I’ve heard it said that all books are about death. I suppose there is something to that, if you consider that they are also conversely about life. Life and its end are what we have. That is the sum of our certainty. It is from this that all tragedy, all comedy, all art springs. We celebrate life all the more because we know that death is in our future.
And, here’s where religion steps in. Since we cannot remember a time when we were not alive, it is nearly impossible for us to grasp a future so rude that it needs us not at all. We seek explanation, reassurance and hope. Maybe we will live again. Or maybe we will live some reflected life in the memories of others.
Anjels (working title) is about a common human belief about death and its impermanence. It envisions a fairly simple culture clinging to a primitive belief about reincarnation. That the anjels misunderstand so much about their physical lives will lead at least one character to question their beliefs about the metaphysical. As with most of us, this questioning is brought about by a proximate death.
I am writing that scene today, or at least I think I am. Sometimes it takes longer to get to some particular plot point than I think it will.
Writing about the death of a loved one--even one loved by a character you have created--is always difficult. Inevitably it becomes, at least in part, a reliving of deaths you have known in your own life. In writing about death in a world of winged creatures, how can I not remember the five of my friends and family who have fallen from the sky?
This imaginary death will not resemble those in its particulars. Its aftermath will be familiar to us all, though. Maybe that is why it has been said that all books are about death. No matter how our lives differ from one another, we have this one thing in common. This thing that repels and compels us. This end to what we know.