Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Are Going To Die

* * * HERE IS A SMALL FACT * * *
You are going to die.

This is one of the opening quotes in The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak). The personification of death makes the book worth reading on its own. I am especially intrigued with this book because death is a central theme in the young adult novel I am writing, The Lackawanna Prophecies--Howie and The Prince of Greed.

I read an article about the life of Walter Breuning, interviewed at the ripe age of 114, and not to long before he died. This is my favorite quote from him: "We're going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die."

Perhaps easier said than done, but at 114 years of age or those suffering great mortal pain, death comes as a relief. I experienced this in a personal way during the worst part of my recovery from a severe concussion. I was trapped in my own mind because any form of communication made me sick. For several days I couldn't watch TV, talk to my wife or kids, or even listen to music. It was just me in the dark--sunglasses-on-shades-drawn-lights-out kind of dark. I even had ear protectors to block out as much sound as possible. If that condition had been months and years instead of a couple of weeks, I would have welcomed death if and when it came.

I hope kids who read my novel will think differently about death, that it doesn't have to be this scary or horrible thing, especially in the natural course of life. Death can be beautiful and merciful. Billions and billions of people have experienced it, and some have lived to tell the tale. There's nothing wrong with being afraid of the unknown, but death is not the evil monster society and media often portray it to be. That classification belongs entirely to people who perpetuate it's untimely role.

So . . . getting back to my book, a possible hook might go something like this:

In a world where no one can escape death, some are chosen to experience it again and again.

* * * DON'T BE AFRAID * * *