Thursday, September 11, 2014
I lived in Perry County without TV and was young, but I still remember my sisters, brother and I being home alone, hearing the radio announcer voice the horror as it happened. The second tower coming down. The announcer's loss for words. I remember how hearing those words, "Let's roll" hit me in my gut. ... I remember seeing the footage later and seeing America rally and flags waving from every porch, every balcony. I remember seeing the memorial services broadcasted, seeing people in tears by candlelight, hearing the songs. With time, I remember seeing the books, written accounts, fiction and non-fiction, people grappling with the extreme tragedy. ... I remember the day they said they got Bin Laden. I remember how strange the elation felt, since I hadn't personally lost anyone. But oh how I wanted to holler from the rooftops, "Take that, you bastards!"
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Image courtesy of the United States Military
"I did not look on my work [writing] as therapy, and still don't. Yet when I received Norman Bowker's letter, it occurred to me that the act of writing had led me through a swirl of memories that might otherwise have ended in paralysis or worse. By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the s*** field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain."
"What stories can do, I guess, is make things present. I can look at things I never looked at. I can attach faces to grief and love and pity and God. I can be brave. I can make myself feel again."