Or at least put it to music...
Even now it is the most vivid memory of my life, the entire day, a memory that stands out clearer than even the birth of my children. The quiet of that day, the deep blue sky and warm early-September sun, the shocked zombie faces of drivers as we all moved inexorably home, everything moving a half-step slower than usual. All of it firmly imprinted in my mind so deeply that if (God forbid) I should ever slip into dementia and confuse my children with high-school pals, I'll still recall the slow, calm realization of the horror that day.
As I look back on that day, music is not a part of that moment. However, what I now feel about that moment is ineffable without music; if my kids asked me what happened that day, I'd put on a disk and set them down and still feel lost, hopefully my music expressing what the still zombie-like heart cannot say. How do you instill in someone else the essence of that locked singularity, time and space immediately permanent when it registered to you that people were leaping, live on TV, to inevitable deaths meant to escape inevitable death by being burned alive? How can you transmit that totality when it's one of a thousand other attrocities sterilized (and sensationalized) by cable channel chatter? My children will never truly know what goes on in my heart, they will never see the movie that replays again and again in my mind.
If you remember those stills and still watch the movie in your mind, that moment and those moments, see if you can gleen a soundtrack from your ruminations. Music that reflects your fear, your sadness, your rage, your confusion, your sympathy for the victims and their families, your sense of what the fuck or what the fuck is it now? Maybe it's Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?" or Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog"; maybe you recall songs that were big for you and you were dying to hear but every radio was full of dark, ugly news; maybe certain songs spoke to you then but other songs speak louder to you now. Things you might have not been able to express at the time but seem clear through the big glass of whiskey called Time.
For myself, my mix will no doubt express a number of emotions, many contradictory, some arising from my love of being American while others angry at the direction my country has taken since that horrible, fateful day. Some of you will no doubt mix disks of outrage (at the attackers or our government), some of you will mix disks screaming for some sanity (everywhere, everywhere), some of you will throw music down saying "THIS is the answer, motherfuckers!" and some of you will mix disks that defy sense or sensibility. We're not here to judge, we're here to accept each other's expression of survival or doom or disgust that there's still a ton of duct tape in the basement.
Use this mix as a therapeutic exercise. As a country I think the US suffered from collective PTSD (vivid memory being a feature of that) and maybe a little group therapy is needed to put things in perspective and help us move foreward. Whatever it is we're doing as country isn't working. If the highjacker's intent was to put us Americans at each other's throats, they've succeeded.
- Burn your disk in a format that can be played on any OLD SKOOL CD player. Meaning no MP3s or whacky-ass IPod format.
- You have until August 23rd to sign up; express your intentions in comments AND email (send me your information: your URL and postal address - that includes you folks who have played before). You have to do BOTH, OK?!? Just commenting or just emailing me won't do it. I need you in the comments to let everyone know you're in and mixing, I need you to email me so I don't have to hunt down your info. My email is over on the left; if you can't find it, you're not smart enough to play, sorry.
- On September 1st, I'll email you the postal address of the person you're to send your mix to; you'll use a postal address I provide to mask your identity.
- On September 4th, mail your disk WITHOUT THE SONG LIST: leave your recipient guessing what the songs are on your mix. Better yet, if you know how to do it, erase the track information before you burn your disk.
- On September 10th, I'll post the URLs of everyone participating.
- Post your song list on your blog on September 11th.
- If you're going to comment on the mix you received, don't be a prick - focus on the fact that someone went to the trouble to send you a mix, be polite with your thanks and don't try to impress us with how much of an insufferable music snob you think you are. Play nice - no one likes an inconsiderate asshole, asshole, and no one cares how your delicate tastes were violated. Be gracious, for God's sake, and give us the impression that you weren't raised by feral dogs.
- For those of you who don't have a blog but would still like to play,
you may still participate; I or one of my friends will post your list, so just let me know (see #2 above).
I know this isn't the happiest theme for a mix but I think it's an act of courage to put your feelings on disk (though fair enough if those feelings are to mixed to.. well, you get the point). Courage is what was called for after 9/11/2001 - let's hear yours.