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(2011-09-28 17:07:40)


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For the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we asked New Yorker contributors to look back on how their work, and their lives, were changed. Here areSusan Orlean’sanswers.



1. What were you thinking about, or working on, the day the attacks occurred?



I was getting ready for my wedding, which was scheduled for that Saturday. My most urgent concern that morning was to figure out if I could get my shoes dyed to match my dress in time for the ceremony. We had also not yet gotten our marriage license, so we were trying to figure out how to squeeze that in with all our other wedding plans. My boyfriend lived in Boston and wasn’t coming to New York until the Thursday before the wedding. At least fifty or sixty of our guests were going to be flying in to the city that week. I was the typical anxious bride, distracted by the dozens of tiny details that go into planning an event.



I was listening to the news while dialing the shoe-repair shop and hung up as soon as I heard of the first plane hitting the tower. My boyfriend used to work in the World Trade Center, and I called him to tell him what I had heard, and he was in shock; he could picture being in the building vividly. After the second plane hit and the enormity of the event was made clear, we decided to postpone our wedding and set out to contact all two hundred guests. We had no idea when we would reschedule; it felt as if the world were ending, so it was hard to imagine a time when you would do something as optimistic and celebratory as have a wedding. We ended up getting married that November.



2. Did 9/11 change your work plans?



No, although for a while I couldn’t imagine writing a humorous story or a casual piece; everything seemed so urgent and dire that I found it hard to justify writing anything other than stories about 9/11.



3. Are there places you’ve gone, or people you’ve met, that you wouldn’t have if not for 9/11? Are you different than you might have been?



I immediately felt a new intimacy with my neighbors, whom I had known only casually before. I was alone, since my boyfriend was stuck in Boston for the next several days—travel into the city was so restricted—and I was incredibly upset by what was going on, and my neighbors took me in and became, for that time, my family. We watched the news together for hours, and I slept over that first night just because I didn’t want to be alone. I can’t remember a public event that filled me with more deep sadness and despair. The political assassinations that occurred when I was a kid upset me, but didn’t have that same effect because I was too young.



4. Is New York a different city for you now?



For a long time, it did seem like a different city—wary and broken and somber. But New York’s resilience and constant reinvention eventually took over, and the city went back to seeming like itself. Since 9/11 the whole world is different, and the casualness that existed before has disappeared everywhere, and obviously from New York. But the character of the city feels the same as it ever did.



5. Is there one image or scene that evokes that day for you?



I’m afraid I will never erase the image that I saw, on live TV, of the second plane hitting the tower. That moment, the idea of it as a terrible accident dissolved, and the horror of what was really happening rose up.



6. What piece of work to emerge from 9/11 by another writer has stayed with you the most?



Art Spiegelman’s cover for the magazine was a perfect evocation of everything that I felt that day. And Lawrence Wright’s astonishing book, “The Looming Tower,” is the most compelling piece of reporting I’ve ever read on the subject and on almost any subject.

阿特 斯皮格曼为纽约客画的封面完全能唤起我对那天的所有记忆。还有劳伦斯撰写的一部惊人著作《海市蜃楼》,它是我所读过的与九一一事件这个主题相关的,甚至是所有的主题著作中最能引起强烈反响的报道。







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