January 5, 2011
I write for entirely selfish reasons.
I want to live forever–simple as that.
I got a call from a good friend of mine yesterday.”Hey, did you hear about Dave?”
“No,” I said.
“He’s dead,” my friend replied.
Wow. Forty-three years old. Dead. It makes you wonder. It doesn’t really matter how you prop yourself up. You could hedge your bet by living a righteous life, denying yourself every pleasure, swallowing vitamins and sucking down soy milk, and it just doesn’t matter. Your number’s up, it’s up, and there’s no getting another one unless you choose to downgrade and head over to the Butterfly Line.
So, that’s why I write. That’s why I spend five hours every evening in the freezing cold basement dreaming up things that exist nowhere except in my head. It’s a pretty selfish thing, to want to be immortal, to want to reach out and be heard beyond the fair allotment of life I was given.
Through my words, the concrete vault that will be poured over my coffin one day means nothing.
My grandfather was gone before I was born. Heart attack. Happens in my family–in fact, I’m probably several million beats overdue. Who was my grandfather, I ask my dad every so often. And he sits down and shows me pictures and tries to recall his father as best he can, but the memory fades and the anecdotes don’t seem real. All I had for a long time were faded black and whites of a strange man in a strange suit from a time long gone. And then, my mom found an old suitcase in the attic full of musty old things. Mixed into the sundries was a crinkly old note written in my grandfather’s hand to my older sister.
“You need to quit acting up in school, and stop giving the nuns such a hard time. A sharp paddling is for your own good, and don’t you forget it. I want you to stand there and take it like a Garcia and don’t cry.”
So there he was–the long gone man had a voice fresh and new, leaping out from the past demanding strength and virtue under fire. Apparently he wants my sister to quit acting up. He didn’t get his wish, much, but, his words keep his wants alive. “Stand there and take it.” Maybe they should have put that on his tombstone.
So, I write. When my suitcase comes down some day in the future, it’ll be full of a whole trove of my words and my voice waiting to be heard again.
Cast a spell, write a verse, and let your voice be heard from the vault of death. Be immortal.