Writers and Tightrope Walkers

A few nights ago, I went to the movie, Man on Wire, a 2008 documentary film, directed by James Marsh. The film follows tightrope walker Phillipe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk across the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

The movie left my head spinning with thoughts. Why did Petit spend most of his life walking on wire over crowded cities buzzing with traffic? I thought about it the whole subway ride home and came to the conclusion that Petit was using his body to narrate his stories, just like writers use words to tell their stories.

I spent the rest of the evening browsing the internet, looking up information regarding tightrope walkers. I stumbled upon a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The poem compares the writer to an acrobat and the lines move back and forth as if to mimic the motions of a tightrope walker.

As you read this poem, ask yourself these questions: As writers, what risks do we take? What wires do we walk across as we tell our stories?