Why I’m Writing This Blog

Let’s start with another bad relationship:  me and maps. I can’t read them. First of all, I don’t get the whole north/south/east/west thing.  I think whatever way I’m facing is north. So even if I have a map, I always ask someone, like say the hotel doorman in Rome.  He’ll point up the street and say, “Siempre dritte.” Then he says it in English. “Straight ahead.” Then he shows me on the map and repeats: “Siempre dritte, straight ahead.”  “Yes,” I say, slightly arrabiata that he seems to think I’m a cretina.  “I get it, “Siempre Dritte.  Straight ahead.”  And off I go.

But soon after, I look down a side-street and there is an antiquarian bookstore that specializes in medical drawings from the 16th century.  That’s something you don’t see that everyday!  So I veer off the straight and narrow, just for a moment, figuring I’ll go down the street, turn left, turn left again and come back to the main drag.  

But no, this is Rome, remember?  The street meanders right and left and before you know it, it’s six hours later, I’m back in my hotel room, and my feet are bleeding from blisters.  

That’s when I read the map…not to tell me where to go but to find out where I’ve been.

Which is how I imagined dying.  I figured that while cancer would make the last stages of dying painful and the opiates to make the pain tolerable would cloud my mind, there’d be a period beforehand where I could look back over my life and try to connect the dots.  Or at least, review them, relive them, take pleasure in the serendipity that produced them. (Just so you know, serendipity is my version of divinity. The only thing – other than quantum physics and chaos theory - that makes sense as the guiding principle of life.)

But here’s what I forgot: I’m not just dying, I’m living.  Living and dying at the same time. And finding the balance between living and dying is as hard – or harder – than finding the balance between work and family, self-interest and the interest of something larger than oneself, protein and carbs. (I’m embarrassed.) Really, Life is incredibly demanding.  I have to shepherd the movie on which I’ve been working for many years through its final technical stages; strategize a marketing and distribution plan; tend to the personal affairs that would otherwise burden my daughter and her husband after my death; do the final touches on the wonderful new house in the woods to which I moved in February so I could be in constant relationship to Actual Reality – Nature!; write to the one person I feel I perhaps treated badly (I mean I did have a brain tumor, but still…).  

In short, I’m too busy to die.  Or at least to enjoy the process while I’m still able to.  I figure the only way I can do that and give dying equal claim to my attention and energy as I do to living is to turn it into work.  That’s why I’m writing this blog.

Still, that leaves another question:  why should you read it?

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