The Breakfast Table

A Redemptive Act

Dear John,

I awoke this morning and attacked my play with a vengeance. A stabbing need to create something out of this madness. To stand Art up in the face of it. Maybe it’s a redemptive act. Maybe it’s this belief in the power of art to construct, to inform us of the nobility of our humanity, to bring us closer to our kinship with the gods, and, armed and armored thus, through will and daring, bring about an increase in our humanity. Anyway I’m half a league onward and trying to maintain a semblance of normality through this roller coaster of emotions.


The political will of this country is without precedent, at least in modern times. You would, I guess, have to go back to the Roman or British empires to find its equal. It is a will that is well-earned and exercised to maintain a climate of prosperity and provide Americans with the freedoms to pursue their own individual happiness. It is not faultless. And it was not shattered by yesterday’s devastation. I believe it became stronger by its encounter with outrage. What concerns me now is its most immediate expression and that it not proceed from the point of outrage. I want to look back 10 years hence and see an America we can all be proud of. I suggest we forgo any military action against a handful of elusive and destructive terrorists and use our resources, and the unconquerable will of the American people, to rebuild the World Trade Center on the exact spot (Phoenix rising from the ashes) as a testament to the resiliency of the American spirit. This, to my mind, would be the truly heroic thing to do.

(Am I correct that Britain rebuilt Parliament during World War II?)

I’m here.