I Want To Be A Part Of It – New York, New York!

My goodness it’s been a long time! I blame the Greeks. Well technically the Seleucids and the Maccabees …

Anyway, I promised a post on my epiphany and here it is. I’m not sure if it really qualifies as an epiphany but that’s what I’m going to call it anyway.

Last Friday, my school hosted a Half-Way There Cruise for the sophomore class. This cruise consisted of a four hour boat ride and terrible food and music around the New York Harbor. Being born and bred in said state, the New York Harbor is nothing new to me, but is still awe-inspiring. The skyline never gets old. I could stare at it for hours. If the boat had halted right next to Manhattan and never returned to Queens, I would have been perfectly content.

But alas, the boat did turn around to dock again in Queens right next to Troubled Assets Recovery Program Field, woops, I mean Citi Field, home of the New York Mets (sorry, Mets fans, I’m die-hard Yankees). On its way back, we passed and paused by Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. Being an ethnic mutt (Italian, Irish, Polish, German, French, and Huron Indian) I know for a fact that most of my ancestors came through Ellis Island a hundred or so years ago, and seeing the place where they ended their arduous journeys in the hopes that I could live the life I do now had me choked up. Yes, they weren’t thinking of me specifically, but without them, I would not me where I am, nor would I be as fortunate. Their flight to Ellis Island and the struggles they endured in their new lives laid the foundation for me to be able to be free, go to college, and not have to worry about the trials they endured like potato famine, religious persecution, and poverty.

As I was hanging out the back of the boat reenacting Rose and Jack from Titanic with my best friend and watching Ellis Island recede with the skyline behind it, an idea struck me. How must my ancestors have felt watching Ellis Island and the skyline coming closer to them? Were they afraid? Were they excited? Did it remind them of Italy/Ireland/Poland/Germany/France? With that thought, came the ideal for a novel!!

Not precisely a novel as much as a collection of short stories commenting on the passage of time and progression of my country. It will involve a bit of research and probably a trip to Ellis Island herself. I am going to follow my family history from the time we came to America. Everything I need is right there: plot, conflict, suspense, characters, even names! It’s perfect. Some of my ancestors were good people and I’m sure some were downright dirt-bags. The Italians were not happy when their children announced they were marrying Irishmen. The Polish weren’t happy about the union with a German. I can guarantee you the French weren’t too thrilled about the marriage to an Indian.

Some people nowadays might look at me and think I’m just white. But in reality I am full of culture. Every single person who has ever lived on the face of this planet is full of culture. Everyone has history. Everyone is diverse. It’s how we survive as the human race. My diversity just comes from Europe.

And it makes great writing material!!

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About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at http://missrosemary.net or contact her at MissRosemarysNovelIdeas@gmail.com with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

7 responses to “I Want To Be A Part Of It – New York, New York!

  • Lua

    You sure can call it an epiphany! 🙂 It’s amazing how a certain place can take us 100 years back in time and forces us to think about all that had happened before us…
    And I couldn’t agree more with you about the fact that every human is history, everyone has a story to tell…
    I’ve always found my grandmother’s story fascinating, I always though it would make a great novel but it still has some time before I sit down and start writing it. Like you said, when it’s about history, a fair amount of research is necessary…
    I’m so glad you found a new idea for a novel, I’m sure it’ll be a wonderful journey tracing the story of your ancestors 🙂

  • ollinmorales

    that’s wonderful! When fresh new ideas come it’s such a high isn’t it? I got one recently too, it’s a new novel. Another young adult fantasy centering around a boy this time. Anyways, I really enjoyed getting it out of the blue, since I’ve been focused so much on my current novel and storyline. Hope you continue with it sounds like it would be fascinating, especially with the challenge to write all of those racial tensions between your ancestors

    • Aspiring Novelist

      Congratulations on the new idea!! It’s definitely always a good thing to get fresh ideas when you’ve been focused on one project for so long. It keeps your creative juices flowing and (for me) motivation to finish the first project so I can get on to the new idea! You can’t leave things cooped up for so long or they’ll get angry with you.

      Thanks for the encouragement! This project will assuredly be larger than anything I’ve ever attempted to tackle before because of all the research it will entail, like interviews (and once you get Nana going, you’d better be prepared to be listening for a LONG TIME), trips to Ellis Island, and all the time period research. I want to get it right!

  • Hema P.

    It definitely qualifies as an epiphany! I love it when an idea takes shape, sprouts wings and then begins to smother you until you take notice. (I know, mixed metaphors/images, but hope you get my point? :)) Run with it, Aspiring Novelist, it’ll make for a great read!

    I like reading novels and non-fiction set in the time period (or just subject matter) that I’m contemplating writing about — gives me ideas on what to avoid and which angle to go with. I read one series by Rhys Bowen, called “Molly Murphy mysteries”, where the heroine comes on a ship to Ellis Island from Ireland in the early nineteenth century.

    • Aspiring Novelist

      Great suggestion! Reading similar stories to what you are writing is by far the only foolproof way to really get a feel for how you yourself should write.

      And the mixed metaphors work. You get so excited when they come to you and they seem to literally take flight in your mind but then they won’t leave you alone when you have many other things to do … Any writer would understand.

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