.  It’s pervasive.  Always there.  While it would be easy to label it as some remnant of post-traumatic stress disorder, it doesn’t feel that simple.  It’s not a ‘here is something broken that needs to be fixed’.  It’s more like a ‘here is something without a name, that needs one.’  Sometimes it feels like even ‘it’ is getting frustrated that I haven’t figured it out. I’m going to start by saying some things out loud. Thing #1: Many days, when I see the skyline as I come into the city, I see it crumble. Don’t worry too much, I know perfectly well that it’s a product of my imagination.  I don’t do any double takes…I don’t ever think it’s real.  I’m very much present in the real world.  But I still see it.  There’s a line in my play where I talk about how it seemed that the whole world was made of glass, “that I could throw a rock, and bring down the rest of Manhattan.”  In vetting through all these thoughts, I have to admit that I still see cities that way.  As breakable.  Everything is breakable. Thing #2: I don’t ever want to stop seeing the skyline fall. I know this one requires a little explanation.  I can start by saying that I have always felt exceptionally...

Those Poor Savages

The excerpt below is from the first chapter of Disaster Gypsies by John Norris.  The sentiment is very well put, and I believe should be shared.  It’s also milling about in my head amongst a number of other things.  Norris is a seasoned humanitarian aid specialist and political adviser who has worked for several organizations, both government and NGO, as well as for the United Nations.  He has traveled extensively (an understatement, and not the sort of travel one books through Expedia) and, among many other things, has helped develop strategies for rebuilding conflict-ravaged countries.  Basically he’s smart, he’s seen a lot of shit, and he’s worth listening to. From Disaster Gypsies: “For most of us, war is something that happens in distant places to people very different from ourselves.  We see combat on  the evening news, and give it only an appropriately sad shake of the head.  For most of us, war feels fundamentally foreign.  This is an illusion.  The capacity for war is in people, not places.  On an intellectual level, it is easy to peel the onion and find the core causes of violence.  They are rarely lofty or noble.  The road to calamity is paved with the same greedy little slights and desires that are as familiar as everyday life.  Violence comes through partisanship, and with stupid feuds that take on a life of their own.  Fighting erupts over land and houses.  Blood spills through the sheer stubbornness that makes mutual destruction more attractive than compromise.  Countries do not wake up one day and decide that they should descend into war and ruin.  Instead, conflict is the long slide of bad...

Perpetual Motion

An auspicious place to begin.  I just finished the premiere run of my first produced play, and now I have a problem.  Something I hadn’t been expecting.  The run went very well.  All told, it was rather amazing.  Three years of marching a very personal true story onto a narrative arc into six months of dramaturgy into casting into production into curtain up.  I got so much out of it I have only begun to sort it all out.  Everything about it was extraordinary. It was my most humbling lesson yet in how the universe conspires to help you when you manage to walk the path that you are meant to follow. I believe in that sort of thing.   But if you don’t, well, don’t worry…at the moment that’s not why I’m here.   At the moment, all of this is beside the point. The point is my problem.  The play is done.  All that and then all done.  Most of me has come to terms with this.  Most of me has managed, over the last few weeks, to wrench myself out of the physical and emotional overdrive.  Except for my head.  My head won’t stop.  It won’t slow down or yield the right of way to normalcy.  It demands that I find another highway, another fast lane.  And until I do it will simply speed through the side streets, keeping me on edge while I try to figure out what’s around the next corner and which way I’m supposed to turn. So here we are.  This blog is being started as my attempt to sort through the clusterfuck inside...
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