Friday, 20 January 2017

A most creative death.

I heard something recently. Something intriguing to say the least... 'Creatives fear death less.' Bold statement, right? I mean, whoa, don't we all fear death, even just a little?

My stance on death has always been a little cloudy – until I was kind of facing my own mortality a couple of years ago. Then I realised, clear as day, clouds lifted: I don't fear my own death, not at all, but I hate the idea of anyone close to me dying. Friends, family...and okay fine, maybe fictional characters too. 


(Sketch by the uber-talented Leticia Cronin - see her response below)


So when I was thinking about this recently, it occurred to me that maybe it is a creative thing, but...what about the different types of creatives?! Like, do writers like myself fear death less than...dancers? Or actors? Maybe abstract artists are a little more aware of peril, while sculptors are more brazen in the face of fatality? '
...You get the idea.


So I thought I'd test out this theory, and satisfy my own curiosity, by asking some of my creative pals what they think of death. As you do...! 

Some of the responses completely stunned me...



'Death is a teasing pal who pokes me on the shoulder from time to time to remind me that I'm not eternal.
They worry me, bury themselves in my tummy on quiet days and make me feel uneasy.
But they're also someone I can forget, tell to fuck off and spur me on to live.' 



'I used to be fearful of death. My Dad died when I was only five, and experiencing such a devastating loss at such a tender age obviously affected my outlook. I was petrified of unexpectedly losing those I loved. Since refinding my faith I'm far more pragmatic about death, and I'm not scared of my own other than the impact it will have on those I leave behind. That said, I still dread people I love dying.'



'I've spent a somewhat terrifying amount of time thinking about death...and have ridiculously convoluted thoughts and feelings about the subject. But to summarise in the simplest of ways: death doesn't scare me, in relation to my own demise. I don't fear or worry about it. The death of family/friends/others terrifies me.'

  • Anonymous, writer & editor.




'Death is an unspoken inevitability. Hushed whispers pass by as a chill shoots up your spine and you know that someone just walked over the piece of ground that will one day house you, in your entirety. Dead.

Death sits patiently by the window excluded from the festivities. Never a happy moment in sight, they wallow in the sadness of decades of weeping relatives. Who shed a tear for their lost loved ones as Big Ben strikes midnight and they bring in the new year one man down.

Death is an exploited friend. Used and abused for political warefare, terrorism, tabloid rhetoric and scaremongering. Left to clean up others mess.

And sometimes death is a solitary listener, when your deepest truths can't get through to anyone else.'




'You might actually think that it is a strange reply, but I have a bit of a wacky theory, not supported by any scientific evidence at all...
The good thing about death and how to think about it, is that it is a free for all "thought buffet".
What I mean by that is, as there is no one that we know about who has come back from death to tell us about it, (well...there might be this one guy...J...), we are free to theorize over what it might be like. Is it a new beginning, is it the end, is there hell, paradise, St Peters at the gate?...You know the gist.

My thoughts came about when I asked myself that one question: Where was I before here? The only answer that I could come up with was, nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
But then I needed to find some evidence to support my wacky theory and one thing I know, is that I am the sum of all my all my ancestors, something that I share with all my relatives as well, so my essence has been here for quite a while and is spread over quite a number of people, even though slightly transformed by every single persona it took over the centuries. So if we look at the future and apply that same theory, my essence will travel through my descendants which means, that I will always be here...'




'I don't fear [death]. I think it'll be a relief.'




'I spend a lot of time looking at specimens of dead things. I've also spent time on farms, where there are often dead things. And I've been to vet practices, where there are dead things which we react to in very different ways, depending on whether we've been handed an ominously flat box containing the feline victim of a car accident, an animal which has passed away in our care, or a beloved pet for whom euthanasia was the kindest option. So I see a lot of death.

They say that humans’ awareness of our mortality is what sets us apart from other species – I fully believe that if a lamb only escapes the fox over the hedge, she is sure she will live forever. Knowing that we will someday die makes humans almost fearful, if full of uplifting quotes.

I’m wary of death. I have a space in my brain which fills with worries of death claiming loved ones too soon and memories of articles where young people’s lights were suddenly snuffed out, with years of dreams ahead of them. I don’t want to leave before I’ve done lots of things. So perhaps, in actuality, it is time I am wary of, more so than death itself.'




'Death is something I think about on a near daily basis; in fact, it’s the main cause of my anxiety...
...I know that I am going to die; I am prepared that it is going to happen and yet I am debilitated in fear...
...One thing I do know though, for certain, is that whenever the time comes, when it’s ‘my time’, I lived my life deeply, I have lived it full of love and most of all, I have LIVED. I haven’t spent it hating another race or religious group, I have not lived it in bitterness, or hating somebody for loving whomever they chose. I have just lived it.'



'Well, I have literally just walked in the house after going to the funeral of a friend. The third one I lost in 2016...she had/has two teenage girls and lovely husband and the church was packed so right now I am pretty mad at death. But I am not afraid of it. I live, every moment, as did my wonderful friend. And she will live on, always, in a thousand traces of her living and in the hearts of those who love her still, until we are gone too and then, it’ll be fine, because there’ll be no one left to be sad. So screw you death. Life wins. '


There were so many more creative people in my life, friends, that I wanted to put this question to. But then of course I had to consider reactions; some of them have lost someone recently, or have always been closed off in regards to some subjects so I may not have got an honest answer...and some I hadn't seen in a long time, so this question appearing out of the blue in their inbox may have seemed a little insane. But then, that's me, isn't it?! 
So if you are a creative pal of mine, or even if you're not and we've never met - do comment below or tweet me with your thoughts on this matter! There are no wrong answers. Except maybe 'I love death coz I kill people' or something...eeekk. 

Death is a hideous thing. It's something we all should think about. But maybe, just maybe, it's not something we should fear...after all, it is the only constant in life. Right? That's my view, anyway. I just hope I have achieved all I wanted, all I dreamed, by the time it happens. Simple as. 



1 comment

  1. As an artist who believes what Jesus said is true, that death has lost its sting, I figure that death needs some respect but its just another essential part of life! My work depends on Death, Love and Time (Collateral Beauty); we see love and time daily and death is a natural end. Its around the corner, you can't see it but you can hear it so you can't ignore it, but its not the big drop off point that most think, its just the start of things to come.
    I have known many who have died, like we all have, but two who were dying; one of them knew it but had been blissfully made unaware of the details whilst the other was looking forward to going home and in their case they went with a smile on their face cos enough was enough, they had lived a full life and they were looking forward to going home to their Father. Its those who are left who suffer, especially if they have no hope of a heaven. Jesus also said "Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest" well if death is a burden to you that's something you can give him today, cos he's been through it with all its worry, burden and turmoil, you just have to believe what he said and who he is. Sounds simple doesn't it!?

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