07 August 2005

A little more of the story: 11 Sept 2001

Sadly, the 11 Sept 2001 episode isn't an Ashes, Paper & Beans that I have on CD or cassette. The first show recorded direct to CD was in Nov 2001. Sometimes the extra technology wasn't available, or my getting-it-together just didn't happen . . . At least I wrote a little about that morning two years later in one of the Casemate Poems.

Here's a little more of the story: I had been out doing Alt event postering with the publisher when we decided to go to O'Scary's pub/restaraunt for their all-day steak & eggs breakfast special. There, live on television, I saw the first tower on fire, watched a plane fly into the second World Trade Centre tower, watched the fall of the towers. John Stiles, author, 2002

John Stiles, then living in Toronto and on tour for his Insolent Boy (Isomniac Press) novel came into Fredericton on the overnight bus from Montréal.

When he telephoned late morning to say he had arrived, I could tell that he didn't yet know what had really happened in New York. He said there were people in the bus terminal saying things that didn't make sense [but that is so often the case these days—intercity bus being the transit mode for those not quite all together]. I suggested that he get himself infront of a television real quick (I didn't have one at home at the time). Seeing footage of what had transpired that morming—like seeing footage of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—would allow better comprehension of a world-changing event.

When we got together that evening at CHSR to do the live radio broadcast I knew that it was going to be incredibly difficult to do an interview about the novel. That difficulty became the starting point. John and I talked about the attack in New York, how we had experienced it and how it related to us (I had lived a five minute walk north of the World Trade Centre). How do we talk about fiction and art in the face of events like this attack? Slowly the interview morphed through a discussion of the role of the artist in society and how artists can examine and explore the horrific and through art create something that might enable other people to approach and acknowledge, accept and even deal/cope with the unspeakable. By the end of the hour-long show John and I were discussing his novel and Maritimes author tour.

Afterwards, we both felt that we'd pulled a good interview out of a pretty impossible situation.

The following year, at the BookExpo Canada tradeshow in Toronto, a woman approached me to ask if I was the Joe Blades who had interviewed John Stiles on 9-11. She had listened to us on CHSR's internet broadcast.


Unknown said...

Too bad it's not on tape, I would've liked to have heard it. But in a way it's more interesting to have it left to memory.

Joe Blades said...

Ah, memory. Irememberwhen I had a memory . . . or was that when youknowwho did youknowwhat to thatotherperson and iwasaware but notpartyto . . . whatwasthat?

Unknown said...

Exactly. Evolution of the word. Fun stuff.