Monday, May 09, 2005

there's been some talk about last posts lately. I'm not writing one of those. But I've been thinking...

this is a draft. I want to work it up into something that makes sense. it probably doesn't right now. but when I feel for the core of what I'm trying to mean, I feel comforted.


When the gods were angry with us, they’d exclaim “Mere mortal! How dare you?”

But we do. We know we are going to die. We are mere mortals, those for whom our very existence is an issue, (1) and we do it anyway.

And this (I wrote in the dark in the middle of another sleepless night) is the meaning of life (which I abbreviated as 42). To do, knowing that it will end.

Which is why sex and death are related. Sex is pointless in the face of death. It can’t last. But we do it anyway. Sex procreates, defies and overcomes death. The sexual urge is reproductive, death-defying, though as living humans we have reinterpreted it so many ways.

So the meaning of life is to do what we are. You are a poet, a painter, a cabinet maker, a grower of vegetables. You won’t last.

Which is why Douglas Adams’ writers’ block was so ironic. His best joke was about the meaning of life, but he couldn’t write – and that was what he was for.

And it’s why I’m writing now. I am doing what I am, being a writer. It’s what I am and I will live my life, writer and mother, though I am going to die, quite possibly very soon, too young. I’m a mere mortal, I face that fact, and I dare.

I wonder about postnatal depression. About making life, on the face of it the greatest victory over death, but then having to deal with the sheer banality of the act. Giving birth is the ultimate in life – and that’s all there is? (2)

In the dark, I think of songs about life. The Violent Femmes: “He said yes to life for all his life, then one day he said No. I’ve gotta go…”

The meaning of life is to say yes. Which is probably why Joyce’s Ulysses ends with that one word.

Yes I am, yes I will, yes I do, turning one’s back on the fact of death, denying and defying in full knowledge – that is what life is for.

So I have an argument with suicide (apart maybe from those who suffer deeply and irreparably, and I know that’s a relative matter).

In a way, I started learning to live when I met my first freaks, new friends who weren’t standard-issue, but who embraced what they were, chose to live what they were – gay, musicians, artists and other lost, searching souls. That’s when I began to see the project of life as being self-fulfilment; not selfish hedonism, but living out what might once have been called one’s fate; looking into oneself, seeing the truth and honouring it.

And all I can do now, in the face of death, is to keep saying yes, keep passing the open windows(3), keep on daring to be even though I’m a mere mortal.

(2) Peggy Lee?
(3) Garp?

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