Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wondering, slightly off-topic

If anybody is still here, and on the off chance you still want to know where the hell I've been, I'll tell you. I spent the last day and a half same place most you likely did-- glued to screens and speakers, catching up on details and coverage. (Where I've been for months before that is a separate question, one I keep meaning to address in something other than a sidetracky note in parenthesis.)

As you undoubtedly know, among the coverage from the Pentagon and from Pakistan, and from the White House, there is coverage from Ground Zero and from many a studio where family members of those who perished on September 11th have come to answer questions about How They Are Feeling Now.

A digression, or a sidetrack, if you will. About two and a half years ago Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination started making rounds in our little corner of the blogosphere, and so did the lines from the book that many of us wanted on t-shirts (or carved carefully and lovingly into rotten tomatoes conveniently available to us any time the urge to throw one, or at the very least the line on it, at the clueless/malevolent overtook us). One of those lines, one quoted frequently and with gusto by many a babylost mother was "closure is bullshit."

Back to present day. I notice one persistent theme in the coverage. Every time a relative or a friend of a 9/11 victim is interviewed, no matter the outlet, there is always that ridiculous question-- "does this provide closure for you?"

And so, though I know that is not the main thrust in the events that have been unfolding around the world since early hours of Monday morning Pakistan time (not entirely surprising, this, as I do tend to, from time to time, you know, digress... wait, where was I? oh, yes-- not entirely the central point, but...) I wonder whether maybe, just maybe, this time it will finally sink in.

Because in an inspiring display of dignity (and honestly, I find myself offended for these people every time they are asked about this), every single relative that I've seen or heard has said approximately what Elizabeth wrote, though in language more suited for mass media,-- there is no closure, there is no such thing, it doesn't exist, he/she/they are still dead, and we still miss them and have to live without them.

Closure is a convenient stamp. It is a useful plot device, and it is a great marker for those unaffected who want those affected to be OK-- what you need is to get closure and move on. I hope it will sink in, but I know it's unlikely. The allure of simple explanations and carefully wrapped up stories is too strong, and we're only human. And yet, knowing full well that I am pretty much hollering into the wind, I want to echo Lee Ielpi, father of Jonathan, firefighter who perished on 9/11, as quoted in the NYTimes this morning: "No closure. That word should be stricken from the English language."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Almost here

Almost here. That's both it, another anniversary, and me. For me, that's about this place. The place I miss and want to inhabit again. The intensity varies through time, from burning to simmering, but it's always there. Always, despite the months and months of terrible neglect. I see the weeds all around, and I don't expect anyone to still be wondering by, looking for me. So I know it's not about the audience. It's about me. I still want to be here, still need to be here.

A few months ago now (ouch, already?), I told a couple of bloggers I met for the first time that night (hi, gals, if any of you still have this place in the reader) that my first post back would be a "how do you know you are still a blogger?" and would essentially boil down to "if you are constantly composing posts in your head, you're it." And I am. So I guess I am.

Last calendar year deserves a post all its own, and it will probably get one, sometime next week. This past month, January. Well, it should've gotten a small stable of posts, but except for the one I had on Glow earlier, this is it so far.

But what's there to say, this fourth time around? I miss him. Still, always. In some ways that are now familiar, and in some ways that are new and sharper for it. Thoughtless things people say can still get me. Sometimes in a new way. The one that happened earlier in the fall, but then crept back into my head and heart to mess with both earlier this month, was about how insignificant A is to others. It hurts, and it hurts worse for the casual manner in which she did it. And yet, as with other things, once I dissected that enough to understand what in it was so hurtful, it receded. These things always do. The one that doesn't is the simplest and the most basic of them all-- he is not here. He will never be here.

Four years ago I was still just a pregnant woman.