Maya Lin is an artist/architect who lives in New York City. The essay in this issue is drawn from her book Boundaries, just published by Simon and Schuster. (November 2000)

IN THE REVIEW

Making the Memorial

I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth, opening it up, an initial violence and pain that in time would heal. The grass would grow back, but the initial cut would remain a pure flat surface in the earth with a polished, mirrored surface, much like the surface on a geode when you cut it and polish the edge. The need for the names to be on the memorial would become the memorial; there was no need to embellish the design further. The people and their names would allow everyone to respond and remember.