When I was a kid, I was terrified of dying. I knew what people thought of the afterlife, but I never bought it, never saw the angle (what’s in it for God?). If it was to exist, all I could imagine was nothing. Literally, a void where I would float for ever, or at least until I’d completed some innane, tedious task like blinking your left eye, and only your left eye 300 million times.
I’d wake up in the middle of the night, unable to escape that thought. When left alone with my thoughts for too long, like in the shower (especially in the shower, actually) I’d end up screaming. I’d scream til I calmed myself, usually by thinking of the small things in life, the immediate concerns of homework and spaghetti for dinner. This was a temporary fix, and I knew The Thought would soon return. The only truth seemingly ever worth thinking about: One Day You Will Die.
One day it changed. Or rather, one day I realised I hadn’t screamed for a while. Not sure why…perhaps the more pressing issues of girls, money and artistic fulfilment finally got the better of me.
Of course, Life goes on and Death remains everywhere. Decay to the left, neglect to the right. It is the fate of everything in this Universe, including the Universe itself (give or take 10 trillion years).
So no avoiding that then, but it’s as evocative as it is irrepressible, death and love being the two grand motivators behind actions and drama.
For me, it had always been death that greased the creative wheels. I’m not sure why – I’d like to believe this is due to my mother, but the only inspiration I get from her, if you can call it inspiration, is the idea of her floating in aforementioned void, maybe a few million blinks in. Maybe its just a mindset…because death, and endings in general do occupy the majority of my thoughts. This is invariably confused with pessimism, but it really doesn’t feel like that. It’s just that it really “does it” for me creatively.
I remember when I started dating my first girlfriend. I was completely smitten: smiling, helping people out, singing constantly – generally nauseating to be around. And I couldn’t pump out any lyrics for our band. Not a word for 3 months. It ended….and Patel smashes out 10+ songs, all morose, but all existent at least.
I realise this is a common dichotomy, but I wanted to explore it a little while I kill time on the Waterloo – Bexley Diwali Express. Which are you, dear reader? Lover or…Deather.
For you Lovers, I adore you and jealous your happiness but you’ll never beat Death for gravitas.
(Remember that as you live your happy, affection flooded existences – I’ll see you in the void)