A sea of blue, white and red jerseys surrounded me on Broadway and Worth Street in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Overhead, shredded paper, confetti and even whole sheets of paper fell steadily from the windows of offices or residential units—creating a snowfall effect over onlookers and parade participants.
Amidst my fellow New York Giants fans, I was living in the moment. It was a moment that most sports fans and athletes desire—to participate, witness and celebrate the accomplishment of a team. It was a moment to immerse myself with all these folks caught up in the excitement at the prospect of seeing their football greats—even from afar.
Prized Vantage Points
While the parade wasn’t scheduled to start until 11:00 a.m., I heard many folks arrived as early as 6:00 a.m. winning them those coveted spots in the front. Way up there, you can lean on the barricades, and put the kiddies’ feet in between the metal bars enabling them to stand a tad bit higher off the ground.
Having waited for a long time, these folks earned their prime spots. On the other hand, torn between editing articles and chapter revisions for my book, I hesitated. I could’ve been one of those folks with those prized vantage points. Alas, I’d waited too long.
You see, as I sat at my table busily reorganizing a few scenes in a newly-created chapter—outside, in the “real” world, cheers, chants and the blaring sound of horns heightened as the parade start time drew nearer. I was tempted to join in the excitement. And yet, my fingers stayed glued to my keyboard—editing, typing and editing some more. I lingered for a few more minutes.
Ugh. I should’ve arrived 40 minutes earlier when the streets were less crowded. I didn’t. So there I was, 20+ deep in the crowd with many others behind me. Part of me was upset with myself since I knew this would happen if I left late. But, a part of me couldn’t help it.
I guess that’s part of the balancing act writers perform all the time. There’s that line when duties as a parent, volunteer or employee may overlap with that craving to stay put and craft story outlines, develop plots or devise solutions to conflicts our characters must eventually resolve. As with most occupations, writers engage in their creative endeavors “after” the other duties are accomplished first. Writing takes place “after” the kids are dropped off in school or are asleep at night, and groceries are purchased, or clothes are laundered and put away, etc.
Why Live in the Moment?
So, knowing I was leaving late and wouldn’t be rewarded with a great spot to view the parade, why did I go anyway? Why didn’t I just keep working, especially since I had the place to myself? Why didn’t I just watch the parade stress free on TV, or stream it live on a computer screen in the comfort of my peaceful place?
Well, just as we allow our characters to develop into individuals that live those moments in our stories—the desire to stand elbow to elbow with other fans was for me, living in the moment. As the crowd roared, I roared. As they cheered when the marching band and floats carrying the G-Men appeared on course, towards us, I cheered. Chants of “MVP” (Eli Manning) and “Cruz” (Victor Cruz) filled the air, which was thick with the crowd’s enthusiastic energy. I reveled with them, and cherished that moment. Looking up at the towering skyscrapers around us and at the wide smiles of my present company, I immersed myself in the frenzy, aware that particular moment happens but once. I lived in the moment as a die-hard Giants fan, and felt exhilarated.
And as I live in the moment as a writer, I embrace the hurdles that accompany those who’ve chosen this craft, even without the promise of a ticker tape parade in the future. I stop at those blocks that keep prose from flowing freely to contemplate and rework details where necessary. I’ll stumble, fumble and fall along the journey, and may even get tackled every now and then by stubborn characters.
After all, while I’ve penned numerous articles, essays and narratives, my journey as a novelist has just begun. Admittedly, it’s a different challenge where hundreds of thousands of words are involved—instead of my usual limit of 800 to 2,000 to wrap up a story. There are encounters with dubious scenes, strong-willed antagonists and plots that need thickening. And there will be more words with which I’ll have grown attached, only to be weeded out in the process.
Persevere & Finish
During the ceremony in City Hall Park wherein Mayor Bloomberg presented the players with keys to the City, the words, “persevere” and “finish” were mentioned several times to describe how the Big Blue got their Super Bowl rings.
Those two words capture the journey of writers, as well. As does the sentiment, “live in the moment” which was included in a few speeches. And while I embark upon what for me, is currently an uncharted field filled with incomplete passes and fumbles, I hope to remember to not only persevere, but to live in the moments, as well. For it’s through the experiences, such as those I felt while amidst other fans, that make the journey to the end zone with the finished product—that book, safely tucked in my arms (ready for your e-reader and store bookshelves), interesting and worth sharing.
Should you wish to re-live the moment of that victory parade down the Canyon of Heroes, here’s a short YouTube video showing some highlights.
Editorial Creatives invites you to share your experiences wherein you decided to live in the moment. These moments vary for each person, and range from “really” listening to your children recount their day in school, to taking your fingers off the keyboard to chat with friends on the phone or in person, to spending quality time with your significant other. Or, it could be walking around your neighborhood and truly taking in your surroundings. Was it difficult to reach your decision to truly experience the moment(s) given all the other things going on around you?