The Opposite of War

I took these photos when my grade school class took a field trip to The World Trade Center in 1978. It

Now I live in the DFW area, but on September 11, 2001, I was living in northern New Jersey. And everyone I knew was directly affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center that day. So many memories.

Today I am thinking of just one–about my friend Cindy. Like me, Cindy lived about 40 minutes from Manhattan (but north, in New York). I first got to know her as a frequent contributor to the art stamping magazine I edited. By the time we talked on September 12th, we had become close friends. That day, in her pain and anger, she told me, “I’m going into my studio. I need to make something.”

I was still dazed; I could hardly accept what happened. And she was talking about art.

Later, I thought I understood. Sometimes making art is what we need to work though a situation that is difficult, or even impossible, to understand. We paint or draw or cut and paste; and while our hands move, wheels in our brains turn, too; and hopefully wind themselves up to a better place.

Other times it is a way to reach out to others. When we seek human connection to assuage fears and confusion, we offer whatever we have.

Now I know these things.

I will probably work in my art journal this weekend. It may or may not have anything to do with this ten-year anniversary. But either way, I’ll be thinking of the line Mark sings in the musical RENT: “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.”

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8 thoughts on “The Opposite of War

  1. Somewhere, I have similar photos from the very same field trip. I went back to the WTC in December of 1998, taking my “little brother” for the first time (he was 19). We couldn’t go on the roof because it was too windy. But we purchased a star or named a constellation or perhaps we just shot a message out to space in memory of our Grandfather who had passed just a few days before. That is my last memory of the Twin Towers. Less than 3 years the landscape would be changed, literally and figuratively.

    I love your thoughts on art; I love your idea of your art being an offering to the human connection. May you always create and share your gifts Laura, may you always find sanctuary in them. xo

  2. Somewhere, I have similar photos from the very same field trip. I went back to the WTC in December of 1998, taking my “little brother” for the first time (he was 19). We couldn’t go on the roof because it was too windy. But we purchased a star or named a constellation or perhaps we just shot a message out to space in memory of our Grandfather who had passed just a few days before. That is my last memory of the Twin Towers. Less than 3 years the landscape would be changed, literally and figuratively.

    I love your thoughts on art; I love your idea of your art being an offering to the human connection. May you always create and share your gifts Laura, may you always find sanctuary in them. xo

    • Hi Jenn–You are one of very few people I am still connected to that share so many of the same school-age memories. I love that! Sounds like your last trip to the Twin Towers was a meaningful one. I am glad.

  3. So eerie and unbelievable. I cannot believe that horrific day even happened. I just posted on 9-11 as well… but I do not have photographs of the setting… yours are very powerful. Great post! Although, tragic 😦

    • I am headed to read your post; I just wanted to thank you for your comment. Somewhere in my “stuff” I have photos that my dad took as they were building the Towers. I could not locate them before this weekend; and maybe that is best. They feel very, very eerie.

  4. This is a great post Laura. I agree with what you said about working through art to get through a situation that is difficult or impossible to understand. there are times where i’ll be creating for days and days due to stress and frustration and i’m glad to have that. I have other vices but so glad that art it one of them rather than reaching for a cigarette or a drink(just for example)…I lived and worked in Manhattan for almost ten years. And for seven of those years, right up until ’00, my office was two blocks north of the trade center. so close so that going there was an integral part of our days and week.most lunches were bought down in the mall area, my colleagues and I would have our lunch time ‘stretch your leg’ walks in and around the plaza,visit our clients in the towers, I run over there and sit to sneak my once-a-day cigarette habit and people watch…and so on. I was at home with my newborn son that day watching in complete horror to what was happening and was so concerned for all those that I knew. thankfully everyone I knew was safe but words can’t explain what I felt that day watching it all on television and seeing what was happening.I still can’t believe it happened. At the same time I was worried sick for my husband working in the Empire State building. I was certain that was going to be hit next.I was downtown for business about three years ago but I couldn’t get myself to walk the extra few blocks. Just looking up to the sky and not seeing those familiar towers took the wind out of me. Laura,I could go on and on and i could write ackwardly for another ten paragraphs about how I feel but putting paint to paper would serve me better. Thank you for reminding me of that today.

    • Hello Fran– And thanks for sharing memories that must be so painful! I too remember going into Manhattan just a few months after it all happened and feeling like a constellation had fallen out of the sky without the Towers there. I am glad to know everyone you knew was safe. Still–we all lost so much!

      Where would we be without our art?

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