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This 9/11 anniversary storytelling ritual reflects a particularly human requirement that being (existence) occasionally be invigorated by a dialectal focused on catastrophe, as if the intensity of daily existence has for too long been leveled by routine, and by recorded history itself, by what Marcel Proust calls “voluntary memory” and what Virginia Woolf names the “cotton wool” of biography.
Highly individualized recollections about the morning of September 11, 2001 recapture being alive as ontological depth and precarious contingency.
Though she was not there with me, I had the television on as if she were.
(Martha Stewart’s homemaking show was on, if I recall the morning correctly.) The parade of advertisements and infotainment were incongruous with the otherwise unobtrusive hours following a peaceful night’s sleep.
I was no longer present to an immediate, surrounding existence.
I was confounded before a screen, warding off death from afar, displaced from the real by the imaginary–the what-was and the what-will-be determined by a single office building on fire many miles from where I was living.
Later that day, after visiting family and absorbing the arbitrated, ever evolving media storylines — about box cutters and Florida flight schools and Vice President Dick Cheney in a bunker and a meta-narrative about How This Changes Everything — I returned to my cats curled on chair cushions sleeping peacefully in fetal positions.
Those coworkers were fatefully told by building management that the fire in the opposite tower was not cause to evacuate their own offices.Narratives of puritanical earnestness and commercially driven busyness that engulf the weekday in a constant, low-key alarm had yet to overtake a subconscious animal-like wakefulness in which I was immersed.This level of disclosure is usually as far as I go in recounting my morning of 9/11 story.Title in red and black; translation notes in red; initials Printed in italic type"The whole edition consists of two hundred and thirty numbered copies for sale on hand made Maillol-Kessler paper with the watermark of the Cranach Press, and signed by the translators; and eight numbered copies on vellum for sale with hand-gilded initials, signed by the translators"--Colophon. Tim Keane, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, New York, USA Download PDF Version I am ashamed of almost always tending toward a gesture of shame when appearing naked before what one calls an animal, a cat, for example, a seeing animal naked down to its hair… I Recalling the individualized past through the prism of collectively witnessed cataclysms might compensate us for the constant reduction in the density of our existences.