On death and taxes. But not really taxes.

February 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

If this is a month about writing, why not share some of my own creativeness?
This is the opening paragraph/page/scene/whatever from a YA book I’m working on.

If there is ever a time I believe in God, it’s when I think about dying.  And then I pray ceaselessly to this higher power that I am sure exists even though ten minutes before I hadn’t given Him a second thought.  I am terrified of death.  A paranoia type of terrified.  It’s not the whole haunting ghosts thing that scares me more than the non-existence that death is.  When I went to my great-grandmother’s funeral, I saw her body lying all cold and blue and marble-like in the casket and all I could see was my own marble self laying in the plush velvet.  And then I thought what it would be like to die.  I wondered what it would be like to see which of my family members would grieve unendingly over my life’s end or who would come to visit my grave years after I’ve been lain to rest.   And then I remembered that if I was dead, I wouldn’t see any of those things, or think any of those things, or participate at all in anyone’s life.  And then I thought all it would be was black.  But if I was dead, I wouldn’t know I was dead, I wouldn’t know anything, and I freaked myself out so much I had to be forcefully led from the ceremony by my older boy cousins.

I like the idea of immortality.  I like the idea a lot.  But I haven’t yet figured out a way to make it happen.  The whole Tuck Everlasting scenario hasn’t played out well in my favor in my twenty-one years of life.  Instead, I seek to do things to prolong this precious commodity that I have.  So for my twenty-first birthday when my friends tried to get me to go sky-diving with them, I opted out for Chuck-E-Cheese instead, and I took my toddler cousin.  She cried when the giant mouse started skipping up and down the floor singing songs and dancing with the little kids.  So I had to take her home.

For allegedly loving life so much, I definitely live it in a pathetic mess.  Nothing exciting happens, but that’s mostly because I won’t let it.  What if something happens to me?  I got in a car wreck once.  Some chick rear-ended me, and my entire back end of my tiny plastic car smashed itself in.  I wouldn’t get in the driver’s seat of a car for the next four months.

I read a lot, though.  And I tend to live vicariously through the characters.  When I’m in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, I’m shocked that I can’t find a full-length bodiced ball gown in my closet when I get dressed in the mornings.  And when I read Catch-22, I’m always terrified I’m going to get sent out on yet another endless air raid.  But, in reality, I spend a lot of time on my couch, in my pajamas, watching tv on dvd, because I hate commercials.

Sometimes I venture off my couch, though.  It’s rare, but it does happen.  And when I do, it’s because I’ve just watched or read something “inspiring.”  You see, my dream is to become the Next Great American Novelist, but so far the stuff I’ve written isn’t even worthy enough for hospital waiting room magazines.  I’d like to sigh wistfully and say, “One day, I will achieve my dream,” but I am not an optimist, only a realist.

Which is why when my mom called me and threatened to ship me off to Australia, with one my more eccentric aunts, I decided it was probably time to get off my couch and do something before I had to rub elbows with Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin wannabes.  Man-eating aquatic life is not my style.


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