Thursday, June 14, 2012
Grist for the Mill
This past weekend I went to New York to visit family. We had tickets to go to the 9/11 Memorial site. There are two pools there where the two towers stood.
When I first started writing a few years ago, I took a class at Meredith College with Angela Davis-Gardner. My initial attempt at a story was based on a PostSecret postcard. It read: "All those who knew me before 9/11 believe I'm dead." I could not stop thinking about what that person's story was, and began to write my ideas.
The story has some strong sections, but this weekend I realized that it captures none of the real terror of that day. I had just finished reading Don Delillo's book, Falling Man, which did a beautiful job of getting inside the head of two people who escaped from the towers that day. The image of the Falling Man, a stunt person who reinacted someone falling from the towers, especially sticks with me. I looked at the Brooklyn Bridge and thought of all those people running horrified away from the island. Women must have been in heels; people were covered in dust; hearts must have been racing, loved ones in their thoughts.
I know that 9/11 is the defining event of my lifetime. I hope we never see anything as horrifying as that on our soil, and that we are more compassionate and sensitive to those who live with terror and fear every day for having witnessed the day.
The atmosphere around the reflecting pools is still electric with what happened. I saw people crying and I know that the emotions were not just felt by those who found names engraved on the stone around the pools.
As a writer, I will draw on my emotions from my visit this weekend and go back to my story and revise. My character, Annalyn, hasn't been sent to the depths of disappearing yet, and I'm more prepared now to take her there.