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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reinventing the Dead

Allow me to vent!

Famous people don't die.  Their bodies do, but their spirits enter this alternate sphere of existence where we get to make of them what we want. Some become icons, one word brands that refer only to them, Gandhi, Roosevelt, Guggenheim, King (not Don or Rodney but Martin Luther), Marilyn, Dean, Shakespeare, Jobs, the list goes on.  In life they are theirs, in possession of their identity and mind and heart and soul.  Post death, they become ours.

This remaking, this reinvention of the dead, over and over, generation through generation, not only immortalizes the dead, but makes them into character.  This reinvention allows us to manipulate them, change them, attribute to them qualities and attributes they may never have had in real life.  So, Mark Twain continues to make appearances on stage, smoking his pipes, throwing out witticisms.  He becomes interpreted by each generation that confronts his being, or absence of being.

I am writing this because I am thinking of a story. I am thinking of a story to write because I am fascinated by how memory works to reinvent the people we have lost.  I am interested in memory because resurrection is not possible in any other way other than through the imagination.  Even though the people who we have lost that are important to us we rarely know.  So imagination supplies the tools where facts are missing.  The story I am writing is called "Reinventing the Dead." It'll be up here soon.  Hopefully someone will read it.

Sorry, I just needed to vent.