Three weeks after my partner Randy died of metastatic cancer, I called the oncology resident who had been his on-call doctor. I remember exactly how long it took me to make that call because I was in a place of noticing how long things took, with mild interest, like: when will I feel hungry? When will the best part of every day stop being when I’m asleep?
It took me three weeks to work up to hearing Randy’s doctor’s voice on the phone and simultaneously make words in English.There was something I wanted to ask her or, more accurately, something I wanted to make her say.
“If you’d known how [...]
Zadie Smith's done it again: her latest New York Review of Books essay, "Man vs. Corpse," is a gentle, vivid meditation on the impossibility of imagining yourself dead.
Walking corpses—zombies—follow us everywhere, through novels, television, cinema. Back in the real world, ordinary citizens turn survivalist, ready to scale a mountain of corpses if it means enduring. Either way, death is what happens to everyone else. By contrast, the future in which I am dead is not a future at all. It has no reality. If it did—if I truly believed that being a corpse was not only a possible future but my only guaranteed future—I’d do all kinds of [...]
Via Longreads, a piece by Brent Cunningham at Lapham's Quarterly that had me at hello:
In January 1985, Pizza Hut aired a commercial in South Carolina that featured a condemned prisoner ordering delivery for his last meal.
The essay covers many angles of this alternately compassionate, perverse and titillating idea—the paradox of "marking the end of a life with the stuff that sustains it," the plain fact that "eating and dying are universal and densely symbolic human processes." There's of course a lot of great history: in Rome, gladiators were feasted well on the night before the arena, and the Aztecs, as part of a [...]
Today the oldish-and-witchy Tumblr The English Ladye highlights Queen Tomyris, pictured, who reigned in Central Asia around 530 B.C. and apparently "defeated and killed the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great during his invasion and attempted conquest of her country." She also apparently "had his corpse beheaded and then crucified," and then "shoved his head into a wineskin filled with human blood." Furthermore, "She was reportedly quoted as saying, 'I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall.' " (!)
There's also a type of moth named after her (moth No. 25), although it's not yet clear to me why. Unless these [...]