The Way a Woman Writes

Elizabeth Gilbert – Author of “Eat Pray Love”

I enjoy the way a woman writes. It is as if she is gossiping. Obsessing over a piece of information as if it is the most important thing in the world. I imagine it would be difficult to tear her away from such a conversation even to make love.

Therefore, I shall endeavor to write much like these women. Obsessive, gossipy, focused. 

Authors like Elizabeth Gilbert, Gillian Flynn, JK Rowling. Like it or not, these are my literary heroes. 

I should like nothing more than to obsess over the issue at hand! Are you kidding? There’s no greater pleasure! What’s an issue?

Death. 

There’s a large bully to punch! Consider this: did you know that when the living do finally bite the bullet, their brains decay into dust. Leaving no trace of consciousness beyond death. The mere suggestion that life goes on afterwards is the epitome of wishful thinking. I don’t dare resist the temptation of heaven, but I do find it a bit shortsighted and overused as a pillow under the heads of the dead. Bury me, and I will tell you tales of the afterlife. Kill me, and I will see you long after my ashes have been burned as I wait for you in the life afforded to us by the concept of the soul. 

Death tells you it’s coming. Don’t be mistaken. The beauty of life’s mystery is you don’t know when your last breath will be, and if you should survive the injury that has befallen you or the years that have rotted you, the heart that has failed you, or the bug that eats you from the inside out, you will live only to breathe for another day.

Oh don’t ask me what to do with life! It is a poetry written by autumn’s leaves, or drops of rain, the pity within tear stains on a restaurant napkin followed by the birth of a new child— I do not own the mystery enough to tell you it’s deepest secrets.

Where those secrets live lies the concept of the soul. The thing that fades as you seek it. That hides in the text of your chosen religion. And as you are told to be open enough to find whatever a soul may be, you become lost. Yet you haven’t forgotten the problem of emptiness that plagues all living creatures.

What you do after losing yourself in search of a soul which has left you feeling utterly without one, is anybody’s guess. And by the time you find a reason to stick around, your last breath is a fine hair away. What do you do then?

Oh what does one do?

One dies…

It is the end of all being, all suffering, all joy, all love, all space, all time… for you that is. You have expired. You have solved the problems you could. Faced all the monsters you could with all the might you could have mustered. Done all you could.

Do me a favor, don’t let it be that you died doing only all that you were allowed to do. Let no one give you permission to decide. To choose. Then, once you have made your decision, celebrate your moxie, your courage, your self-conviction. Celebrate your audacity to let no one stop you.

If a choice is difficult, choose the familiar. If a choice is easy, choose the path less taken. You cannot learn to ride a bike whilst sitting on a couch. You also cannot live forever.

I will not write as if I have never known obsessive, gossipy, focused literature. I will not live like it either. Nor will I die having not chewed upon its tusks.

Farewell.

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