Monday, July 26, 2010

Amelia Earhart Lives! Gotcha.

If you could come back and change one thing what would it be? I've asked that one before and I happen to think that those of us who aren't in Hollywood movies or characters in fiction don't have one thing. We have a series of events that shape our lives and change the course of our own her/his story. I was born a Jewish child, a late breaking red diaper baby in the town of Washington D.C. many years ago. I grew up there for the best five years of my life, but then we moved to NYC and that was where I lived out the rest of my childhood. I'm not sure I can call it a childhood exactly since I spent much of it mothering my own mother while my father worked weekends and nights and flew away to some very communist countries, working on copyright law etc. He was in Cuba and East Germany and helped to represent both of those governments. My mom and I stayed home, she worked as most of you know, she was a doctor and I was her sidekick. I helped out at the hospital when I was in high school. I was going to be a doctor too.

Hey, so was Amelia. She nursed in Toronto, which certainly helped to confirm her view that war was wrong. She nursed the wounded men returning from World War I and saw firsthand how vicious human beings could be . . . and asked why? And said, "no." Then she moved on, each time it seemed as if she was stopping but indeed she was passing through. Of course, my story centers on her stay at Columbia when she was trying to add credits so she could apply to medical school.

Today as I polish and prune and mostly frankly add details to connect the threads of this novel, (feeling good, hopefully looking good), I think about how much of what we do ends up being out of our control. Yet as we do it we feel certain that we are living the life we wanted, or avoiding that life somehow. It's not exactly luck, or fate, or even chance. It's a collection of so many things; and I believe much of it begins with our beginnings. If we're born to parents who have some money we're already better situated to have choices, that being said, the choices aren't always what we think. We start off wanted to win the world for ourselves, and possibly for them. We end up winning what we can, and accepting who we are. . . that is if we're lucky enough to learn that life is really lived best in the moment.

I was always a writer, but I have had to learn how to become a successful writer. That's a different sort of process. I wish I was a quicker study, I am at other things, frankly most things. But not this. This has taken much more time than I would have thought. I have trouble looking at what I do and seeing it in the way one has to. I have trouble stepping back and I know why that is. But I also know how essential it is. I think Amelia wasn't that different in the beginning, she was looking for her passion and found it, but even once she did she wasn't sure she could afford to follow it. Luck? Yes. Timing? Obviously. Clarity of vision? Precisely. Living in the moment?
Always and forever. Though in this case the moment is 1980.


  1. I'd be interested in hearing your take on what it means to "live in the moment." I've been hearing this phrase for a long time and I'm still not sure what is meant by it. Surely it doesn't mean a person shouldn't work towards goals or for a better future.

  2. For me it means just being able to take everything in. I guess I imagine it's what you must feel when you're up in the cockpit and completely involved, invested in flying. I think of it as the absence of anxiety, the ability to take in everything without having to push it all away, what I also imagine Amelia felt when she was aloft. And what I definitely feel at moments during the day when I'm lucky and almost always writing. . . does that make sense?

  3. "Completely involved" makes sense. It's when you're totally here and not mentally somewhere else.