Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Novelist Stacey D'Erasmo's recent piece, Flicked Aside by the Universe, is one of the most thoughtful and beautifully written meditations on life after September 11th (and the tsunami and Katrina) that I've come across. Here's a taste:

Two weeks after the disastrous 2004 election, a friend and I were talking about the creeping sense that something else, something we couldn't quite articulate, was larger and even more wrong than the immediate political situation. "I just keep worrying," she said, "about the aquifer."

By which I think she meant not only the literal aquifer, but some force or element that subtends the very ground we walk on. I don't mean God, or even gods. I'm not sure what I mean yet, honestly, as a writer or just as a person, that the customary frame of reality has broken, broken open, over the past four years, that it continues to break. I don't know yet how it will change my work or what other people write or draw or make, this shift in our consciousness of scale. I just know that suddenly, or what seems like suddenly -- now, anyway, since 2001, since water swallowed a good part of the Pacific Rim, since the lights went out all the way to Canada, since New Orleans has become a toxic ghost town, one is more likely to imagine that: the aquifer. Oneself, so much smaller, standing above it, washing dishes, reading, walking. That the aquifer has a life that may or may not include you.

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