Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Something Positive to Contemplate: Philippe Petit

My friend Mark Andrews turned me on to the book To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers by Philippe Petit. It is an amazing adventure tale of a life-loving funambulist who took on the World Trade Center, preparing for years before finally performing a dazzling, illegal high wire dance between the twin towers. His book, like the project it details, is part poetry and part crime caper.

Searching for more info about Mr. Petit, I found an interview in Psychology Today which has some good quotes, including this one about the WTC site: "I think they should be rebuilt exactly the same, or maybe even a little bit higher—as a rebellion against doom." This Guardian article is also interesting, but I suggest reading his book, as it is much more detailed. His devotion to art, life, dreams, and a spirited, positive rebellion against conformity really comes through int he book. The style may rankle some readers (at first it bothered me, but I quickly found it rather charming), but even so the story is quite compelling. I found the book well worth the read, especially in a time of much sadness.