Scar Tissue: 1 Crime. 2 Writers. 18 Years.
On August 7, 1994, a deranged man brutally stabbed seven people in a New Haven cafe. Award-winning writers Emily Bernard and Bruce Shapiro, both critically injured that night, pondered the attack in essays written nearly two decades apart.
Scar Tissue, emily bernard
"I have been telling this story for years, but telling is a different animal from writing. In the telling and retelling, I have shaped a version of it, one that fits neatly in my hand, something to pull out of my pocket at will, to display, and to tuck away when I’m ready, like a shell or a stone or a molded piece of clay. The story that I have honed over the years is as neat as my scar; it is smooth, and tender, and conceals more than it reveals."
Scar Tissue appeared in the summer 2012 edition of This American Scholar.
ONE VIOLENT CRIME, Bruce Shapiro
"Alone in my home I am staring at the television screen and shouting. On the evening local news I have unexpectedly encountered video footage, several months old, of myself writhing on an ambulance gurney, bright green shirt open and drenched with blood, skin pale, knee raised, trying desperately and with utter futility to find relief from pain."
One Violent Crime appeared in The Nation on April 3, 1995.
Below is their conversation about crime, memory, and the long shadow of violence, moderated by Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia Journalism School.