Fear & Trembling

Very worth reading: Stacey D'Erasmo’s essay “Flicked aside by the universe: 9/11, the tsunami and Katrina have permanently altered our sense of scale,” published today at Salon. From the piece:

“It’s so basic, walking. So mundane a movement and, at the same time, so indicative of the epic moment we find ourselves in. Odysseus walked. The Trojans walked. The Israelites walked. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have become accustomed to images of people in ragged groups walking through destroyed landscapes infinitely bigger than themselves, to images of people dragging what they can carry out of the ruins. We have also become accustomed to images of people falling from unimaginable heights and people clinging to trees or rooftops as water covers the world. To the dead floating, arms and legs spread, through the streets. They look so small. So mortal. Forked creatures, clinging to tree branches and chimneys, or stumbling out of the blast, faces white with ash.

A cousin of mine who was traveling in Indonesia when the tsunami hit e-mailed that after he had been stripped bare by the force of the water, he tied found rags to his feet to begin walking toward the hospital. Imagine that: one young man walking across the surface of a planet that was still ringing miles beneath him because of the impact of the wave.”

Last year I was sent a review copy of D'Erasmo’s novel “The Seahorse Year,” but I passed it along to a contributing writer. His review is here.