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feel that the poems come and take me almost. I don't need motivation.
They're there, and it's just giving myself a little bit of space
to sit down and let them collect on the page, in a sense. And then
of course, I work on them for a long, long time, but it's that first
impetus. I keep notebooks and write down things that come to me
throughout the day, try to always look at things in a way as if
it were material for work that I'd like to do. It makes life a lot
more interesting to look at it that way.
odd thing that happened was, I came home and was hanging up my coat
while the television was on, and my two little ones, three and seven,
were standing there watching people holding hands and jumping off
the building. And I didn't even see that imageI still have
not seen that imagebut they did. And that was one that they
asked me about repeatedly, over and over again. And my three-year-old
went through the process of building Duplo towers and, of course,
flying the airplane into them a number of times. So, it was overwhelming.
And the media coverage wasI don't know, I was riveted to it.
I couldn't not look or not listen, and so I immersed myself in it
for several days. It was hard to pull out, actually, at some point.
house that I grew up in goes up three floors and from the third
floor, out the window I could always see the Empire State Building.
And then when I was in high school, these other towers started coming
up, and so from my room up there, I always saw the World Trade Center.
It's going to be strange to look out that window and not see it.
I can't imagine driving on Route 3 in north Jersey there and not
seeing the Twin Towers. So, there's certainly a visual connection
with just the landscape of home.
have any friends or relatives, but there were two brothers from
my high school that graduated a year and two years after me that
both died when the building came down. So, there's enough of a connection
to take it very personally.
suddenly wanted to immerse myself in all things New York. I get
the Sunday Times because I couldn't manage a daily paper.
But I wanted to read every corner of the paper in a way that I hadn't
before. It wasn't where I lived, but I certainly went there
often and spent a lot of time there. I worked in the City, and I
very much feel like it's my city in some ways, and so that really
came on strong.
to read every one of the little "Portraits in Grief" that
were appearing in the paperwhen it first started, especially.
I wanted to read all the details of them. It seemed like that would
be the least I could do to help, to read about these peoplethat
that would be something. That was my offering. I couldn't do other
things, but at least I could read about who they were. And so it
became very important to do that, and I looked forward to doing
it. And I'd wait until everybody was in bed, so that I could really
take my time. And of course, I'd cry while reading through these
repeatedly. But I had to do it. And I think that was a cleansing
think that distrustfulness, I suppose, that sort of came out of
the Watergate scandal, and some of the issues of the Vietnam War,
that certainly carries through to adulthood. Maybe it doesn't for
everyone in my generation, but it certainly does for me. It's made
me more skeptical. And also, having traveled extensively outside
the United States, and visiting the Soviet Union when it was still
the Soviet Union, and seeing America through others' eyesI
have recognized that we're not perceived as we perceive ourselves.
And so I'm concerned; I'm concerned. Certainly, I have strong feelings
for what America is, but I'm not always sure that we are representing
that in the best possible way, and so I am concerned.