I wrote a new (free) piece for Patreon today and then started wondering about all the things I’ve written over the years about the Towers and that Tuesday.
So, in order of their appearance, this one from 2005, and a peaceful image that did my heart good when I first saw it, and that I still call Wish.
Then, in 2008, this kind of throwaway piece that still packs a wallop because it was true; from the first time I flew in a plane after that day.
Two pieces from the 10th anniversary, one of which I wrote in 2007 for a grant application, and the other – about the dogs.
A few years later, when fostering kittens – one of whom would become our Greta Bean – I would write about how having our two gray boys leave footprints in the dust of our Brooklyn apartment that day.
I first started hating the term “never forget” I don’t know when but I first said something about it in 2014. That’s also when I posted this beautiful view from the top of the Towers.
By 2017 I had a fellow New Yorker here in Appleton with me, and I wrote this for her, and for me, and for all of us who were there but who left NYC, but moreso for all the people who weren’t there who think they’ve got something to say.
In 2018 a smattering of memories about the beautiful place it was and the hints of what was lost immediately after, soon after, and much after. (This is still something I need to write a hell of a lot more about, personally. I lost my life in no small part that day and have only insinuated about it but never really dug in.)
In 2019 this piece about being a post traumatic, when I was convinced that would be the center of my next book, an idea I abandoned once I started trying to write it because it was too fucking painful and I did not have the mental health resources – or the time off – to really do it. Sometimes you lose too much blood trying to get a thing down, and that was the case with this. Sometimes projects are abandoned because they have to be.
Last year, this piece a week ahead of time about a song, and a band, and a concert that happened afterwards, and the pathos and drunkenness and community.
But 2020 was filled with so much other grief, as is 2021. My rage is always the first thing that I can express, and I’m glad I get to, because I’m so continually disgusted at the misuse of this day for patriotism instead of memory, perspective, grief. What strikes me most this year is how much I still haven’t said or written about, my nightmares, how much of my life and my self I lost as a result. I’ve never written about Mychal Judge but I read about him a lot and hope he does become a saint.
So the rage is often what you get, the pushback to how we do this as a country. I’m sad not to be in NYC and relieved not to be in NYC, too: just one show on “what ‘never forget’ means to you” had me weeping in my BK apt, so maybe it is for the best that I’m not soaking in a whole town’s grief and anger today.
Or not. For now, I compile and cry and play with cats and order groceries and go back to reading N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became.