death and writing

Tim Bray writes about Death Online today, and rather than the usual link and 2-sentence commentary, I feel like writing something a bit more expansive.

I wrote a will when I was 16 or 17, during a stretch of near-suicidal depression, I’ve been writing since I was 9, and I had to help sort through a coworker’s work after her death in a car accident, so I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing for a while.

On the other hand, I’m endlessly lousy about backups and such, so I don’t actually have a plan. Actually, right now I don’t have a will or even a living will.  (C has a living will, because of his lymph node surgery a couple of years ago, but I keep forgetting.)

When I thought I was going to be a famous writer 🙂 I decided that if anything happened, I wanted my friend Kat to get all of my papers and do…whatever…with them. C probably remembers that still. Not that I’d wish a small filing box and a very heavy rubbermaid tub on anyone. As it is, if I had kids I’d want them to have all that.  I wish I had anything similar from my dad.  It’s a real gift to be able to see inside somebody’s head from their writing, even if sometimes a little painful. I tried once a number of years ago to reread my early journals, I think with an aim to digitizing.  (Yes, really.) But I just couldn’t handle myself at 12 or 13.

Would I want C to make a last post here? I don’t know. I’d almost rather write a “post this if I’m dead” and keep it in my drafts. Would I want this thing to stay here? Yeah, probably. That’s just an echo of my fondness for memorials.  I love old cemeteries because the headstones are actually interesting. They have an art, a flourish, a sense of style even, and they show their age — in a good way.

Then again, now that I’m more physically and mentally healthy, I’m likely to have a really, really, really long time to think about it. Assuming I don’t fall off a roof or anything. (All of my grandparents passed 80; my father died of a heart attack at 45, and his half-brother fell off a roof & electrocuted himself when I was very small.)

Unfortunately, I am accident-prone….