i (i) wrote,

my posts from 9-11-2001:

Time: 6:33 am.

i have one thing to say to W. how is your fucking star wars going to stop this?

Time: 8:05 am.

horrified, yes
surprised, no

this was inevitable. we have abused our power too many times, alienated too much of the world, supported too many dictators, been on the wrong side of too many conflicts.

hopefully the individuals responsible for this will be found and brought to justice. what i fear is a knee-jerk reaction from washington that results in the death of even more innocent people.

Time: 8:19 am.

i'm going to work now. hugs to everyone.

Time: 12:25 pm.

i just went to give blood and was turned away. all centers are at capacity in phoenix. you might call first if you are heading out or wait until tomorrow.

Time: 12:50 pm.

i just found out that my company had an office and employees in the WTC. no news of their condition.

Time: 1:16 pm.

"a powerful act of ignorance" - how a freelance filmmaker who took video of the WTC inside police lines described the attack.

Subject: tangentially speaking
Time: 1:39 pm.

the air seems a lot clearer today. wonder if that has anything to do with the lack of airline exhaust?

Time: 2:05 pm.


Time: 2:58 pm.

it now appears that we have attacked afghanistan

evidently the explosions and tracer fire are part of an internal conflict, and not us originated

Time: 3:59 pm.


Time: 5:59 pm.

good night all. tomorrow, be extra kind to your fellow humans. go out of your way to help at least one person. try to avoid all thoughts of hate and retribution. cry if you need to. laugh if you can. hug more than usual. find peace and spread it around.

one month later:


40 flights...45...50. His legs strained under the load of more than 100 pounds of gear. He would feel this tomorrow, for sure, but for now, adrenaline and the drive to help, to get to where he could help, kept him climbing. A seemingly endless stream of frightened people pushed past him on their way down. Somewhere around the 50th floor, he began to see signs of the fire. A man clutched his arm, tears streaking the soot that ringed his eyes. His mouth opened as if to say something, but he just shook his head, released his grip and hurried downward. A young woman stopped him two flights farther up. "My friend is on the 61st floor" her eyes pleaded with him "she is under her desk. We couldn't get her to leave. Please help her. Her name is Mary." He nodded and moved on, touching his breast pocket, where he kept three pictures of his wife (who was also named Mary) and their baby girl. He had one picture from each of her three birthdays. At the 61st floor, the door to the stairwell had been propped open. He stepped into the deserted office and looked around. "Mary?" he called. The building shuddered. He looked up just as the ceiling rushed down on him.

Vignette 2

40 paces...45...50. Then turn and 50 more. His legs weak from lack of food, but adrenaline and fear keeping him awake. Other "soldiers", just out of puberty pushed past him, unable to sleep through the constant sound of American bombs. Occasionally one would land close enough to light the sky and the faces of his fellow conscripts. One clutched his arm, tears streaking the dust that ringed his eyes. His mouth opened as if to say something, but he just shook his head, released his grip and shuffled on. A young boy, who should have been playing in the street or studying in school, stopped him. "Please tell me the Americans won't come here" his eyes pleaded with him. "I heard they were dropping food." He pulled the scarf around his neck that his mother had given him when he left for the front, snugged his threadbare jacket and prayed that she would escape the bombs. He remembered that today was his sister's third birthday. The roar of a jet engine shook the ground. He looked up just as the bomb rushed down on him.

and then one year later:

In the first months following the destruction of the World Trade Center I didn’t paint at all. It wasn’t until the anniversary of the event that I finally realized that I needed to deal with it as an artist.

I never paint to communicate ideas. This painting is no exception. I painted it because I needed the catharsis. I needed to go through the process. So this post is not about what I am trying to say with the piece, but rather what went through my mind as I painted it – what it said to me.

I watched the towers grow on the New York skyline from our house in New Jersey. I was in, under, and around them many times. They were a magnificent representation of what the human race is capable of. We can reach the sky. Sadly, we can also destroy just as effectively.

Imagine if we as a species took the energy and resources we spend on destruction and put them towards reaching the sky and beyond. We are truly capable of anything.

“Everything has changed” was a catch phrase at the end of 2001. Naturally it became a superficial cliché used by the media in trite commentary, but on a deep often unnoticed level, I believe it is true. Our leaders, afraid of the potential of this change, have decided to fight it in the way they always have, through fear and violence. It is up to the rest of us to embrace it with beauty and love.

For me, this painting speaks of the potential rising like a phoenix out of the horrible beauty of those destructive moments. Images of the towers have been excised from our culture, but images of their destruction are still used to inflame our baser emotions for cynical ends. The stories of heroism and transformation are drowned out by the trumpets of war. The coming together we felt in the aftermath, both as Americans and worldwide has all but evaporated in our jingoistic rush to blame and punish. There was an unprecedented opportunity in that pile of rubble and smoke. We all felt it, we all saw it. It is still there. Let us seize it before the myopic policies of the old power structure trample it.


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