Death And Imagination

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2012 at 9:00 am

There’s this post online called We, The Web Kids, and I think it’s a really important essay; I think it marks a turning point in the way our culture exists, and an exciting view of the future, and I think everyone with an interest in digital culture should read it, and it also scares the everloving shit out of me.

I haven’t been able to finish it, it unsettles me so badly. It’s a vastly important statement of the watershed that the internet established and a good explanation of the generation gap that is forming, and will continue to form, and I think my reaction to it is part of that — I’ve seen this reaction before from my elders, usually accompanied by scorn and denigration (the old pixel-stained technopeasant essay is a particularly good example of the breed; I did an essay in reaction here). I’m not lashing out against it because I think it’s true, and having been on the frontlines during the “internet is evil” bad old days, I can identify that now I’m on the elder side of the equation and need to be the guide, not the bully.

But yeah, it scares me, because it’s too big to be easily identified and too complex to be controlled, and as I said in my essay, well, writers like control.

And it makes me feel old. The older I get the scarier that feeling is. I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately — not contemplating it, thankfully, I think those days are done forever — but just considering what it means, and the reality that it’s going to happen to me. It’s not constant or anything, it’s just something I think about in my spare time (I’m trying to have as little spare time as possible) and I’m hoping it’s just a phase.

I really do not want to die, which is perhaps egotistical, but I’m me, I think I’m allowed to worry about me dying. I think about what it’s going to be like to go to sleep and just not wake up. I mean, hopefully I’ll be a hundred and fifty and go peacefully, but who knows.

I have a vivid imagination and I try not to think about dying because my imagination makes it real enough that just picturing it makes me twitchy and anxious; I’ve had dreams about getting the death penalty and waiting in a cell to die, and they usually stick with me for a day or two before they fade. Most of the time I love my imagination and I love that I can ditch out on reality whenever it gets boring, but this is not the place I want to ditch reality for. There’s a reason I choose my reading material carefully; my imagination makes it very real, and that’s not always something I can pull back from when I want to.

I don’t write my books out of a need for immortality. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to be immortal, bring it on, but I’m not going to grasp desperately at it. I’ve seen Death Of A Salesman. I write because I love to write and I like sharing it with people; I love it when someone suggests an idea to me and I write it and can delight them with the result. I just like writing. But it also makes me happy that I have three books out there, and hopefully will have more before I’m done, which will probably outlive me. I made my little mark, at least, and it’s the best of what I can do, so I have no reason not to be proud.

Still, I feel weird being thirty-two and thinking about my posthumous legacy.

God, I hope this is a phase. I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life picturing my death, that’s just depressing.


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