Tuesday, April 16, 2013

flux


on monday morning, we listened silently to a detailed recap of our visiting family visiting the new freedom tower, and the various monuments to the world trade center.  later that day, we were watching the news coming out of boston.

i don't know many new yorkers who want to talk about that day.  at least, i think i don't-- perhaps it's because i don't want to talk about that day.  we were here, and to be honest i was asleep until ruggy raced home and woke me (i was keeping late night working hours at the time, and still feel like a heel for being asleep).  a few days ago, when asked what i did, i said i went to find a blood donor site, and the memory of there being no blood needed made me, in the same breath i started it, wave my story away and clamp my mouth shut.  the moment anyone begins to re-live that day, i see them falling over and over again, i remember my parents calling and being so thankful to hear our voices, remember feeling like a child that just wanted to cross the closed bridges, remember wanting to vomit when the constant stream of news flashed a fireman walking slowly amidst running throngs, throwing his helmet down, in disgusted defiance.  his defiance looked like defeat.  he went there to save lives, there were no lives to save.


and then there's an asshole in every walmart waiting to buy an assault rifle, and look: i've fired guns, it's fun, i like them, but not at the cost they bring, that frivilous banal entertainment is not worth it, and then there's a bomb, and then there's the next assault, from here there or everywhere, and it could be a lone jackass or it could be a war, and then you're in a shooting of an altogether different kind, on a movie set, mincing around personalities, and watching your words, and truly?  screw all that noise.  there are wrecked families unable to fathom how to move into the next minute, and these families are not only in boston, or new york, or columbine, or newton, or oklahoma, THEY ARE ALL OVER THE WORLD, and while you're hoping you made a good impression at your job, they're hoping they can get through the night.  and you're really hoping the subway car hurling you to your job doesn't explode.


i took these pictures on set today.  we're shooting at an abandoned facility, the site is strange and crumbly and beautiful, and most of us (me included) were probably way too worried about trivial things.  but years ago, when these grounds were filled with life, those people worried too, about a whole different set of huge, and tiny, issues.   they survived it, in whatever way.  even if that survival was just time moving on without them.


on the radio to work, a DJ said i don't think everyone should get debbie downer about this.  this from a station that used to be the great 92.3 k rock.  it is apparently now a "positive energy" station.   it struck me as the most assinine, thoughtless statement i'd ever heard.  is this sort of tragedy becoming normal to us now?


but i will feel better about it tomorrow, or maybe even tonight, because you have to.   does that mean it becomes trivial?  or worse, normal?  so i'm mentioning it here, in my very small way, in order to remember: it's not either of those things.  it is a part of our lives, for some undiscernable reason.  but i look at ruggy and think about all the cogs that had to fall into place for us to meet, and i believe there is a reaon for everything.   which is harsh and lovely and entirely impossible to comprehend.

47 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this post! I get the same need-to-talk-but-don't-want-to-talk-about-it feeling about living in Japan during the quakes and nuclear disaster. It becomes that touchstone experience of fear and confusion and shock that all other catastrophes will remind you of. I think it's good that event's like what happened in Boston and on 9/11 still shake us to the core... I'd hate to give in and accept it as that DJ suggested!

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  2. That idiot dj can mark me down as a debbie. when horrible things happen, how can a human suppress a response? Why would you want to? There's a difference between respectful, sorrowful reflection on tragedy and getting bogged down or hyperfocussed to the point of uselessness.
    Take care hun.

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  3. I was thinking while watching the news yesterday, here we are, in our small way trying to create and inspire, and these people are just about destruction. It seems a world away, but can impact on all our lives so easily. We can only continue to try and go forward, the best we can. Your writing is beautiful, it made me cry.

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  4. What a beautiful, beautiful post... and such evocative photos. Thank you.

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  5. Thanks Oona for writing such a beautiful post x

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  6. This is a beautifully written piece.

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  7. I'm glad you are mentioning it Oona because far too many times everyone forgets. Everyone wants to forget and get back to happy. I get it, but I also get that the people who go through the tragedy have a little tougher time "forgetting" I always try to think about the victims and try to support them. I have a very good friend who runs the Boston Marathon. I was taking my daughter to violin on Monday when I heard. I took a chance and called my friend who I have not talked to in far too long. I was very happy to hear her voice on the other end of that line, but I will still feel a little sad inside for the people who did run and who's families were not so lucky. I do the same thing with every other tragedy. I cannot just turn a blind eye and not empathize with the pain that is being felt. I was on the other side of the country when 9/11 happened, but I still thought about New Yorkers and what they must be going through at least a little each day after that for a long time. I commend you for writing this in your blog. As usual, you have impressed me :)

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  8. I'm a bit speechless. Beautiful post, Oona.

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  9. You've managed to capture the stream of consciousness running through all of our heads - thank you.

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  10. well put. the whole thing's shit and I'm on the other side of the world tearing up in front of the news, heart aching for the wastefulness of it all.

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  11. This must have been difficult to write and yet it is a beautiful and honest expression in words and pictures. I can't watch and listen to the news without feeling sad and wanting to cry, that doesn't make us a "debbie downer" that makes us human.

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  12. Lovely words. Thank you for sharing them.

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  13. Beautifully written and thought provoking. Many thanks :)

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  14. This is why I love you even though I've never met you IRL. You FEEL things the way I feel things. Watching others suffer physically hurts us but we have to channel it in some constructive way or we go mad, and not in a good way.

    While its ok to hurt, I don't think its OK to let these things defeat us. We're still lucky that its uncommon here, but people in Syria, and much of the middle east, and India, they have to deal with this every day, just like you said.

    That DJ probably came across as an asshole because he didn't express his thoughts well. I took away from that "Do not give in to fear, and look for the helpers. There are always the helpers."

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  15. I've honestly started to avoid the news, the similarities to 9/11 was too familiar. The chaos, the smoke, the distress just take me back to those horrible days in NYC. I don't know we're we are headed or how hate can be so prevalent and strident at times. I do know that the only thing I can do is to show love and kindness in all of my interactions praying that love and faith in God will save the day. This is such a moving post, thanks for sharing it!

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  16. Getting Debbie Downer about this (and other tragedies) give us perspective: live can be tragic, cruel, and senseless, but every day that it's not is a gift. It also keeps us mindful of the fact that we CAN help others, if not by giving blood than by trying to contribute to a cultural shift that moves away from fetishizing violence.

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  17. All I can say is thank you for writing this...

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  18. boston is practically in my back yard, and i've spent many lazy afternoons with my family wondering around the great city that it is. thanks for this post.

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    1. meant "wandering" but i suppose "wondering" is apropos...

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  19. Articulate, thoughtful post my love. I have been so cranky all week for no reason and then had a date Monday night (ie. wrapped up in my head and my life and my own small, pitiful problems) and came home and checked the news and well, you know. Only way to make sense of it is to focus on the two things I think make everything easier: compassion and gratitude. xo

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  20. i've told you before, and i will say it again, that you have a knack for stringing together words into something unusual and thought-provoking. i've felt in a strange kind of stasis, for i've been hearing this one second-hand as i read the news of the emergency rooms in boston, a city i have only been to 3 times, and know that my sister has been working there for about 40 of the past 48 hours,in a trauma surgery room at BWH, and i feel strange and detached and yet very determined to not be afraid or to be a downer, because then they are just stronger than we are, and how can i be afraid or be a downer when my sister is literally pulling shrapnel out of limbs and saving them to be processed as crime scene evidence, because that is what she can do and what she has to do to help?

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  21. Oona, this is so beautiful and intelligent and compassionate. Thank you.

    And, puu? Bless your sister and her work.

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  22. Some days are hard.

    Oddly, another compelling voice I've heard about this is from Patton Oswald with the link here:
    http://popbytes.com/patton_oswalt_inspiring_facebook_message/

    (don't judge me for reading popbytes!)

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  23. I agree whole-heartedly, my dear.

    Love,
    Mugsy

    P.S. "Debbie Downer"?? Is this guy still in grade school or something? WTH?!

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  24. I would give you a big hug right now if I could.

    These tragedies that are going on today are really just unacceptable. I can't even....

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  25. Thank you for writing this. It beautifully captures the way many people are processing this tragedy. My sister-in-law lives 2 blocks from the explosion site and we were all so relieved to hear she was at work when it happened. Of course that doesn't lessen the grief for those hurt and affected.
    I remember where I was on 9/11, as most Americans do, in Tallahassee at a work conference. Upon news of the first plane, before anyone knew it was a terrorist act, I'll never forget the reaction of a fellow attendee: It's tragic, but tomorrow, we'll forget about this and move on, it's just what happens. Then we got news of the second plane, and everyone knew something big was happening. I'm sure that man ate his words over and over. Hopefully that DJ does as well.

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  26. ... yeah. What you said... very well. That.

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  27. Man. People always say that the terrorists win if we change our way of life in response to these kinds of tragedies, and while there's some truth in that, to ignore evil and suffering is a tacit acceptance of it. My heart breaks for the families and friends of everyone affected by this, and my heart breaks for the everyday violence that we've come to accept (or at least ignore) in this nation everyday. For every 2 year-old that accidentally shoots his mother, for every 8 year-old killed by a bomb, every 15 year-old who commits suicide because of sexual assault and bullying (and these are just the stories from the last WEEK), we should collectively grieve and reject this ugliness and violence. Another way is possible.

    Monday was also my grandfather's 89th birthday, and I was reminded yet again that every person is unique and irreplaceable. There will never be another guy just like him. He takes delight in everyone around him and has an infectious joy unlike anyone else I've ever known, despite the fact that he's lived a very hard life. But he takes every day as an opportunity to reject darkness and ugliness. I just wish that everyone had the chance to live to 89 and become who they're meant to be because they're the only ones that can BE who they are.

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  28. You already know that I've been feeling the same. I was asleep on 911, until my grandfather pounded on my door and woke me. My room had the clearest view to the towers, which I watched fall from my window.

    All I can think of is how many times my late grandfather took my sister to watch the marathon runners when she was little. And how those families were doing something so innocent, all together and their lives were shattered. All of our lives have taken a hit and that really fucking sucks.

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  29. Thanks for writing this Oona. There has to be some middle ground between almost selfishly wallowing in the tragedy and positive thinking, and I think you are right. We can only find that place of truth right where the real people are.

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  30. Blogs were made for writers like you.

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  31. Very well said Oona! we all need to be aware of these things and somehow deal with it, unfortunately. It makes me so thankful for the peaceful moments.

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  32. It's not easy to fathom why someone would commit such a crime. What is wrong with them ? - that's what I think. It's okay to be sad, mad, frustrated but underneath those emotions, you have the right attitude - everything happens for a reason. My mom left me at the age of seventeen and I believe it was so that she could watch over me for the rest of my life. I feel her every day.

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  33. This read like a book... in as much a positive way as possible.

    I also have a crappy 9/11 story... because I was at a basketball training, and came home in the middle of the news and father told me; and the next day at school it was my turn to speak about the news (I was the first in the alphabet, so obviously I was the first one with that duty that term), and I felt terrible because we only have radio at home and I missed out on most of it and everyone else in the class had seen it on TV and knew more - or at least seemed to know more.
    Thanks to this crappy little story that happened half a world away from you, I'll always know that September 11 2001 was a Tuesday.

    I was listening to some Mark Knopfler rock songs as I read this. Switched for his blues. It felt better.

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  34. Your words....the photos.... Exquisite. Perfect. Thank you.

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  35. Thank you for such thoughtful and beautiful words.

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  36. Beautiful words and photos, Oona. I never have words for things like this, so it's always wonderful when someone has a gift to speak from it. I'm glad that I can still cry and feel 9/11 11 years later. Means I'm not in shock anymore. (My man was there, trapped on the GW bridge, and for an hour they thought they were getting bombed.) It's so difficult to keep processing these awful things, and normal to experience some denial. Which Mr. DJ is probably experiencing. Thank you, dear!

    p.s. who is that statue? I'd love to know ;)

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    1. oh, amy, i couldn't even imagine.

      i wish i knew who the statue was-- i'll do some searching.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!