Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

The Spark of Passion Smells like Death

As a glamour-puss in training, I was using my vacation day to vacuum my home and contemplate life when a series of thoughts about recent writing, shelved writing, teenage writing, books that fascinate me, what I want to do with my blog, my future, and my life culminated in a realization: I am dedicatedly fascinated by death. In particular, how people process the deaths of loved ones, stars, arch enemies, and world villains.

My teen writing was filled with death, but I thought that was an age-related affliction. In those days, I just loved to read fictional tales of teens with cancer or kids who lost parents. Later Stephen King gripped me for a good couple of years before I turned my eye to more literary sources.  My new favourites became books where well-developed characters deal with a death or the dark aspects of their relationship with someone now dead.

On the other hand, adding to the list of things I’ve always attributed to “being Portuguese”, I grew up in a home where death was perhaps the most normal of conversations, perfectly child appropriate and fun for the whole family. There was talk of who died, why they died, the extent to which that person’s death was a tristiza (sad event) or a desgraça (tragedy) or não foi uma surpresa (not a surprise). Likewise, talking about somebody’s illness, diminishing health, or imminent demise was never seen as disrespectful or downright offensive. Like taboo-free gossip. But there’s an up side. I adapted well to the notion that my parents would die, my friends would die, and that I would probably die, too, maybe even sooner than one would assume. AND, I can talk pretty comfortably about death.

Finally, I have never had a particularly dramatic response to a death – one that lasted a culturally appropriate amount of time and is followed by normalcy. For me, initial shock has been followed only by moments of missing someone, or noting their absence. These moments rise and fall as everything else in our life does. My lack of reaction has, in some ways, been of some concern to me. Is my otherwise sensitive heart cold to death? Do I see death as good? Do I just not care enough about those that have died? Sure, there’s no normal grief, but there is healthy grief.

And now my mind is awash with ways I can attack death or show death some love. It’s a marketer’s dream!

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August 2, 2012 Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Death, Portuguese-ness?, Self-reflection, Writing | , , | 6 Comments

The Second Person Sin

There are days where the world stops.

And   it    stops    hard.

At least it does for you. Everyone and everything else, generally, marches on. You can almost feel them marching on. And you may keep in step, or look in step. But you’re much, much further away. At a distance that you just can’t recover.

It’s an affront. A powerful aftershock. Don’t they know? Isn’t it written on your face that you will never forget this date? That it is etched into you as few things can be?

(But it’s just another day. There’s humility in that, when it hits.)

On those days, relatively rare, there’s a drop of happiness in the sad. A sense of taking stock. A feeling of truly living. Without the distraction of gossip, advertisements, or fried chicken.  Just you, your thoughts, and those you are most inextricably linked to. If you’re lucky. But even then, lost in yourself, there is great solitude.

That drop of happiness makes it bearable. That tiny hope of better days that can well up from almost nowhere. Somehow, it may just be okay that you will re-enter the world behind. Changed.

They are big, heady days.

July 30, 2012 Posted by | Hypotheticals, Mr. Lonely, Photography, Self-reflection, Writing | , , , , | 6 Comments