“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things
you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.”
We are weaving a rich tapestry as we live,
of colors, images and moods.
This week, the black of death,
the turquoise of art,
the red of love and friendship.
I recently saw a Ted Talks video given by performance artist and urban planner, Candy Chang. It is a six-minute meditation on death and what matters in life. You can watch it here:
Her voice is low and soulful, full of gravitas. She did a performance piece in New Orleans after a great friend died, a woman who was like a mother to her. She found an abandoned building near where she lives, and put up a giant chalkboard, on which was written many times:
“Before I die I want to __________________,” with a space for people to fill in.
In 24 hours every line on four sides of the building was filled in. One man dressed as a pirate wrote, “I want to be tried for piracy.”
We’d like to celebrate our hundredth post of Paris Play next Saturday by asking you to participate in our third Surrealist Café. Just complete the sentence, “Before I die I want to __________.”
E-mail your completed sentence to us here by midnight, Paris time next Wednesday, September 19, and we will publish your answers on Saturday, September 22, at the Autumn Equinox. You may sign yours, or send it anonymously. But only one sentence, please. Don't post it as a comment to this story; use the mail link here.
The other night at dinner with three visiting friends, we talked of visitations. I told the story of my father’s beautiful death on September 11, 2006. It was beautiful because he fulfilled all his dreams, and was surrounded by people who adore him at the end. He appeared as a hawk the next morning outside my parents’ home, perched in a Palo Verde tree gazing at my mother and three sisters and me.
On September 11 this year, I had the atypical experience of not knowing the date until, after an art opening of the wonderful French journal, Soldes, Richard and I went to dinner with a new friend at an Indian restaurant where you can eat a good meal for five euros. That’s about $6.50. (Thanks, Demian.)
At every table around us were two or three Indian or African men. A French-speaking couple sat at a table near the door, the only other woman in the place. I figured that any Indian man in the neighborhood who was married was probably at home eating a home-cooked meal.
As we scarfed down rice and vegetables (and for the carnivores, lamb), samosas and naan, and brainstormed some new approaches to writing, photography and film, we became aware of a strange repetition of images on the Indian channel on the ceiling-level TV. Osama bin Laden, the twin towers falling, over and over again. I realized at once what day it was.
So many people who died in the falling towers in New York City, and in the United States' retaliatory efforts across the Muslim world since then, did not have a full span of years in which to fulfill their dreams. That is the tragedy.
We wish every one of you 100 years in which to realize your dream. And tell us, what is that dream?