11 September 2007

Memento Mori


Nowadays, I am not one easily given to displays of overwrought emotion. In fact, I am usually characterised by sang-froid in the realm of the emotional: a practical girl, good head on her shoulders, get on with it, that sort of thing. Or at least I like to think of myself as so.

I have spoken before on this moment, this odd combination of numbers, the unlucky reminder of both better and worse times, the sickening memory that now, invariably, comes around annually, stretching into infinity. Every year there will be a moment of recognition, however increasingly dim, of an event as germinal to one's experience and as shocking in its abruptness as the guns of August or the explosion of Vesuvius, signaling the profound loss of an entire world, in the toxic plume that covered lower Manhattan.

Unfortunately, the human heart is not equipped to deal with this sort of sudden catastrophe, this vaporisation of quotidian realities that were thought of, however erroneously, as timeless. And as time has passed, the true ramifications of that awful moment settle in the bones, uncomfortably, a painful reminder.

Suffice it to say, emotionally drained in a curiously dislocated way, I feel bereft of adding anything more than what I have already said, other than to sadly note that September 11th, 2001 has become the national sepulchre for both our common taste and promise, a greater loss than any of us could possibly have imagined, at the time.

3 comments:

Oso Raro said...

An addendum of sorts: Mr. Gordo wasn't pleased with my post's use of the famous graphic image of a falling person at the WTC on 9/11. As I tried, I think unconvincingly, to argue with him, the use of the image is not gratuitous. I wanted specifically to trigger, through the use of the graphic, the tangible memory of what 9/11 meant, both in that moment and subsequent. Primarily that many people died horrible, visceral deaths that day. It was not abstract. It is not flags over the skyline, or obsequious images of firemen and "heroes" with a floating graphic of steel girders resembling a cross. It is, in fact, body parts.

In our socio-cultural candy-coated fuzziness, it is getting easier and easier to forget the actual events of the day itself. For me, to remember what it all meant on a human level is more important than the polite decorum that means now we don't see the graphic nature of the day, the real effects, the fact that we are fallable, that we are vulnerable, that we are indeed flesh and blood (although I don't think this is Mr. Gordo's tack of critique exactly; he of course is welcome to make his own commentary).

Indeed, perhaps this is probing the wound, irritating it yet further. Yet, I never want to forget that, in the end, that day is shocking and traumatic because of images like this.

adjunct whore said...

i agree with you oso--this image in particular is what hurts and what i remember vividly being shocked by, over and over again. it hurts to relive it and it is necessary to relive it. it is strange, in the last two years in particular, i have felt more loss and pain from it than the first years after. just overwhelming sense of sadness--

the ways it gets deployed are loathsome as i posted about myself. but this image feels personal.

Gray said...

New entry! New entry! New entry!

It's so difficult to look at that picture everytime I come to your blog for more of your writing, OR. I have developed sort of an addiction to your blog.