"[This book] embodies the Buddhist wisdom about change, life, and the
world more than anything written after the events of that day."
Robert Stone

« Previous · Home · Next »

June 14, 2009


From Janice Abarbanel
Portland, Maine...

Dear David,

My husband Neil and I were recently sitting in the kitchen of the Berlin (Germany) flat we were renting for the month of February. (Our older son is a jazz musician there and has lived in Berlin for 8 years, motivating us to make longer visits to see him). On the kitchen wall was a color postcard of Thomas Hoepker's 9/11 Brooklyn scene. When we returned to Maine, I Googled Hoepker's name and then went to buy your book.

Thank you for creating such a powerful integration of history, images, and access to the American and world experiences of those and future days.

Here's a bit more of our story and how it links with your book: Neil and I left Maine in 1997 to volunteer with the US Peace Corps in Romania -- we were some of the first mid-lifers to join up. We also spent a significant amount of time in Budapest, Hungary. When we returned, Neil had some job opportunities in Washington DC and, once there (we'd lived there at an earlier time in our careers), I re-started my clinical psychology practice.

So, on 9/11, we were impacted in particular by the Pentagon crash, and perhaps more importantly by the incessant talking heads of our (corrupt) government, followed by the anthrax attacks, and, a year later, the sniper experience [throughout the Washington, D.C. area]-- all of these traumas found their way in one way or another into my private practice.

I should say that my first knowledge of the planes going into the World Trade Center towers was auditory -- through a phone message. It was 8 hours later that I actually saw some of images you bring together in the book. The visuals have such a profound impact on trauma -- indeed there's a focused impact on the right hemisphere, the non-verbal part of our brains.

After awhile, I found myself averting my gaze to the repeated, looping TV images during the week (and months) following 9/11, and, though drawn to the Hoepker image, I was somewhat reluctant to read your book, but I am so glad that I did. You were able to create a moving and compelling story about people -- creating narratives and following the images so that 'sense is made' -- so much a part of healing and recovery. The art therapy you described also enters that process.

So, thank you. I'm very glad to have found your book through an image on a kitchen wall in Berlin -- a city of multiple traumas, but one that has started its re-birth with a high level of consciousness about its history.

Photo (c) Copyright: Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):