Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Lieu of Flowers

You know that school assignment where you have to write your own epitaph? I was thinking of that tonight as I was going to sleep. When I die, what do I want to have done well? What do I want to have done at all?

Mothering, of course. Nobody wants to be a bad mother. My kids are awesome for a magnum opus, a great work, but if that's all—?

So writing is really right up there with things I've got to do. I'm writing a time travel novel right now, but that's not exactly what you want on your tombstone. Then I imagined a stack of books I'd written, and that seemed much better than any particular one. Maybe they could dip them in bronze like baby shoes & stick that on my tombstone.

Then I wondered if the written stack would be taller or shorter than the stack of books I've read (if they were stacked up, too), & I realized what a schmutz I'd look like if the reading stack was shorter.

Next I tried to decide which book I'd like to be buried with. Then I decided maybe it would be a good idea to have mourners bring copies of their favorite books—you know, instead of flowers. And I could be buried with all of those, for something good to read in the afterlife. (I've been reading too much Egyptian history.)

Once I'd settled on this comforting image of being buried in books, I realized that I'd be leaving behind the library I am building now for my kids, in a weird sort of life-cycle motif. I was about to happily drift off, thinking of death and books, when the baby woke up. Again.

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