2001-09-22 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein

…And so, we ask ourselves questions that have no easy answers. We struggle with possibilities that have no easy results. We wonder about Justice and God. We seek a way to help. We contemplate, we search, we weep, we act, we watch our TV’s, we look away. We throw up our hands in despair; we resolve to keep the ones we love even closer. We carry on, never to be the same ever again. I sat before my computer screen for a long time, wondering how to begin this column. I walked downstairs to get supper. The firemen in the firehouse across the street were readying the engine and jumping on. I think I heard them saying something about a three-car accident. Life and death do not stop. There is no cosmic stopwatch that halts it all while we take a breather. We continue, to live, to die, to ruminate, to mourn, to celebrate, to carry on. Those who keep us safe and secure do not stop, even though they have the most to mourn. And we continue to look for answers within questions and questions within answers. But we do the best we can, the best of which we are capable. We are obliged to do no less -- by instinct; by example; by desire. When I look for a definition of courage, I think of my brother, the most courageous person I know. Courage is not, not being afraid. It is doing what is right even though you are afraid.

Sunday, September 23 the people of this community will come together as one, to mourn and to support and celebrate. Since "community" should have the broadest of meanings, all are welcome. From 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. "Rockaway Reaching Out," a candlelight vigil, will be held on the Fort Tilden parade grounds (in front of Building 1, headquarters.) Rockaway, as well as much of this area of Queens, has been particularly hard-hit by this horror. Gateway National Recreation Area, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, Rockaway Artists Alliance, Rockaway Theatre Company and Rockaway Music and Arts Council – arts, business and government -- have joined to organize this evening in which we may all embrace in communion. From one end of the peninsula to the other and from all around it. Across economic, social and political lines. We have the opportunity to remember, support, pay tribute, find ways of helping and ultimately of healing. This is what we can do for our families, our friends, our neighbors and ourselves. Candles will be provided. Flowers are welcomed. You may park at the northwest end of the Jacob Riis Park parking lot. Bus transportation will be provided from there. For information, please call Gateway the Chamber of Commerce or RAA.

The soul reveals itself by its creativity. In celebration of the arts, plans continue for Rockaway Artists Alliance ARTSPLASH 2001. More than a month of arts events and exhibitions to be held in Fort Tilden from September 29- November 11 will include a broad scope of artists and media. Judging the two cash prizes for excellence is Philip Jackson, Queens Museum of Art Community Programs Coordinator. A full schedule will appear in this newspaper next week. Events include musicians, an African dance ensemble, belly dancing, a percussion workshop and original poetry readings.

Stay safe this week And love each other very much.

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