The complicated stuff of memory.

November 3rd, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

We’ve all lost people we love. For me, my first encounter with death was losing my grandfather (Pops) to colon cancer when I was 11. The loss was physically agonizing.

For many months after Pops died I wrote letters to him on My Melody stationary with pink rollerball ink, telling him how much I missed him and what was on my mind. But it was never about the actual letters for me, it was about the writing. Writing was not a way of communicating with my grandfather, but a vehicle through which I engaged in the act of remembering. The letter writing slowed down over time, then stopped altogether. I suppose at some point I no longer needed it. » Read the rest of this entry «

What’s your story?

October 27th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

September 2001, NYC

I was speaking with the father of one of my childhood friends last night. He said something that stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it all day. He made a comparison between 9/11 and the assassination of JFK, saying the experience of 9/11 for my generation is like the experience of JKF’s shocking death for his generation. I have heard this comparison more than once.

9/11 is bookmarked in our minds – its placement defining a clear before and after. » Read the rest of this entry «

Let’s give this a try.

October 25th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Construction at the World Trade Center Site. These huge cubes are the footprint of the Twin Towers. Soon they'll be waterfalls as part of the National 9/11 Memorial.

I got back from an incredible research trip a few weeks ago. I went out to NYC for the 9th anniversary of 9/11. While I was there I spent a lot of time near Ground Zero, visiting memorial sites and interviewing people involved in memorial projects. While all of these traditional research tools were incredibly valuable, I also realized that some of my most informative conversations about the way people are feeling right now were the unofficial sort. The kinds of conversations that happen over a three-hour cup of coffee with a friend I haven’t seen for 2 years. » Read the rest of this entry «