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  • The 9/11 Project The 9/11 Project The 9/11 Project D. A. Smith's most ambitious project to date; A full musical play inspired by the history; the events from September 11, 2001 to bin Laden's death in 2011. We're looking for people to help us bring it to life!
  • Black on Black Black on Black Theft, deceit and murder—all in the name of God. When a church youth counselor in a South Side neighborhood tries to protect her “children” from gang violence, she finds herself in a life-and-death conflict with evil. NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

9/11 at 13, part III: The God Files [DECLASSIFIED]

Remembering 9/11Wow. This last post took a good month to post! What was it John Lennon said in Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans?” We’ve been getting a new campaign ready to raise awareness for and funds to complete the 9/11 Project, which these last 3 posts tie into.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!

Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46

In this third act, The God Files [DECLASSIFIED] a major theme here is faith. Faith, not just in the religious sense, but in the general sense of trust. Unfortunately, people are often manipulated with their faith, and find their faith broken as a result:

When faith—trust—is broken, how do you re-establish it? And in what? In whom?

You could, as my character Lawson did, choose not to have faith in anything anymore. That path leads to madness and self-destruction. I am convinced the epidemic of suicide among War on Terror veterans and others comes from the experience of broken and shattered faith; and not finding anything else, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem to others, to believe in.

Some rediscover their faith through God or a religious community. Others find this through their family, a spouse, or even a friend–people they can trust, have faith in, to love and support them no matter how difficult the road ahead. The words “I love you” can save lives.

I had completed the songs and scores by 2012. I had intended to release the 9/11 Project as a three-CD trilogy, complete with collectible tin cover and full-color illustrated lyrics booklet. I concerned myself with acquiring the capital to record and produce this album–which I estimated at $60,000—and market the Project as best I was able while I worked on capital, and other projects.

Working on a different project—which would become Black on Black–I discovered this ingenious book, which I recommend to all aspiring fiction authors, whether you’re writing screenplays, stage plays, novels or even short stories: How to Write a Movie in 21 Days: The Inner Movie Method by Viki King, (available on Amazon for $6.77 + shipping) as (I originally conceived Black on Black as a movie screenplay—one I will produce—before adapting it into a novel.)

The heart of the “Inner Movie Method” is a way to visualize your characters and story even before you start writing. Once I began writing Black on Black, the process quickly turned from one where I dictating what was happening to my characters to one where my characters were dictating to me what they were doing and why—where I was watching my own movie in my head and just writing down what was happening.

Naturally, my completed script was by no means finished and needed editing—and editing again (thanks Tony!)—but it was there! Furthermore, when I revisited the 9/11 Project I found the same thing happening again: characters were emerging from my songs, telling me their names, telling me their stories—singing my own songs back to me: Joey, Marcus, Thomas, Darrell and Rodger; Adam, Muhammed, James and Leroy; President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove; Condoleeza Rice and General Colin Powell; Sgt. Smith and Cpl. Harris; Brian and Javier; Father Murphy and “Joey Too;” Erick and Lawson; Calvin, Julie and Jeffrey; Rachel, Christy, Edward and Alex–even Saddam Hussein! I saw all these personalities weave their narratives—and my music–into a history looking back on the tumultuous decade from September 11, 2001 through May 2, 2011 to today, that brings the 9/11 decade into focus.

Thus the 9/11 Project takes on its current form. I point out current, not final form. A good story can be told many ways: look at all the Oscar-winning movies, Tony-Award winning plays and musicals adapted from bestselling novels!

OK, so ends my 911 at 13 mini-trilogy. I hope it was worth the wait. I promise you, once The 9/11 Project his theaters, that it will have been worth the wait!

Dennis

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