Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Timing of Death

Let me start off with a small disclaimer. I don't support ending your life prematurely. Really. And yes, that's what this post is going to be about. If that's something you're uncomfortable with, and you should be uncomfortable with it, then I recommend you pass on this posting. I won't think any less of you.

That said, moving on.

There's something to be said about ending your life at a time of your choosing. Going out on a high note. Or with a bang, as it were. There might be no such thing as "a good time to die" (or there might be, but I don't think there is), but there's a better time and a worse time, relatively.

Here's the deal: if life's not going too well, and you end it, what the press? "Couldn't make it through the hard times. Not strong enough. Gave up when the going got tough. One less waste of space."

But what if you're at a high point? You've just succeeded at something grand, and you know it's all just going to be downhill from there. You can see the cliffs on the other side of the mountain when you're climbing it, you can tell how hard it is going to be to climb back down. So end it with a triumph. End it with success before you start falling apart. Die a success story, even as much as it is tainted by your death.

For those few of my readers who appreciate Cory Doctorow's work, you probably know what I'm referring to. For those who don't even recognize the name, I recommend you stop by and have a read through of "Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom."

Depression has haunted me for a long time. As of late, I find myself restating old themes instead of exploring new ones, and I find it extremely frustrating. Over the years, I've built four primary stories through either a series of loosely-connected poems, or actual prose: Atlantia, JitO, Bands, and Fortress Race.

Atlantia started with a dream back in seventh grade. The dream was turned into a poem, one of my first, and then lost for several years. Only a few years ago was it recovered and digitized. It spoke of finding not just love, but the one true love. The poems ranged from searching for the love to searching for the "prophecy" or the original poem. I want to create a definitive piece for the series; close it off, end it before I find my end (whether that end is determined by my hand or someone else's).

JitO is a double-layered acronym. Journeys in the OPEn, Outside the Plane of the Elliptical. It started with a prose piece called "Goodbye, Big Brother," and all of the following pieces were of terrible quality. I want to fix that.

Bands is the product of a series of dreams which I built pathways between, connected and solidified then into something that felt real. But I made a mistake: I allowed myself to fall too much in love with the characters, to the point where, if I continue the story while being loyal to the characters, I have to kill off at least two of the primaries, which I don't want to do. If I keep the characters alive, I betray their natures. I will never finish this story, and if something should happen to me, I want it to remain unfinished.

Fortress Race (here and here) is my rebuttal to Bands. It's a piece that I have rewritten many times, but I refuse to let myself feel anything for the characters. This has allowed it to become my most complete story. I can think if no other "high point" than completing it. It's been a work in progress for over six years, but in the last two I have made more progress on it than ever before.

And that's the summary of my work to date. I've been writing since I was... what? Thirteen? Fourteen? Everything else is dreams, miscellaneous poetry, or commentary on life (most of which appears on this blog). And if you read all that I've written, you might come to the conclusion that I lied a little in the disclaimer up top. But most people won't read down this far.

See you next week.