Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Today's Topic -- A Year After Your Death
"If you're seeing this message then I'm dead," the video transmission said. The message came in from the interstellar sleeper ship Tyrone, now a little more than one light year away from earth. It was Captain Sara Johnson.

"They made me record this before we left in case something happened to the ship. There should be data accompanying the message from the black-box transmitter on the ship. While I hope this is only a malfunction, I have been assured that you won't see this unless we are all dead. I'm sorry Allen; I really wanted to come back to you"

The transmission ended and Allen turned off the portable DVD player. He looked up at the Space Agency representative who had brought this to him. His name-tag said DuPont, Travis.

"We've confirmed the ship has split into two main parts with a cloud of debris surrounding it," DuPont said. "Of course it's still traveling at a good percentage of the speed of light towards the Tau Ceti system. We have a team looking at the data, trying to see if there was a flaw in the ship or if this was caused externally."

Allen didn't know how to react. Sara left eight years ago on this mission and had about 120 left to go. He had expected his little sister to outlive him by many decades.

"Thank you for coming by but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this," Allen said.
Well you could use this as the beginning of a story or as a bit of background before doing a character study of either Sara or Allen. I'm not sure but I had a pretty hard time coming up with even this much. The trick, of course, is that it took the message a year to get back to Earth. So even though they just found out about it, it's a year after her death. This is one of the days I did the last time I used this list of writing exercises and it gave me trouble then too. I have a semi-long rant about death associated with that. I think I'll reprint it here just to make this post that much longer. Here it is.
A year after my death the atomic clock with open the vault and all of you that are present can have your bodies removed.

A year after my death I won't care what happens because I won't be here to see it.

Even if I'm reincarnated I'll only be a year old and my memories will have been wiped so I'll only be a baby carrying the karmic baggage of countless previous lives. Any of my friends and family that have survived the year after my death may care to remember me but I won't be thinking of them.

If I'm in a place of eternal paradise or eternal damnation my thoughts won't be on this life. I'll either be praising the lord in a mindless dance of devotion or cursing his absence in eternal torment. All of the things that made me who I was will be fading from memory.

Photographs will record my life but only for so long. After memory has faded and all record of my existence has been obliterated by time I will still be dead. If my life, writings, and thoughts change the course of humanity for thousands of years and my name is revered or cursed daily for all measurable time, I will still be dead.

Whether I pass into nirvana or rot in the ground I won't care either way. Will I miss life? I don't know. Sometimes the monotony of the human condition makes me think no. But other times the diversity of human experience and the spark of invention and creative mayhem make me miss the life I will never see after my death. There's something about the here and now that makes me want to stay here. It doesn't seem like fear of the unknown but rather not wanting to leave a party too soon. There's too much fun left to be had.

So a year after my death, I'll be dead. That's all I know for sure about death. There may be an infinite variety of existence before during and after death but all I have available to me is the before death part.

Regardless of the volumes that have been written and the thousands that have been martyred, there is only faith and physical facts waiting after death. The body will rot, or if preserved properly it won't. Faith or its lack will be tested, or it won't. There's no way to tell but there's also no way to absolutely rule out the existence of something more. A year after my death, I'll have the answer ... or I won't.


Blogger E said...

Well the story has lots of possiblities...future or past, but I think past would be easier to write...but who knows.

I really like your ramble from last time as well...very cool and fun to read. True as well.

Thanks, and I look forward to today's exercise.

1/05/2005 6:06 AM  

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