2.24.2004

What's In A Name?

The staff of Choose Death would like to proudly announce the site's first lurker! Now, for a response to her question posed via email:

"What's the deal with the name? Choosing death is a horrible thing, I've had several friends try to commit suicide, and I can tell you from experience that choosing death always sucks, for the victims, their family and their friends."

Thank you for you the question and I understand your concern. Suicide (especially in youths) is always a tragedy. I understand that there are some exceptions, carefully weighed decisions made by adults, but that is a discussion that deserves a better forum than this page. So, in only the broadest of brushes, let me write in no uncertain terms that I do not condone suicide, or "choosing death." If anyone has come across this page while looking into death as a means of solving their problems, please get in touch with someone before you make an irrevocable decision. Try the Boys and Girls Club, a Unitarian Church, the old man sitting on the bench in the park, whatever. People are out there, they are looking for you, and you might be surprised by the kindness of strangers.

So where does "Choose Death" come from? Several years ago, when I first began playing R.Talsorian's Cyberpunk roleplaying game, I played with a GM who kept a series of cards emblazoned with the words "Choose Death" in successively larger fonts. When your character was really in the deep end, when the alternative was worse than death, he would hold up one of the cards. The larger the card, the better you understood the true depth of your predicament.

Funny how a hopeless situation could be understood in gradations of hopelessness, but that's just the cyberpunk esthetic. Dorothy Day said it best:

"If they come for the innocent without stepping over our bodies, cursed be our religion and our lives."

That about sums it up. A little old catholic lady stepping up to the front and telling the bastards to come get some.

Now that I spend the bulk of my free time skating (boards) and writing, Choosing Death continues to be a pivotal part of life. Every time you submit a story you open yourself to utter, complete and contemptible failure. Every time you try a new skating trick you do the same.

Even worse, the odds show that you probably will fail. Really, it's not even up for debate. Nearly all the manuscripts get rejected, and I cannot tell you how many times a night I take a serious fall onto concrete.

You (the writer) could choose to never submit your work, and be virtually guaranteed of a safe, quiet life. Or, you could Choose Death.

You (the skater) could choose to not learn or try new tricks, perfectly content with the ones you know, and probably never fall down again.

Or, you could Choose Death.

I'm not trying to diminish the pain of failure. Failure as an artist (in this case a writer) is deeply personal. But that's okay. Courage means having the ability to stand up to that terror and do your work regardless.

It is easy to live an average life. And if we try to live exceptional ones and fail? Guess what, the worst we can do is end up "average." So why not try for your dreams? Why not live your life "ferociously vulnerable"?

So, dear lurker, I'm not advocating suicide; really I'm choosing to Live by the fullest means available to me. But the only way to get there from here is by Choosing Death.

Today's Soundtrack: Choosing Death in music, the lyrics of an old Offspring song, that goes a little something like this:

"Well if they tried
Maybe they'd see
It'd do a little good to let the world be free
Handshake and a smile
Gets you on through
Then turn it all around with a suicide move."

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home