Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.
-Neil Gaiman on the Introduction he wrote for Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Dressed in silky black, spider tattoos crawling across her face,
Holding a bottle of beer and cigarette papers on one hand,
knocking at my door with a grin on her face and a smirk in her eye,
watching the random chaos inside my living room die down
as I open the door to let the two-legged demon in
“Haven’t seen you in a long time, Death, how’s it going?”
Polite nods all around, as everyone is forced into a monologue of their lives.
Listing our achievements and regrets in bullet points:
I still haven’t traveled because of this.
I still haven’t left him because of that.
Gulps and shoulders tensed, wasted time drawn out into the awkward silence
that Death forces us to realize.
“I missed you this time,” she says, taunting us with a long, black fingernail,
“But don’t think I won’t in a few months –”
Who let her in? someone mouths, trying to displace blame,
trying to delay the inevitable.
Death giggles as she circles the room and points
to the things that led her there–
Mini Ziploc bags imprinted with skulls, full ashtrays carrying a pyramid of cigarettes,
empty take-out containers breeding in a corner,
half-written suicide notes constantly updated by the year.
Everyone is stunned, looking at each other with wide-set eyes,
Temporarily we promise never to fall back into old habits,
Some of us even don masks and pretend to be born again.
We slip into blazers and formal pant suits, and gather around in silence,
so carefully nitpicking subjects and topics deemed most appropriate–
We hide behind polite gestures and senseless apologies,
all the while stepping into the surreal in-between of the post-mortem,
up until the next one goes.
After she leaves, everyone relaxes,
And slowly pick up barely visible threads of old lives.
What used to feel like the end slowly gets better,
Never thought losing someone can become hauntingly familiar.
Enough to welcome Recklessness and Excuses back into our every day,
until, of course, Death decides to slyly curtsey back into her party dress,
And ruin everybody’s high by knocking on our door.
Article originally from: flavorwire
By Emily Temple on Mar 25, 2013 3:00pm
A 17-year-old Ernest Hemingway as a high school junior. [via]
A teenage Neil Gaiman. [via]
A 16-year-old Flannery O’Connor, profiled in her high school paper. [via]
Philip Roth at his senior prom at Weequahic High School, 1950. He’s all the way in the back. [via]
At left, an 18-year-old Toni Morrison (then Chloe Wofford) with a few of her Lorain High School classmates. [via]
Fifteen-year-old Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. [via]
Gorgeous Mary Karr in her hometown, age 15. [via]
A 16-year-old Allen Ginsberg having a swell time. [via]
A 15-year-old Martin Amis with his famous daddy. [via]
Fifteen-year-old Sylvia Plath. [via]
Seventeen-year-old J.D. Salinger’s yearbook photo from Valley Forge Military Academy, 1936. [via]
At the far right, a 14-year-old Virginia Stephen, soon to be Woolf. [via]
Anaïs Nin at 19. [via]
A teenage Maurice Sendak. [via]
Margaret Atwood’s Leaside Highschool senior yearbook photo. [via]
Samuel Beckett as a very serious 14-year-old. [via]