WHEN my husband and I went to bed on Sept. 11, our house on Duane Street, just six blocks from the World Trade Center, was in total darkness. We felt as if we were in a war zone. I said to him that I felt how futile my artmaking seemed right now: how could balancing shapes with line and color have any meaning or be of any use to anyone? Bob is a poet, and I felt that words were the only way all these feelings that were surfacing could be adequately expressed.

The next morning I made myself go into my studio and work, because however futile it may be, it's what I do, and all I can do. I worked with no light -- only the daylight and smoke filtering through my studio windows -- until I couldn't see properly anymore. I played the most beautiful music I have -- Berlioz's ''Harold in Italy'' -- and I felt lucky beyond words to be able to be in my studio balancing shapes with line and color.

A few days ago I made myself go into the street, where I ran into two friends, one a writer, the other a sculptor. They were talking about a show going up in Chelsea -- photographs that depict simulated images of people jumping from buildings. One person thought this was offensive. The other said: ''The work is there; it was done before all this. It exists.''

I don't know where I stand on this. A good deal of art is going to seem silly and inconsequential now, and so will a lot of artists, I suppose. I cling to my belief in art as a way for us to try to understand our real situation in life, which is a condition of not knowing what is coming around the next corner.
I don't know what will happen to my career or to the art business. I think that perhaps things will slow down and that it may be good for things to slow down and get quieter so that we can all think and reflect. Maybe there is no understanding, but there is opening yourself and trying to continue to grow and hope.