08 September 2011

The Stories of 11 September 2001

In the posts below I, really we, suggest ways in which you can get your students thinking and writing about September 11th, and history, in ways which help them understand how their world is constructed.
9/11 in photographs, a Guardian multimedia piece
There are so many stories, and so many sources. Two newspapers stand out in collections your students can use. The Guardian's 9/11 Decade Archive is remarkable in its global and emotional breadth. The New York Times Learning Network has assembled many fabulous resources and ideas. Of particular interest for older students is the Guardian's short fiction project.

I believe in storytelling. I believe in helping students to become storytellers and story hearers. I believe in helping students understand why people tell stories, and how people tell stories. Because I believe that there are two things which truly make us human, our use of tools, and our ability to tell, understand, and appreciate stories.

So, with that in mind, here are links to the stories I have written about 9/11 and the World Trade Center. They are stories which struggle to say what I want say - and that struggle to find your words through multiple attempts is something I would hope you will let your students experience with their writing, their storytelling.

Morning Arrivals
(a World Trade Center very new and still quite empty, with artists lofts filling some of the space)
The Beach (in adolescence we experience spaces differently, and that is a good thing)
A River Runs Through It (trying to map lost places)
March Seventeenth (terrorism comes to New York, but life is a personal thing)
September 11, 2001: In Moments (trying to capture chaos in words)
Finding Ends (11/19/2001) (what is left after everything has happened)

But there is one more story. I had a friend. When we met I was a New York City cop and he was a busboy at Windows on the World on the 107th floor of One World Trade Center. He was a quiet guy who loved New York in every way. We were just about the same age, and yet, our histories were so incredibly different. And sometimes, late, late at night, we'd climb the stairs from that restaurant's kitchen up to the roof. Two World Trade Center had the observation deck, but this was just a roof anchoring a massive broadcast antenna which still made this the World's Tallest Building. And we'd lie there on the roof, suspended between the city and the stars, and we'd tell stories.

Later, I moved away but he stayed. Became a waiter. And was at work that morning.

- Ira Socol

1 comment:

Brittany Enright said...

Thank you for sharing your stories about September 11. I agree that people can heal when they are given the opportunity to express how they really feel about certain events that have occurred. It does not do a person any good to keep how they feel bottled up. I really hope that educators take your advice to discuss or give students the opportunity to voice how they feel about September 11. I remember that I was in fifth grade when the attack took place. We were let out of school early, but the teachers would not tell us why we had an early dismissal. Our school thought that it would be best for our parents to tell us what happened, since it was such big news. The next time we went to school, our teachers talked with us about how we were handling what had happened. I think it was very helpful for us to have the opportunity to talk about how we coping with the events. I do not think it would have been beneficial if we were not allowed to talk about the event just because it was upsetting. We can not fix problems if we ignore them, and the things that are most difficult to talk about are usually the things that need to be talked about the most. In my future classroom, I hope to provide my student's the opportunity to express how they feel about difficult situations. I hope to provide opportunities for my students to heal if or when difficult events happen in life.