So December 8, 1980 – anyone remember? I was already in bed when I got the news, via my sister calling from a bar, that John Lennon was dead – murdered.
Sometimes I look back and think that was the line. December 7th I was a child. December 9th I was an adult. I think my whole life can be divided up into a kind of before and after game. Before I had my daughter, and after. Before I met my husband, and after. Before I wrote my first screenplay, and after. Before 9/11 and after. Before my dad died, and after. Before I was one person, after I am someone else.
This comes from storytelling. In every good story the trajectory is reformed after some random or not so random event. Sometimes, especially in good stories, it’s a choice. Sometimes it’s just a coincidence. Often it’s a mistake.
In one of my current projects, my still unfinished 2011 NaNoWriMo manuscript, my main character obsesses about what might have happened had she only thought to latch a bathroom door. For her there is life before she didn’t lock the door and life after, altered forever.
I guess this is a turning point? To me that’s a trite way of defining it. I suppose because I am quite convinced by the multiverse theory, a turning point I view now as more of a creation point. That choice, that mistake, that incident creates a whole new universe.
Bang! Mark Chapman shoots John Lennon dead, and our universe is born. Click. He doesn’t shoot him. And that creates another universe. Anyway, all I know is that every year I wish I could just visit that other universe, even for a day.
One thought on “Imagine, December 8th again…”
And on December 7, Pearl Harbor happened, pulling the USA into World War II.
There are certain dates that have become traumatic for the cultural memory. They mean different things to different people, but they’ve become days that will “live in infamy” on a personal, national, or international level.
There’s also the question that comes up every year of how to remember and memorialize while moving on and healing. A 9/11 documentary with footage from the event, a few years later: too soon? Too traumatic for survivors? Or is it a way to memorialize and help others understand?
Gosh, talk about “before” and “after.” My childhood and the rest of my life has been to no small extent defined by “before 9/11” and “after 9/11.” This post is very true.