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Mourning Martin | 2015 | Pros at Cons: No Such Convention 2015


Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.  

-Ernest Hemingway

The Story of How I Am about to Die

As I encourage the kids to write, I watch the snow pile up. The library pays me to spend two hours a month working with them. Last month, I was pushing twenty kids, eating the sweets the library puts out and excitedly plotting a universe. Today, I have five and two are shy strangers intimidated by the main groups' talk of an anthology.

Over all, I have genuine respect and affection for these kids. I do not think I was as driven as they are when I was their age. I would love to catalyze the creation of a truly stunning author to entertain me in my dotage. I see endless potential in them. Their parents and teachers have fostered liberal interest and genuine confidence.

This is not my immediate concern today, however. As I watch the snow coat a car outside the window, I begin writing a story in my head, the story of how I am about to die. As I plot out the things I have to do, I tell this same story often. The more tragic, heavy-handed plot points circumstance has pulled in, the more likely I am about to meet my doom.

Here I stand, working with darling teenagers while my pixie of a wife plots out the first Valentine's Day of our marriage. The night before, from morbid necessity, we conversationally discussed the preferred outcome of our bodies post-mortem. Now, the snow piles up. Too many factors have aligned against me. I will never make it home alive.

I acknowledge that this is a sort of magical thinking. Logically, I can tell myself that nothing will happen, that there's nothing to be worried about, but I'm too much of a writer to accept that sometimes the unfortunate does happen. Sometime, reality is a bastard. I badly do not want to word "ironically" in my obituary.

However, my neuroses offer me an out. If I consider how ridiculous this obituary will look, how utterly on the nose this all seems, and thus drive at a snail's pace and refrain from taking any road less travelled, perhaps I won't careen into a telephone pole.

Soon in Xenology: More timely entries?

last watched: Bob's Burgers
reading: Hyperspace
listening: Sia

Mourning Martin | 2015 | Pros at Cons: No Such Convention 2015

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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