• A few weeks after 9/11, I wrote an essay about where I was and what I did that day:
Read the whole thing here.
“Get up, son,” my mother said, tapping softly on the door of the bedroom of my childhood home in Missouri. “An airplane hit the World Trade Center.” I came awake a split-second later, my head full of memories. For years, I had wondered when the long arm of terrorism would strike again at New York. I thought of a sunny Saturday morning back when I was living in an apartment house on a hill north of the city. A small earthquake shook the building as I lay sleeping, and the groaning of the old walls woke me. I heard a soft whir through the open window, the rustle of the leaves on the shaken trees. It’s a car bomb, I told myself, unable for one stunned moment to conceive of any other possibility.
All these thoughts flew through my mind in the time it took me to pull on my pants. Then I trotted to the living room, there to behold the coming of the new age….
• In 2001 I was writing a monthly “New York letter” for the arts section of the Washington Post, and three years later I posted several excerpts from the columns that I filed in the wake of 9/11, about which I had this to say:
To read those excerpts, go here.
Could it be that I–we–were living more intensely in those days? It happens that my life was turned inside out in all sorts of ways in the immediate wake of 9/11, but no matter what fears I found myself facing, I almost always managed sooner or later to slip out of the fearful present and immerse myself in the blessed world of art, responding all the more passionately because of my renewed consciousness of life’s brevity. Strange that it so often takes a catastrophe, whether personal or public, to make you face a fact that was no less true on 9/10, or 9/12….