Monday, September 10, 2012

Fight Every Day

What happened on September 11th, 2001 has impacted my life in more ways I could have imagined since I was nine. There is something about the day and every day after that we have spent trying to recover and move on that has fascinated me. From a writer's point of view, you learn to stick fast to things that help you grow your words and 9/11 has always been one of those things for me. For whatever reason, it's easy for me to write about. Last year I wrote an essay commemorating the ten year anniversary of all those lives lost. But it doesn't have to be read at just ten years. So this year, eleven years later, I want to re-share that piece. If you're re-reading it, thank you and I hope it means as much to you as the first time. If this is your first reading, be sure that everything I say in it is 100% the truth. From my heart to yours....

Fight Every Day

There’s a shelf in the archives of American History that is dedicated for the most horrific, the most painful events we’ve ever endured. On this shelf sits the Civil War, Pearl Harbor and, of course, September 11, 2001. These events, along with many more, have tested our country’s strength, courage and ability to get back on our feet after being knocked down.
I’m a 9/11 kid, a member of the generation that grew up alongside terrorist threats, Anthrax scares and x-ray machines at the airport. The headlines of the magazines from my childhood read ‘World War 3?’ and ‘Death Tolls Rise Overseas’.  Osama Bin Laden became as well known a name as Scooby-Doo.
I was nine years old when the towers fell. The pictures and details from that week are as scattered as the ashes from the wreckage. Details like: I was eating crackers when my mom told me and: our TV screen had too much dust on it to see the footage properly. I wasn’t sure what was happening but I knew it wasn’t good.
When I was fourteen, I wrote an essay called the Day the Two Towers Fell, which won first place in a national competition. I’ve written poems about that day, I’ve read books by survivors. Yet, I’m eighteen years old and to some, I’m still too young to understand. But I understand this:
I understand life is when someone is living and death is when someone has died. I understand that on that day, hundreds of people entered those pearly gates before their time. I’ve seen the tears running down the faces and I’ve heard the screams of those who’ve lost too much. Any child who has watched dozens of people commit suicide out of a burning building understands that the world is not a perfect place. I may not have known the details but sometimes it’s not the details that count. Sometimes, all you need is the big picture to recognize a tragedy.
All those lives we’ve lost, we can’t get them back. There’s no way to bring back the dead; the line between life and death is a one-way street. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. But it’s also okay to feel strong and proud.
It’s okay to fight.
Fight with what you have. Fight with words, paintings and music. Fight with business maneuvers, lawsuits and midnight surgeries. Fight with patience and prayer.
Fight with your heart.
Because every moment we fight for what we believe is one more second we spend making a difference. There’s not many in this world that can make a big enough change to affect everyone. We can’t all be celebrities, professional athletes, the president. But if all of us make one difference, even one in our entire lifetime, it will add up to this little thing called change. And change is what keeps us moving forward.
So when I fight tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, I fight for those who died ten years ago. I’ll be fighting for the heroes who risked their lives, for the pilots, for the innocent bystanders on the street. You know what? I’ll even fight for the terrorists because in my mind, everyone deserves to be fought over. I’m not saying I forgive them, I’m not saying what they did was okay or even that I don’t hate them. Because there is a part of me that hates them and that’s okay too.
When you remember September 11th, fight for those who died but never give up on those still living because we’re the ones who are going to make things right.

~M.T. Rossi

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On Waterfalls, Writing, and Wishing for a Cure

So I owe you guys a blogpost. I'm finally settled into my new apartment, which almost didn't happen but that's another blogpost. All I'm saying is thank goodness for my current roommate who moved in at the last minute and who is definitely awesome. If she chose to live with me, all the power to her, right?
Even though I have a couple topics in mind for posts, I think I'll make this a personal post and save those for a another time.
Last weekend, I drove to Letchworth State Park to meet my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins, Grandma and her boyfriend for a picnic lunch. It was absolutely fabulous. If any of you live in Upstate New York and haven't been yet, you're missing out. Take your little butt there during these last few weeks of warm weather! After lunch, we hiked a short but steep path (So. Many. Stairs.) and got a pretty incredible view of a giant waterfall. I drove the whole way in my cute little new (new to me) car.

Pretty cool, huh?

That was Saturday and I spent the rest of the weekend at my aunt and uncles house, just hanging out with my cousin. If you guys remember, I am co-writing a novel with her (Check out her blog here!). It's pretty cool to be writing a novel with your best friend. 
Wish I could say that's the craziest thing we do when we're together but um....then we wouldn't be very exciting, would we? The two of us usually come up with some pretty wacky ideas for fun and though I'm not going to tell you exactly what we did last weekend (I don't have her permission to post that online), let's say we got a little carried away playing dress up.

Yeah, that's a graveyard. And real roses. And we're wearing black veils. No, it's not as morbid as you're thinking. 

News from my writing world: I've been working on a novel for about seven months and this week I made the executive decision to put it aside. I always have two or three projects going on at the same time and there was one I decided needed most of my attention. I've already written the ending and though it's just the first draft, it was the most heart-wrenching and poignant thing I've ever created. I'm pretty excited about it. Hopefully, in the coming months I can share more details with you but for now, that's all you get ;)
One more thing before I wrap this up. I know you guys know how much I adore Taylor Swift and her music. Most of you also have probably heard that she has a new album coming out in October. Or maybe you didn't know that but now you do. No matter. I'm not here to promote that album but a certain song Taylor sang on TV last night. It's called Ronan and it's about a true-life little boy who died of Neuroblastoma (cancer) when he was just four years old. It's an absolutely heart breaking song and the lyrics (which Taylor wrote) are stunning. Even if you're not a parent, you'll probably cry listening to it. If you so fancy, go buy the song on iTunes; 100% OF THE PROCEEDS go to a cancer charity. A lot of you don't like Taylor Swift but please give this song a chance. In memory of a little boy who was taken from this world way too soon.

That's all for this week. I know it's not a very exciting blog to read about but sometime in the near future, I'll actually post about some interesting points. As for now, the end of Apollo 13 is on. Excuse me while I go watch Tom Hanks kick some ass in a spaceship.

~M. T. Rossi