Monday, February 21, 2005

On death

They say that with the arrival of spring come thoughts of love. Perhaps, that ‘s true. But it isn’t spring yet. And lately I’ve been feeling kind of morose. And then I see a movie, The Whole Wide World I think it’s called. Not a major movie I suspect ‘cause I hadn’t heard of it, but a moving one. It’s the story of Robert Howard the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Funny, but of course someone had to create Conan; he just didn’t pop out of no where, but I never thought of it as the work of a “real” writer. From the movie—which doesn’t have to stick to the facts, but is allegedly based on facts, Howard was a tortured soul. A man who had a grudge against the world. The only person he loved was his mother who had nurtured his talent and had believed in him when others scoffed at his writing. He was a master of pulp fiction. He published in magazines with funny names like Weird Tales. When his mother who was suffering from consumption, I think, takes a turn for the worse, he becomes desperate. He cannot conceive life without her and commits suicide at the age of thirty. His mother died the very next day.

Today another tragic story, or is it? Hunter Thompson committed suicide. Thompson who lived and wrote in Puerto Rico called what he did "gonzo journalism." I guess gonzo journalism is the equivalent of pulp fiction. It is the kind of underground stuff that “serious” writers/journalists don’t engage in. The feature that differentiated Thompson’s kind of journalism from the mainstream was his total lack of objectivity. He prided himself on not being objective about a story he was reporting on. According to Wikipedia Thompson can be considered “the grandfather of the blogging movement." Like pulp fiction, gonzo journalism was also an aggressive, hostile kind of journalism that focused on the depraved side of life. Thompson wrote what he knew about. A quote attributed to Thompson on the act of writing reads, “You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it." And he did just that. He was often on drugs or booze and lived a pretty bizarre life. Not a life to emulate. Some people think that a lot of HT's life was a performance for his audience, some which allegedly have a cult-like reverence for his life-style and writings. Unlike Howard, Hunter was sixty seven years old when he decided to terminate his own life.

Not the kind death I want for myself. I want mine to be clean and neat. No bloody mess for others to have to clean up after. I guess the way you choose to die, for those who can afford to choose, says something about you. . .a lot actually. When my time comes I want to lie down and not wake up. Perhaps find out that the end has come through a dream. Two relatives of mine have committed suicide that I know of. One of them chose to kill himself in a bathroom on Christmas Eve. At least that’s the story as I remember it. The other one, a charming man, as I recall, was found hanging from a tree. Enough sad stories, but that’s how memory works by association…

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