I was devastated by the Nice attacks. I don't know if it was because this has already been such a difficult year in world events, or because I was just there recently and so know the place, or because of their particularly gruesome nature, but I just can't find any words to say to myself or to anyone else about them.
Thankfully, we don't always have to say things. As I tried to make clear in this talk on Poetry and the Art of Suffering, one of the key functions of art is to do the thinking for us when we can't think straight, to order our feelings when all is disorder. It's the only thing that has helped me through this awful week.
The day after the attacks, my wife was set to have rehearsal for her upcoming Romeo and Juliet at City Opera Ballet. Instead, they improvised movement in response to the Bastille tragedy. Nothing was scripted: the props in the dancers' hands are just what happened to be in our trunk. The tube in the background just happened to be sitting in the studio as a prop for another show. They just moved. She set up a camera to record the 40+ minutes of dancing but the battery died after 17.
When she came home, I spent the day cutting together this little video of their work that seemed like a gift, to me, to France, to each other. It's a single take and a single angle, but working with these images, movements, and emotions has helped. Usually, I just well up with tears seeing these bodies holding each other, but that seems to help too.
Anyway, I know it doesn't do anything, but here it is: a gift for the grieving.