Let us say that money is no consideration and that you had an unlimited amount of it: What would you do, where would you live?
Hemingway's desk in Key West by squirrelist
I would move to Key West, Florida and live like Ernest Hemingway — drinking and writing, writing and drinking. My wife and I are in love with Key West, in fact that is where we renewed our vows. There’s something magical about that place, as though the heat and humidity, the people and scenery prompts your inner muse.
So, what is your dream?
You may recall me mentioning my ever-so-brief career as a freelance journalist of sorts. A few years ago I was hired to write content for the now-defunct Grid World News blog, which reported on the virtual places and happenings in the online game Second Life. The following is an article I wrote for the sixth anniversary of 9/11. Please note that ‘Linden’ is the name of the fictional land in Second Life.
The Twin Towers Rebuilt
Rising above adversity and remembering the human tragedy of 9/11
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from Linden, there were two giants – the tallest buildings in the land. They were the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and they dwarfed everything around them. For many years they stood on that land as shining symbols of its wealth and power. Then one otherwise ordinary September morning, they were attacked and came crashing down in the most horrifyingly spectacular way. That day would forever after live in infamy. That day was 9/11.
After visiting Linden’s tribute to the Twin Towers called Twin Towers Rebuilt, it’s hard to know how to feel. Six years have passed, but for many of us the events of that tragic Tuesday are still fresh in our minds. The last live images we saw of the World Trade Center were of the towers collapsing like twin houses of cards while we sat glued to our TVs – our eyes wide and our hands covering our mouths. Therefore, to see them rebuilt with such meticulous attention to detail can leave one feeling unnerved, uneasy, and overwhelmed.
It’s even harder to know what to write. How can one even hope to capture in words the sheer enormity and the profundity of that day? The writer struggles to find the right words and none of them seem big enough. This is probably why there are no words at all in the 9/11 Memorial and hardly any in the rebuilt Twin Towers. Instead there are images – lots and lots of images, going along with the old idea that images speak much louder than words ever could. The memorial contains thousands of images of the faces of victims. On the observation decks of the rebuilt Twin Towers are dozens of images, most of which are of the towers in flames, but there are also some quite poignant and intimate images of people.
The Twin Towers Rebuilt doesn’t tell one how to feel or what to think. It does not judge, nor does it offer analysis or explanation. It has no political agenda, and it does not attempt to assign blame for what happened. It’s simply a reminder to all of us that people died that day, and that 9/11 was ultimately a human tragedy.
There are few constants in the world, and two of those are of pain and suffering. Pain is a wonderful thing. It reminds us that we are fallible and alive. If we did not feel pain, we would be dead. We must embrace pain, as we embrace failure. We must realize that we are utterly worthless and that trying to accomplish something worthwhile is an exercise in futility. Something will inevitable go wrong, the spoke of the wheel will fail, and the best-laid plans will falter under the enormous weight of reality. There is no redemption, there is no hope. Man ─ as he stands ─ is alone. His own thoughts will betray him, his body will decay, and time is neither his friend nor his enemy. Time, an artificial construct has made slaves of us all. Before the invention of the watch, the most despicable of devices, there was only night and day as measurement.