Paul Moran began collecting John Updike’s trash in 2006, three years before the writer’s death. He found discarded photos, story drafts, and honorary degrees. The acquisition of curbside trash seems perfectly legal in Massachusetts, even if Updike and his wife took measures to dissuade Moran’s efforts....more
Posts Tagged: death
I want to leave the party through the window and find my uncle standing on a piece of iron shaped into visible desperation, which must also be (how can it not?) the beginning of visible hope....more
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights at 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
The day my father died was the day I started falling in love....more
Over at The Hairpin, Isabelle Fraser interviews Ann Wroe, obituary writer for The Economist. Wroe has written obituaries for J.D. Salinger, Aaron Swartz, and the 25-year old carp that was “England’s best-loved fish”. On Marie Smith, the last person to speak Eyak, an Alaskan language, she relates:
“She was the only person left who remembered all the different words for all the parts of a spruce tree.
My mother died suddenly at a dining room table, in the middle of a wonderful meal, surrounded by a large, extended family that loved her. One minute she was completely immersed in the world—talking, laughing, eating—and the next minute she was gone....more
Does it seem now like I believe in God and he is a comfort to me? I don’t, and he isn’t. And yet this story is a comfort to me....more
My mother’s body horrified me. Nine years old, I watched her dress. Her belly was rippled and sagged and scarred—a used-up bag of nothing....more
Death is messy and time-consuming and exhausting for the survivors. Death is confusing and maddening. At Blunderbuss Magazine, Essay Liu, a Taiwanese writer, documents her father’s death and the rituals in the days following. Translated by Kevin Tang.
Day three, 5 AM: coffin laying ceremony.
Depictions of death in short stories can challenge even seasoned writers. John McDonough, writing in the Colorado Review, explains why:
The immediacy of the death of a loved one offers rich emotional possibilities, but ones that are remarkably complicated. Mine these emotions too heavily and you run the risk of sentimentality, but too cautious an approach fails to carry appropriate weight.
And this is precisely why I was so entirely blown away by Antonia Crane’s new memoir, Spent, which chronicles her dark and twisted path through the above horrors with remarkable elegance and restraint. To be honest: it’s pretty fucking annoying how elegant and restrained the book is....more
When my father died my mother was still alive. And I think when your second parent dies, there is that shock: “Oh man, I’m an orphan.” There’s also this relief: It’s done; it’s finished; it’s over. Because I had felt for so many years that there was this sense of going through this whole passage, this whole last part of their lives, and all the emotional and practical difficulties of that.
the dog born March 30th who I will find 6 months from now
to know what it’s like to hurl myself down the mountain
for the wind to blow right through me...more
In a breathtaking essay on aging, Roger Angell reflects on death. At the age of 93, he writes: ”A weariness about death exists in me and in us all in another way, as well, though we scarcely notice it.”
Angell has experienced his share of loss and hardship, but emphasizes the dailiness of his own experience, and how infrequently he thinks of his own impending visitor: death....more
It seemed like nature might be offering up something fraught with emotion, a beautiful image that a writer could imbue with heartbreaking symbolism. But I couldn’t come up with anything. It was just fall, and so the leaves were red....more
“I spent hours standing before the glass vitrine, trying to divine the magic, the answer, the power of the box.” Lizi Gilad debuts on The Rumpus with a powerful poetic homage and meditation on permanence....more
We’ve had a busy couple weekends at the Rumpus lately, and we wanted to make sure nobody missed any of the spectacular essays and book reviews we’ve been posting.
For example, this weekend we reviewed Bradley L. Garrett’s urban-exploration treatise Explore Everything, and Thea Goodman wrote about her complex relationship with a cousin who suffered a severe burn and later overdosed....more
“I’m reminded of a gospel that personifies Death: Death, this being that rides a pale white horse, the clomps and gallops leaving a trail of lightning behind him, and then Death picks up the dying person or animal or baby, the person in pain, the baby that is too tired for this world, and Death brings them to rest in the bosom of Mercy and the gospel asks us mothers and sisters and fathers and sons and brothers and lovelorn and grief-stricken and lonesome — not to weep.
I’m sitting across from the man who looks exactly like my father would look if my father had lived to be fifty-seven. If my father hadn’t died sixteen years ago when I was thirteen. But he did....more
I think about that night a lot, how I knew the ambulance was coming for us. Call me Magic, if you want. I won’t object. Who doesn’t want to be called Magic? Was it magic or do we always know before we know?...more
If Charlie had finally lost his focus after all these years, well, no wonder. I’d have lost it after about fifteen minutes wrestling with CF. We had to help him find his resolve again and get back his health, not stand there crying....more
Journalist Katy Butler discusses her memoir, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: A Path to a Better Way of Death, why medicine and technology often cloud the larger issues of dying, and how we should contemplate the end of our lives....more
In mid-October, the New York Times reported that an Iranian man survived his execution by hanging and was scheduled to be re-executed.
Lapham Quarterly‘s Déjà Vu feature (“Bringing an historical perspective to the day’s news”) connects the miracle/tragedy to another man who proved difficult to kill: “Russia’s greatest love machine, Rasputin.”...more
But I had deployed only once to Iraq. When so many others, including friends of mine, had suffered two, three, four, five, or more deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, why should I be the one enjoying the comfort of flying first-class?...more
The strength, the ability to tuck and seal, to drag and drop, it’s nothing short of amazing. A superpower? A time bomb....more