Posted September 09, 2016Dear friends,
The actors are cast. The scripts have been bound. The programs printed. Pencils sharpened....
Check, check, check.
We're ready for Sunday's reading...are you coming?
We still have a few seats left in the house.
If you'd like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reading begins at 5 p.m. this Sunday, 9/11/16 at the William Esper Studio:
208 West 37th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, New York 10018
The play should run about 90 minutes.
We'll hold a brief discussion afterwards so we can hear questions and comments.
The link at the top of this page will take you to a copy of the event's program.
I consider it a privilege to work on the Tower Stories play.
We began this journey together over two years ago and I remain deeply honored by your support.
This Sunday marks the 15th Anniversary of 9/11.
No one can change the past, but you have helped many people remember.
Thank you for that, and we'll see each other at the theater.
Posted August 19, 2016A NEW TIME SLOT FOR THE TOWER STORIES PLAY READING THIS 9/11
A quick update:
By popular request, our reading of "Tower Stories: The Play" will be held at 5 p.m. this Sunday, September 11th, rather than 7 p.m.
The new time slot is more convenient to people's schedules.
The location remains the same: the in-house theater of the William Esper Studio:
William Esper Studio
208 West 37th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, New York 10018
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to write me via mail (at) damondimarco.com.
With thanks as always for your support...
Posted June 29, 2016SAVE THE DATE!
September will be here before we know it. Which is why I hope you'll mark your calendars now!
A reading of "Tower Stories: The Play" will be held on Sunday, September 11th, 2016, 7 p.m. at the in-house theater of the William Esper Studio.
William Esper Studio
208 West 37th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, New York 10018
MORE INFORMATION WILL FOLLOW, BUT...
I wanted to let you know as early as possible.
Disclaimer: as with all things in the theater (as with life itself), everything is subject to change.
Which includes the excerpt from the current draft I've attached as a PDF (should appear at the top of this message). It should give you an idea of where the script lives at the moment.
Wishing you the best and, as always, thanks for you support!
Posted May 04, 2016THE TRUTH ABOUT TELLING THE TRUTH
Arthur Miller once wrote this: "The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always."
From perhaps another vector, Justin Timberlake once said: "You're not meant to do what is easy. You're meant to challenge yourself."
Well. It's a strange world we live in when Arthur Miller and Justin Timberlake sort of overlap each other. But I guess by now, we've pretty much learned it's a very strange world, indeed.
Okay. I hear you. I'll get to the point.
Amy kept pressing me to write more about why I interviewed people after 9/11. "That needs to be explained," she said. "Why isn't that part of the play?"
"Because this play isn't about me," I said. "It's about all these other people and their experiences."
"Yes, but aren't you people, too?" Amy said.
"Well, sure," I said. "But -- "
"And wasn't it part of your experience to interview all those people?"
"Right. I see what you're saying," I said. "But -- "
"I really think you're missing something if you don't explore this."
Wow. Pretty blunt. But Amy can be like that. She insists on the truth. Which is probably why she gets it more often than not.
That's what I wanted to tell you today.
Writing this play has been a journey (in more ways than one), and journeys tend to teach us things, for better or for worse. In all ways, journeys tell us the truth about ourselves: what we like and what we don't. What we're willing to do and what we're not. Who we were, once upon a time, who we are now, and how these people might differ when you hold them up, side by side, and compare.
That last point is very important, I think. Because mostly, a journey can grant us perspective.
We leave from a place and we go to a place and come back to the places we once called home. Everything looks and sounds the same. The people, the buildings, the smells are the same. Which is when we might earn a startling notion.
What's really changed is us.
With things like these (and more) in mind, I wrote Draft 3.7, which I finished on April 4th. Then, last week, I polished Draft 3.7 some more (Draft 3.8 anyone?) and the end result...I like.
It's not perfect. Nothing is, of course. But I really and truly like it.
Perhaps the most intriguing (and scary) part of this draft is that it's waaaaaaaaaaaaay different than what I had once imagined the play could be. And yet exactly the same.
Huh. Again: strange world we live in, right?
So. Now for the crash test. It's time for a reading. September is coming up fast, at which point, it'll be time to go public with this crazy science experiment. Nerve may rattle (by which I mean mine). Eyes might roll (by which I mean yours). But the curtain will rise and the chips may fall. These words will at last be spoken.
As always, thanks for being such a big part of this project. When all is said and done, you're in every word and every pause. I'm grateful to have your support for this script.
And now we go back to work.
Posted February 26, 2016ANOTHER DRAFT!
Actually, this news is almost a week old. I can apologize for the late send, but I make no apologies for this latest draft [3.6], which comes suspiciously close to what I envisioned this play had potential to be all along.
In my last message I wrote: "I feel comfortable putting this [January draft, version 3.5] in front of actors for another developmental reading, and very soon."
While discussing 3.5 with Amy, a stray comment she made clicked on the lightbulb in my darkened brain. You could call this an 'a-ha' moment, I guess. A kiss from the muse or a short, hard whack with the Do-It-THIS-Way-Dufus Stick.
I've learned to dread such moments, of course. They highlight how dense I can be as both a writer and a human being. But I've also learned to look forward to them. They can push a developing project through a quantum leap in a matter of weeks. And as with finding gold coins on the ground, we ignore such things to our own detriment.
Once again, I've asked a few colleagues to read through this draft and offer some comments before I convene the next reading.
Have I said it lately? It's never enough. Thank you for all your support through this process. This journey is as much yours as anyone else's. It would never have happened without you.
Now please keep your fingers crossed. I hate to say it, but I have a good feeling about this one...
My best to you always,
Posted January 16, 2016NEXT DRAFT FINISHED!
I'm sorry it's been so long since my last message. I needed to put the Tower Stories script down for a while to get some perspective on it. Who knew?
Eugene Ionesco once said that, for a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. Right on, Eugene.
The next draft of the script is now finished. It bears little resemblance to the first. I say "next draft" because it's tough to number drafts at this point. Do false starts of 34 pages count? Debatable.
The gist is this: I feel comfortable putting this version in front of actors for another developmental reading, and very soon.
I'll let you know how that goes. Please keep your fingers crossed. Right now I feel we're on track for our public reading in September.
Thank you for all your support throughout this process. I consider myself fortunate to have you as my partner in this venture.
(Belatedly) I wish you and yours a safe, happy, and prosperous 2016.
Posted September 10, 2015Dear friends,
Tomorrow, I'll once again do a national radio tour for 9/11 on Premiere Radio Networks.
This year, I've asked Amy Weinstein, Director of Collections at the 9/11 National Memorial & Museum to join me. Amy will be in the booth with me tomorrow, sharing her knowledge and expertise.
I've listed our itinerary below in case you can tune in.
It hasn't it me yet that tomorrow marks the 14th memorial of 9/11.
Time moves on and our busy lives take precedence. Still, I wish you a moment of quiet reflection at some point tomorrow. And peace to us all, and our families.
Thank you again for your support of the Tower Stories project. The work continues.
Look forward and never forget.
7:00 KNEN Norfolk Mookie & CC (T)
7:08 KRLD Dallas Mitch Carr (T)
7:16 WZON Bangor, ME Cookson & Allen (L)
7:24 WKIP Poughkeepsie Amy & Damon (L)
7:32 KEX Portland Michael Castner (L)
7:40 WROK Rockford, IL O’Neil & Bertram (L)
7:48 WLUP Chicago Mancow (L)
7:56 IHeart NY-Charlotte-DC-Phnx Arroe Collins (T)
8:04 IHeart (continues)
8:12 WGAN Portland, ME Violette & Altshuler (L)
8:20 KFAB Omaha Gary Sadlemyer (L)
8:36 WFLA-FM Tallahassee Preston Scott (L)
8:44 Michigan’s Big Show 11 stations Michael Patrick Shiels (L)
8:52 WNPV Lansdale-Philadelphia Darryl Berger (L)
9:00 WQRS Minneapolis/St. Paul Tom Barnard (L)
9:08 KOGO San Diego Harvey & Garcia (L)
9:24 KVPI Lafayette Stephanie Ware (T)
9:32 KTOK Oklahoma City Lee Matthews (T)
9:40 KZRR Albuquerque Swami Rob, Syler & Mahoney (L)
Posted September 08, 2015TONIGHT: I'M A FEATURED GUEST ON WISELIKE.COM
Wiselike.com is a brand new professional "Ask Me Anything" website. Basically, they select people whom they consider experts in a certain field, give them a webpage, and encourage them to answer whatever questions the world cares to throw their way.
Wiselike contacted me last week and asked me to talk about writing, acting, and 9/11. I gave them credit for concatenating three of the most unlikely subjects imaginable. Then I told them I'd give it my best shot.
At this point in life, the only thing I feel certain about is the fact that I know very little. But you know. What the hell.
My email just coughed up the first two questions, so I'd better get to it. If you care to join the fun, I'll be the Wiselike's featured guest tonight from 6-8 pm EST. However, don't feel pressured. You can ask a question at any time and I'll get to it as soon as I can.
The process is simple. Just click on this link: http://ow.ly/RLdIv. Click "Ask a Question." And away we'll go.
More updates coming soon on this 14th memorial week of 9/11. Thanks, as always for your belief in the Tower Stories project.
Now on to the first question...
Posted August 19, 2015LIFE AIN'T ART, AND OTHER SUMMER REFLECTIONS
My friend Bill Esper once told me about a time when he was a guest artist at the Banff Festival in Alberta, Canada. At that point, Banff was a major gathering for artists of every discipline from all over the world. Everywhere you turned you saw musicians, actors, painters, singers, dancers, sculptors, and photographers practicing their crafts.
The Canadian Brass was in residence that year. So was William Primrose, the famous Scottish viola player. Bill even got to meet one of his heroes, Josef Svoboda, the brilliant European scenic designer.
“It was extraordinary,” Bill told me. “All these skilled craftsman practicing against the breathtaking backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.”
Then he mentioned a certain teacher of painting whom he often saw walking the festival campus. This man wore a bright red shirt with white block letters that screamed out ‘LIFE AIN’T ART!’
“He was right,” Bill told me. “It ain’t. And don’t you ever forget it.”
As most people close to me know, I’m slow on the uptake. I puzzled over this notion for years. Then I read a quote by that pioneering actor, Constantin Stanislavski. “Life is to art as grapes are to wine.” Meaning life is the raw material for art, but they’re not the same thing – not by a long shot. Art is a much-refined version of life. Few people like to drink raw, crushed grapes. Millions, however, will raise eager hands for a glass of Napa Valley claret (for which, I admit, I’m partial).
Why am I bothering you with this information?
I’ve been on pause since the end of June. The second draft of the Tower Stories play was nearly finished – and then I stopped working on it. Why? I realized I wasn't paying enough attention to life.
Without life, art is worthless. So is the Tower Stories project.
For me, life is chiefly my family: my beautiful wife and soon-to-be three-year-old son. Ethan is fast becoming a person, complete with firm opinions and an incessant love of dinosaurs, plus the vocabulary to express this love in no uncertain terms. I try to track his growth with my eyes and my heart but it’s sort of like studying quantum entanglement. By the time you look up to take stock of a moment, that moment has put on its dancing shoes and boogied its way out the door.
Family also includes my parents and brothers, plus friends both old and new. There’s never enough time to spend with these folks. When you’re writing, I assure you, there’s exponentially less.
What else does life include?
Auditions. More auditions. And meetings. Paying the power bill. Sipping cold coffee – lots of coffee. Appreciating the beauty of avocados as part of a healthy diet. Potty training (don’t get me started). Trips to the playground to investigate sandboxes. Putting a beloved pet to sleep. Kibitzing with neighbors. Watching the blue jay eggs in the nest on your fireplace hatch; the chicks grow, then they fly away. Singing "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round." Over and over and over again.
Life can also be about reading a poem that makes you remember that beauty comes first. That practically everything else is like watching politicians debate for your vote in presidential elections. It's certainly amusing. In the end, however, there's a lot of hot air and bluster yielding precious little substance.
Life also includes a new book release. After four long years, a great deal of research, one trip to Indonesia, and several drafts, THE BROWN AGENDA is now available at book stores everywhere.
I wrote this book with my friend, Richard Fuller, who founded one of the most noble and interesting non-profits I’ve ever heard of. Rich and his Pure Earth team go into some of the world’s most toxic pollution zones and figure out how to clean them up.
Most people have never heard of these hellholes. Whole cities contaminated by lead, pesticides, or Cold War chemical weapons. Deadlands carpeted by Western e-waste. Rivers that literally catch fire from all the flammable crap pumped into them by pernicious industries.
Most people don't understand that pollution kills more people each year than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. That most of these victims are children. But Rich does. Even better: he’s doing something about it. To date, he’s saved the lives of millions of people. And he’s just getting started.
I’m always proud of the projects I take on, but THE BROWN AGENDA holds a special place in my soul. If you have a few moments, read this excerpt recently published by Salon.com (http://ow.ly/R78bs).
I'm pleased to say that Bryan Walsh, TIME Magazine's Foreign Editor wrote the book's foreword. Brad Wieners, Executive Editor at Bloomberg Businessweek says, "Who knew cleaning up toxic waste could be the stuff of Indiana Jones-style adventure?"
We've garnered additional praise from award-winning actor Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Rachel Kyte (VP of World Bank), and Jairam Ramesh (India's former Minister of the Environment).
Plus this from David Biello, Environment & Energy editor at Scientific American: "...an important humanitarian cause revealed in clear and concise prose that is at once deeply necessary and deeply satisfying."
If you'd like to order a physical or e-copy of the book, click here: http://ow.ly/R7b0S.
And now it's time I got back to work. Our second developmental reading for the Tower Stories script is fast approaching.
Thanks always for your support of this project. Enjoy the rest of this summer and . . . enjoy your life. After all, it's the reason we have one, I think.
My best to you always, and always with thanks,
Posted May 14, 2015(The photo above shows a first draft of the Tower Stories play adaptation. Time signature notes for individual scenes were scrawled by Mark Cirnigliaro, who served as Asst. Director for our first professional reading, held on March 2, 2015.)
A SYMPOSIUM OF 9/11 ORAL HISTORIANS
Recently, I was invited to take part in a symposium of 9/11 oral historians held by the 9/11 Tribute Center.
For those who don’t know it, the Tribute Center (www.tributewtc.org) is a project of the September 11th Families Association. It seeks to bridge the gap between those who want to learn about 9/11 and those who experienced the day's events firsthand. The Center is particularly focused on sharing stories related to 9/11. It also works closely with the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
I felt honored to take part in this forum, which included representatives from Pace University, Columbia University, New York University, Stony Brook University's WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, StoryCorps, Project Rebirth, the National Park Service, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and other institutions. Keynote addresses were offered by Kathleen Roe, Director of Operations at the New York State Archives, and Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky.
The upshot of our meeting was this: each institution has spent many years accumulating thousands of recorded interviews related to 9/11. Some have collected their troves with an eye toward assisting those traumatized by the day’s events. Some have done so with an emphasis on documenting attacks that took place at a particular location.
The overall diversity of perspectives was impressive, as was the shared commitment to this work. Everyone understood that no one's perspective of 9/11 stands preeminent. Each viewpoint is utterly valid.
Over the years, the number of requests to access these oral histories has skyrocketed. This makes sense to me. September 11th acted as a doorway to our current epoch. More and more students of history, culture, and political science are writing theses on the post-911 world. They can only construct their arguments on solid platforms of research. The voices of the people who took part in 9/11 can unlock many doors, especially for those whose experience of that day was less immediate due to their age, lack of proximity, or some other cause.
For me, the symposium ultimately reaffirmed the purpose of our project. Yes, of course: this play adaptation is for us – by which I mean for our generation. But there are so many more generations to come. Children yet unborn will have questions; this play will offer them answers in a shared space, inviting discussion as only a work of theater can.
With any luck, this project will aid them on their journey. And it simply wouldn't have been possible without you and your contribution.
The second draft of the Tower Stories play is nearly complete. Thank you once again for your commitment, your vision, and your kindness.
Yours always, and gratefully,
Posted March 29, 2015YOU HELPED FUND A ROCKET
Hemingway said that the first draft of anything is shit.
The first draft of Tower Stories wasn't that (thank God), but it certainly wasn't a finished product. I liken it more to the first stage of a rocket. It's a necessary instrument to propel the vehicle into orbit. By design, however, it falls away so a second, more refined stage can take over.
The actors chosen for our first developmental reading did their jobs well. Meaning: they worked off the script I gave them and, in doing so, highlighted weaknesses in my writing.
Many weaknesses. Exactly according to plan.
Notes were taken. Discussions were had. Exasperated, I went back to the drawing board and kicked its legs out from under it.
I don't know how else to do this job. You build it. You test it, it breaks, and you fix it. Again and again and again.
Right now, I'm smack in the middle of Draft Two. It's very different from Draft One and I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet. But that in itself is exciting and excitement tends to be a good sign. Please keep your fingers crossed.
In case you've forgotten (I certainly haven't), this journey could not have been possible without you and your support. Thank you for that. I'll continue to keep you posted.
Yours always, and gratefully,
Posted February 21, 2015OUR FIRST DEVELOPMENTAL READING IS SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 2, 2015
I wanted to update you on the project you so generously funded.
The adaptation of Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11 for the stage progresses by leaps and bounds!
Director Amy Saltz and I have met several times since mid-January. We've discussed what we feel are the strengths and weaknesses of my first draft. We've listened to feedback from a select group of colleagues and weighed their comments carefully.
At this point, we feel confident that our next step must be a full reading of the script using professional actors. In other words, the project is right on course, and it’s all thanks to you.
Hearing your play read aloud for the first time feels a bit like running naked through Times Square at high noon on a weekday while screaming the lyrics to Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay. It’s equal parts exciting, terrifying, thrilling, and embarrassing.
I expect this first read to highlight every fault line, untenable design assumption, and lapse in craft for which first drafts (and my first drafts in particular) are so notorious.
But there’s no better way to understand what’s working in the script and what isn’t. Laying your cards on the table is one good reason why developmental readings are so important.
We've booked The William Esper Studio for 8 p.m. on Monday evening March 2 and started casting our first ensemble of actors. This will be a closed-door affair –a laboratory rather than exposition, the literary equivalent of an automotive crash test. Things are bound to get broken, at which point it’s back to the drawing board to fix, rethink, redraw, and try, try again.
At each stage of this process, I’ve found myself reflecting on you. How your generosity and belief in this project have enabled it to come so far and so quickly. Thank you for that, and please stay tuned. Keep your fingers crossed.
A play is about to be born.
Yours always and gratefully,
Posted January 12, 2015Dear friends,
Just a quick note to wish you a Happy (belated) New Year. Also to pass on the good news that we now have a complete first draft of the Tower Stories stage script!
So what happens now?
I’ve passed the script to a few first readers — actors and directors, my colleagues and friends, whose opinions I’ve learned to value. It should take a couple of weeks to hear back from them and to assimilate their suggestions.
I expect to rewrite the script based on some of the feedback I receive, after which we’ll move to the next goal: holding a first reading cast with professional actors so the play can come to life for the first time.
And what happens after that? Another rewrite based on what goes on in the rehearsal room, another reading with the revised script … repeat, repeat until the play has been thoroughly tested and feels ready to mount before a public audience.
Today is January 11, 2014. September 11, 2016 is exactly 21 months from now. I feel cautiously optimistic that we’re on track to have an excellent script prepared for the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
I hope it goes without saying that I’m excited, doubly so that I’m grateful for your support. I was not alone as I wrote this first draft. You were there, as were all the people who inspired me to write Tower Stories in the first place. Thank you for that and for continuing to inspire me through this process.
Posted October 31, 2014ON DISAPPEARING WRITERS, FINISHED BOOKS, AND EXCELLENT NEWS
The other day, someone asked me, “What’ve you been up to? Haven’t seen or heard much from you lately.”
Of course not, I thought. I’ve been writing, perhaps the world's most solitary contact sport. (I've also been chasing my two year old son around, but that’s another story.)
What was I writing specifically? The final chapters of my next book, “Pure Earth: One Man’s Mission to Clean Up the Most Polluted Places on Earth…And How You Can Help Him Do It.”
I wrote “Pure Earth” with my friend, Rich Fuller, the noted environmentalist and entrepreneur. Rich founded Blacksmith Institute / Pure Earth, an NGO which has fast become the go-to fix-it gang for groups like the World Health Organization, United Nations, European Commission, Asian Development Bank, and so on.
What do these groups ask Rich to do? As the title of our book suggests, he specializes in cleaning up the world’s most polluted places. These are travesties of waste and abuse that no other entity wants to touch ...
... Central African villages whose entire populations have been poisoned by lead. Russian factories whose smokestacks belch so many toxins, not a single blade of grass will grow in a 30 kilometer radius. Pesticide dumps killing people and wildlife in Azerbaijan. Small-scale gold miners dumping tons of mercury into our oceans, tainting the fish that you and I buy at the grocery store. And on and on and on ...
(Two years ago, Rich flew me to Indonesia so I could get a firsthand look at some of these places. To read a quick article and view a video of what I found, click here: http://www.blacksmithinstitute.org/blog/wishing-for-a-soccer-field-that-does-not-kill/)
As Rich points out, pollution kills more people each year than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. That makes it one of the world’s leading health crises. Yet few people know how much this problem affects us all. Even fewer know how easily it can be fixed.
I’m pleased to report that Rich and I submitted our manuscript to the publisher a few days ago – on time! “Pure Earth” should hit bookstores in August 2015. It will feature a foreword by Bryan Walsh, Foreign Editor for TIME Magazine, and an introduction by Gardiner Harris, the noted public health reporter for The New York Times. If you’re interested, I’ll send you more updates this spring.
So what does all this mean for “Tower Stories, the Play?”
Now that “Pure Earth” is up on its feet, I’m able to turn my attention to the script.
Good news: I’ve nearly completed a first draft of the adaptation.
Better news: I’ve begun meeting with Amy Saltz, an old friend and a remarkably accomplished director who recently voiced an interest in our project.
Amy’s long list of distinguished credits includes work on Broadway, off-Broadway, and the country’s leading regional theaters: Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Seattle Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the O'Neill Playwrights' Conference, Playwrights' Horizons, the Public, and more.
Amy is one of the finest theatrical artists I know: a deft director, an experienced collaborator, a student of history, and a good friend. Having her join our team feels like yet another blessing in the cycle of providence your support set in motion.
I’m on deadline to complete the first draft of “Tower Stories, the Play” within the next three weeks. Once that’s done, I’ll send another note that lays out our next steps.
Until then, I wish you and your family, a fine autumn and a very Happy Halloween!
Yours always, and gratefully,
P.S. – If you’re due an MP3 recording from the “Tower Stories” book, you should receive a link by the end of November. Look for it in your email box!
Posted September 30, 2014AN OLD FRIEND JOINS OUR TEAM!
A few days ago, someone called me to say, “I just saw the meter on your Hatchfund campaign. You’ve reached 140% of your funding goal! How did that happen, by magic?”
In this case, the magic in question comes from a very special friend of the Tower Stories project, Governor Tom Kean.
A précis of Tom’s many accomplishments:
He served as the 48th Governor of New Jersey, the 10th President of Drew University, and the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. His inclusive take on government makes him one of the most cherished bipartisan voices on both the regional and national stages.
Few Governors have championed education as passionately or to the extent that Tom has. Fewer still have shown themselves such a tireless friend to the arts.
In an age where the term “public servant” has often come to mean anything but, Tom continues to epitomize fairness, decency, honor, and statesmanship.
I was excited and humbled when, more than a decade ago, he agreed to write the foreword to Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11. I feel doubly so today as he joins our project to adapt the book for the stage.
Does this mean we’ve stopped fundraising? Absolutely not!
Tom’s generous gift puts several new program features within reach. I’ll have more good news to share with you on that front within a few days.
For now, please continue to spread the word!
• Mention our efforts to friends and family whom you think might help us preserve a piece of our history.
• The easiest way to direct them: have them visit www.towerstories.org and click on the Hatchfund Play Campaign button.
• Encourage them to watch the 3-minute video explaining our project.
• Remember to tell them that, thanks to our partnership with Hatchfund, all contributions are tax deductible.
Your support means the world to this project.
Years from now, future generations will go to the theater to hear the voices of 9/11. They will learn about the challenges faced that day, as in the days beyond. They will hear about the tragedy and the almost incalculable loss since these things cannot be undone; they are a part of what happened.
But they will also hear about courage. Strength. Resiliency. Generosity. Hope. They will know that, over the course of our country’s history, many events have taxed our society’s character and our will.
Yet the experiment of our democracy endures. Our faith in ourselves and the world endures.
These lessons are worth passing on to our children and our children’s children. And for this education, this sense of our past, they will look to you with thanks.
Yours always, and gratefully,
Posted September 17, 2014TOWER STORIES, THE PLAY - THANK YOU!
Our fundraising campaign passed its official deadline yesterday evening. As you've probably seen, our project is now fully funded. This could not have been possible without your vision and generosity.
So what happens next?
* If you asked to be listed as a project supporter, you'll find your name posted at www.towerstories.org under the tab that says Hatchfund Play Campaign. I'm proud to say this list contains donors representing nine states. Thank you!
* Over the next few days, those who requested copies of the book, Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11, will receive them by U.S. Post.
* Those who requested the audio file of a reading from this book should receive this by email before the end of November.
* Work on the script will begin next month with an eye toward a preliminary reading in mid-2015.
* Second and third readings will follow. These readings will incorporate notes from our development team, as well as further research from our interview archive.
* The script's third and final planned reading will be a public event in NYC (date and location TBD). Those who requested tickets will be notified well in advance.
If you have any questions at any time, please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Once again, thank you. Your support continues to overwhelm me. I consider it an honor to work on a project like this ... doubly so with you on the team.
My best always, and gratefully,
P.S. - Hatchfund announced today that, due to our success, our 'Donate' button will remain active for an additional 30 days. So it's not too late to spread the word, and I thank you for doing so in advance!
Posted September 16, 2014TUESDAY, 9/16/14 - OUR LAST DAY OF FUNDRAISING - A REWARD FOR YOUR ADVOCACY
Our fundraising campaign to adapt Tower Stories for the stage will end tomorrow night, on Tuesday, 9/16/14 at 11:59 p.m.
Because of your generosity, this project has met its minimum funding goal. The stories of these brave men and women will move forward -- and future generations will remember that day -- because you made it so.
In these last 27 hours, please think of one person you can call, e-mail, or speak to face to face. Contact that person. Tell them about the project. Remind them that all donations are tax deductible; it's the least we can do to thank you for donating to such a worthy cause.
Whatever reward that person receives, we'll send the same to you.
E.g. - If your friend donates $100 and selects a signed copy of Tower Stories as his reward, we'll send you one, too.
If your friend donates $250 and selects a signed copy of Tower Stories, plus two tickets to the final reading...and so on.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you sent someone our way.
And thanks once again -- thank you always -- for your invaluable support.
Posted September 13, 2014"What you are about to experience is not media spin, a five-second sound bite, or a coldly recycling film reel. It is a living time capsule of our nation’s humanity.The interviews contained in this book are seminal to our American history. They were conducted immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center, before time had been granted a chance to blur the details. Reading these stories, you get the sense that there was just enough time between the Towers’ collapse and the click of the recorder for people to catch their breaths and plant their feet on firm ground. Then they began to speak—directly and candidly. They spoke from their hearts, and I can’t believe they gave a single notion toward the idea that their words would be preserved forever. It was too confusing and painful a time to fumble with the weight of such ideas. Truth rings out in every word.
"I hope this book remains in print for a very long time to come because everyone should read it. Our children should read it.With regard to 9/11, we—as a people—cannot allow a myth to take root. We must ground ourselves in the reality of our pain if we have any hope of moving forward. And move forward we must."
Thomas H. Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission
From the Foreword of Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11
THREE DAYS LEFT IN OUR CAMPAIGN!
Your donation has assured that Tower Stories will be adapted for the stage.
Because of you, future generations will hear the voices of people who were there. They will understand their struggles, their pain, and -- most of all -- their courage.
We cannot change the past, but we can build a better tomorrow.
Please spread the word! Tell friends and family members about this project, and remember: all donations are tax deductible!
Best always, and gratefully,
Posted September 11, 2014A SAMPLE INTERVIEW FROM THIS MORNING'S 9/11 RADIO TOUR
Clearly today is a special day of remembrance.
In years past, I struggled to find the right words to extend on an occasion that means many things to many people. Frankly, I suspect, there's no real way to encapsulate what people feel about 9/11 since every reaction is unique, personal, and valid.
I therefore wish you and your families peace and strength.
This morning's radio tour went very well. By my best estimation, we saturated 24 major markets in the U.S. If you missed the broadcasts, here's a sample: the very kind Arroe Collins of iHeart Radio syndicate (NY-Charlotte-DC-Phoneix-etc.) interviewed me about Tower Stories the book and Tower Stories the play.
To listen, please click on the audio file provided OR the following link:
Your support for this project means the world to me, but today especially. Thank you for that.
And the work goes on.
Yours always, and gratefully,
Posted September 10, 2014TOWER STORIES NATIONAL RADIO TOUR SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW (9/11/14)
Tomorrow, 9/11/14, Damon will be a guest on the following radio stations as part of Premiere Network's national radio tour remembering 9/11.
The tour schedule is listed below. All times are EST.
An (L) means the interview will be Live.
A (T) means the interview will be taped and played throughout the morning.
The tour will pause for a moment of silence at 8:43 a.m.
7:00 KNEN Norfolk, NE Mookie & CC (T)
7:10 WILK Scranton, PA Webster and Nancy (L)
7:20 WNPV Lansdale-Philadephia, PA Darryl Berger (T)
7:30 KRLD Dallas, TX Mitch Carr (T)
7:40 WMXO Olean, NY Chris Russsell (T)
7:50 WKBN Youngstown, OH Dan Rivers (L)
8:00 KQRS Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Tom Barnard (L)
8:10 WDUN Atlanta, GA Bill and Joel (L)
8:20 Michigan’s Big Show Michigan state Michael Patrick Shiels (L)
8:30 WROK Rockford, IL Riley O’Neil & Scot Bertram (T)
8:50 WTRC South Bend, IN Mark McGil (L)
9:00 WLCE Springfield, IL Johnny Molson (T)
9:10 Heart Radio-WAXQ-WRFX-WASH-KEZ in NY-Charlotte-DC-Phoenix Arroe Collins (T)
9:20 KZRR Albuquerque, NM Swami Rob, Skyler, & Mahoney (L)
9:30 KPNW Eugene, OR Bill Lundun (L)
9:40 KVPI Lafayette, LA Jen & Steph (L)
9:50 KRED Eureka, CA Rollin Trehearne (L)
Premiere Networks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications. It is the largest radio syndication company in the United States based on popularity of programming.
Please tune in, please spread the word, and thank you for generosity!
Our campaign for Tower Stories, the Play has 6 more days to go! Ask someone you know to visit www.towerstories.org and learn more about the project.
They can watch the 3 minute video and make a tax deductible donation by clicking on the menu item that says Hatchfund Play Campaign.
WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST BUT WE CAN BUILD A BETTER FUTURE
Posted September 09, 2014HATCHFUND MAKES TOWER STORIES, THE PLAY THEIR FEATURED CAMPAIGN!
In an extremely generous show of support, Hatchfund has named Tower Stories, the Play it’s featured campaign starting tomorrow, September 10, 214.
This week, of course, marks the 13th anniversary of 9/11.
While it’s funny how time sneaks up on us all, the dizzying speed of passing years is precisely why the Tower Stories mission is so important.
Right now, many people recall what happened that day.
Years from now, only some will remember.
And later still? Even less.
Courage, resilience, hope, and innovation are values that should never be forgotten. They are the cornerstones on which our nation was built.
This week, please spread the word about Tower Stories, the Play.
Ask a friend to watch the video and make a tax deductible donation.
And on Thursday, please take a moment to remember our losses and sacrifice, but most of all: our strength.
Posted September 06, 2014MINIMUM FUNDING ACHIEVED!
Tower Stories, the Play just crossed its threshold for minimum funding!
This is a major milestone in our campaign, and your donation has made it possible.
Thank you for your support – you are the reason that future generations will understand our history and appreciate our strength.
If we cannot change the past, we will build a better future.
Some great resources have been posted at www.towerstories.org. Please visit, please stay tuned for further developments …
And please continue to spread the word about this project. We still have a bit more to go before we achieve optimum funding.
Yours always, and gratefully,
Posted September 05, 2014TOWER STORIES END OF THE WEEK UPDATE: THE MILESTONE OF MINIMUM FUNDING
Our third week of fundraising closes tonight. Thanks to you, we’ve raised 55% of our project’s maximum goal. Even better: as I write this, we’ve secured more than 90% of the monies needed to ensure funding.
With 10 days left to go, that’s a great place to be – and you made it happen. Thank you!
Your donation is an instrument of change. It guarantees that future generations will learn about one of our nation’s greatest challenges, and how we overcame it. They won’t get a lecture or boilerplate summary; they will hear the voices of actual people who participated in 9/11. They will know them as people – as real as you and me. They will hear them speak frankly of their fear and confusion, but also their great resolve to preserve.
And this, most of all, will empower them.
We learn by example. Knowledge creates choices and choices change the world. This is the cause you have set in motion. I can think of few more powerful.
Some great news since last I wrote you:
Earlier this week, our campaign was featured in the article “Tribute” by George Beck now running in NJ BLUE NOW magazine.
George is a police detective, novelist, columnist, adjunct professor, volunteer fire fighter, and PhD candidate. His noir thriller, “The Killer Among Us,” was released in May by Noir Nation; you can find it in the crime fiction section of book stores everywhere, and on Amazon (of course).
I’ve attached the article at the top of this update. Take a look! NJ BLUE NOW serves more than 40,000 law enforcement professionals in New Jersey.
As exciting as all this is, there’s still some work to do.
Ten days to go starting tomorrow. Please spread the word. Tell friends and family who might be interested to visit www.towerstories.org.
And remember: thanks to our partnership with Hatchfund, ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Enjoy your weekend!
Posted August 28, 2014WHAT HISTORY MEANS WHEN A BOY TURNS TWO
My son, Ethan, had his second birthday this past Saturday. Somebody please tell me where the time went.
Seems like only a week ago that Jess woke me up at 2:30 a.m. and said, "I think my water just broke."
I told her to go back to sleep. "Your water couldn't have broken," I said. "Our due date isn't for six more weeks."
Funny how I still thought the world respected a certain set of rules. My rules.
I don't think that way anymore.
It seems like only five days ago that Ethan came home from the NICU. Our very own precious lima bean, he filled our lives with a giddy joy which, come to think of it, might have been the narcotic-like euphoria brought about by sleep deprivation.
It was right around this point that my friend Peter took me aside and said, "We love our mother and father and we love our brothers and sisters. We love our spouses, obviously. But once someone puts that kid in your arms, that's it. You're done. There's no other love in this life that will ever come close to that."
He was right. I never realized how small my life was until a little boy who weighing under four pounds became my door to a much larger world.
It seems like only three days ago that Ethan started walking. I remember that day because I filmed it on my iPhone and carefully warehoused the footage on a backup hard drive that's now nearly gummed up with video and still shots.
(Take note: this will be one more difference between us. In my day, parents took Polaroids destined to yellow with age or molder in albums abandoned in coffee table drawers. Rarely, they shot movies on handheld Super 8 cameras, devices that now seem barbarically clunky. Remember sending your film out to be processed? Good Lord.)
Ethan and his generation will have their entire childhoods archived in neat little digital folders. I expect he'll eventually ask that question I guess all children ask at one time or another: "What was I like when I was small?"
Where my predecessors launched lengthy descriptions, I'll simply click on an icon.
It seems like only two days ago that Ethan first peed on me. Enough said about that, but believe me. It made an impression.
Jess said, "Consider it a badge of honor."
"I do," I said. "Please get me a Kleenex."
And it seems like only yesterday -- no wait. It WAS only yesterday that Ethan looked up at me from the scooter he got for his birthday. The joy in his eyes was indescribable. It made me weak in the knees. Still does at the mere recollection.
This, I thought, is what we are meant to be. This joy. This love. This sense of adventure.
The moment we feel that slipping away, stop everything and find it again.
So why the hell am I telling you this? By now that question has crossed your mind -- it certainly crossed mine as I vacillated over whether to write all this down and post it.
This weekend I realized that my life, the life that I treasure so much, this moment, my moment, is already my son's history. Time plays tricks on us all like that. It's the cycle of things. We hold tight, then we yield.
Inevitably, the things I grew up with will seem quaint to my son. Frankly, so many seem quaint to me now. Landlines (we don't have one, do you?). Typewriters (God, how I love them!). Cell phones that merely send and receive calls. A world without the Internet. Leaded gas. You know: the little things.
The bigger things might be tougher to explain. Airspace free from the clatter of drones. Cars that didn't drive themselves. The Cold War. The 80s. Dolly the Sheep. Why people seem prone to hate and fight. The embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The genocide in Kosovo. Y2K.
If I'm leaving anything out (and I am), I guess it could go to show how much we've already taken granted.
9/11 will come up, of course. How can it not? And what will we say about that? I don't know. I guess I've never known.
That's one of the reasons I'm writing today.
Part of me wants my son to stay two years old forever. Don't say it -- I know how selfish this is. His innocence is priceless though I know that it can't remain.
His birthright is to come to maturity here, among the problems and turmoil this world throws off like the notes in a fast-paced song. But I hope he will also know the satisfaction of getting things right every once in a while. Of making a difference. Of helping each other. Leaving things better than we found them.
This is my son. He is everything to me.
To become a parent, or simply a responsible adult, is to take on the most important job in the world: to help your child and all the kids of his or her generation understand what came before them.
I know of no other method to prepare them for what lies ahead.
Your donation to the Tower Stories project has made an immense contribution to this mission. Because of your generosity our campaign has achieved 87% of its minimum funding in just two weeks! That's astonishing! Moreover, it leaves us nearly three more weeks to see this campaign all the way home.
Thank you once again for your support. Please continue to spread the word, and please remember to tell your friends that all donations to this worthy cause are donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
Here's to happy, safe, and very relaxing Labor Day Weekend.
Posted August 22, 2014OUR FIRST WEEK OF FUNDRAISING CLOSED OUT TONIGHT!
Because of your generosity, we raised an astonishing 31% of our project's maximum goal! That's already more than 50% of the monies needed to ensure funding! Thank you!
Because of your donation, future generations will hear the voices of the people who took part in September 11th, 2001. They will know their hopes, their fears, and their incredible resilience. And they will have you to thank for the lessons they learn. Your contribution to Tower Stories, the Play has helped preserve a priceless piece of history.
As humbling and exciting as this is (and it is!), we've still got a ways to go. Next week, we'll release some new incentives to thank you for your participation.
For now, check back here often. Look for updates on www.towerstories.org. And please help spread the word!
Tell your friends about this very worthy cause, and remember: thanks to Hatchfund, ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Your donation will fund the development cycle that turns the book, Tower Stories: an Oral History of 9/11, into a stage performance piece.