Your Occasional Roundup Of Death


Writing and reading does me a lot of good because it acquaints me with death in totally vicarious ways.  Which is good, because I love life more than I know what to do with.

Often in what I write, there’s  lots of dying and disease and misfortune and sorrow. And this isn’t because that’s what my life is like (knock on wood, it’s not yet) but it’s what I fear my life could be like, might be like and very well will be like. Which is fine (not really!), but for some reason I feel like I need to prepare my imagination for the inevitable cataclysms.

Now that I’m thirty I need to start paying attention to my worst fears and my most pervasive panics. Which is one reason to write.

I’ve been creeping around the web lately, looking for interesting discussions on the topics of death and art. Those subjects, in uneasy alliance, will never be abolished from our collective psyche. So thankfully, there’s plenty to talk about.

In the wake of Jim Carroll’s death, memorialized elegantly by our own Stephen Elliott and rhapsodized irrepressibly by myself in a totally rambling, unpublishable remembrance, I also came upon an interesting article about Carroll and the late philosopher Paul Ricouer (Via Bookforum).

At Lapham’s Quarterly, one of the finest writers in English (in my opinion), John Crowley pontificates beautifully about death, metaphysics, writing and imagination.

This next one I won’t have to read for another fifteen years: what happens when you turn 45? (Via Bookforum)  This one is pretty depressing, depending on what depresses you.

Or if you’re a writer and really want to know how to go out in style, read what the immortal Proust chose to imbibe exclusively during the last month of his life. (Via Maud Newton)

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →