Death Journal

Media vita in morte sumus.

March 2, 2002

3:17 AM
I trust the world with my life – why don’t I trust it with my death?

5:11 AM
Old age, disease, suicide, accident, murder, . . . How do I want to die? (There are as many ways to die as there are to live.)

7:47 AM
An unworldly afterlife bears no attraction for me. I wish, however, that I could believe in metempsychosis.

How many people die without discovering the limits of their suffering or joy?

4:29 PM
If it comes to that, how will I kill myself? (My sense of decorum demands that I die “cleanly” – no blood on the floor, no brains on the wall.)

6:29 PM
If deathdays were celebrated as well as birthdays . . .

8:33 PM
Here in this living-dying moment, death and life are not enemies.

10:19 PM
When they say you have six months to live, they’re also saying you have six months to die.

I am a cosmic accident – my life, a gratuitous dicethrow.

April 1, 2012

She died today. No tears.

March 3, 2034

Sixty-four years old. If I had died thirty-two years ago, what difference would it have made? If I live thirty-two more years, what difference? Today, what difference?

_______, 20?? (Last entry)

Give everything away.

March 3, 2070

What is remembered? Who remembers?

March 3, 2470

Nothing. No-one.

March 3, 1970

8:12 AM
It’s a boy! (Bloody beginning of my lives and deaths.)

Feb 6, 1990

We could have all died. (How many times have I nearly died without even knowing it?) The van was totaled. Death’s fingers brushed my face, clutched my hands gripping the steering wheel. Something should have happened.

July 4, 2002

The San Francisco Chronicle announced nine deaths today. What will my obituary say? (What will it not say?)

July 5, 2002

I’ve never contemplated suicide. What does this say about me?

July 6, 2002

I don’t want to write my life away.

July 7, 2002

Dying of AIDS is the worst death I can imagine. Nobody blames anyone for getting cancer.

July 8, 2002

I’d rather kill myself than suffer too much. But how much is too much?

July 9, 2002

I will be childless for life.

July 10, 2002

A voice recorder on my deathbed.

July 11, 2002

What will I leave behind? (I know the faint ripples my living made will rapidly fade away till the small circle of time’s water my life disturbed is still again.)

July 13, 2002

How many more lives can this body live?

July 14, 2002

Writing is my transmigration-machine.

July 15, 2002

Life is the only thing worth dying for.

July 16, 2002

If I were told I only had a year, six months, three months left to live, the only thing I’d do differently is pay more attention. (This would change everything.)

July 17, 2002

You only die once.

July 18, 2002

It doesn’t disturb me to picture my dead decomposing body. What discomposes me is trying to imagine the labor of dying.

July 19, 2002

Death is not the enemy – it’s forgetting. But who can survive a life without forgetfulness?

July 20, 2002

Life is a breathless parenthesis. (Why do we run toward death?)

July 21, 2002

I want to write a joyful Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man.

July 22, 2002

I feel more and more as I grow older. This terrifies me.

July 23, 2002

There’s no such thing as an uneventful life – life itself is the event.

July 24, 2002

Death defies explanation. Why do we expect life to be different?

September 4, 2002

Every night for nine hours, I am dead. (Every night for nine hours, I’m neither behind nor ahead of myself – unconscious, I’m going at the speed of life.) Is sleep the closest thing to death or the furthest from it?

September 7, 2002

If desiring ceases, how will I know if I’m alive or dead? If my body isn’t stretching toward you, how will I feel it?

October 31, 2002

Whenever I hear of something another person has said about me, I’m always taken by surprise: partly because I’m amazed anyone is thinking of me (not because I’m modest but because I’m self-centered – I take it for granted that everyone thinks about themselves as singlemindedly as I do), and partly because the sudden awareness of another’s gaze (all eyes exterior to me are evil eyes) throws me outside myself, placing me in the uncanny position of being beside a self I don’t recognize. Thus, few things are more chilling to me than imagining people speaking of my dumb, purely external existence after I’m dead – like a mute photograph, my life would be shrouded by an irrevocable silence.

November 28, 2002

My life is not mine. (I cannot count the stars.)

December 31, 2002

Outside my little world of life-and-death, the universe keeps on expanding.

In the midst of death we are in life.

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