In Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found, I make much of an accidental intersection: the afternoon of the day day Lewis performed at the Star-Club, the Beatles were running around—chased around, more accurately—London streets and alleys filming the iconic opening scenes to A Hard Day's Night. One collective constellation rocketing upward, another solo star retreating with considerably fewer witnesses. I'm keen on such happy accidents that history provides, but as a writer I'm skeptical of them, resisting the urge to read more into randomness than there might be. As an autobiographical writer, this temptation to hear conversations among disparate moments has to be especially warded off, guarded against as wishful thinking.
The stories that really matter—the memories that we must listen to and not forget—aren't those who witnessed awful spectacle from afar, although those matter, too, as much as those of the nearly 3,000 who perished, and the encircled stories of their families and loved ones. Exponentially, the stories matter less as that circle widens. And yet we can't help but tell them, looking for intersections between ourselves afar and those who suffered, who vanished, in the center.