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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cheating Death

As you will have read in the last blog, I am writing a novella about what happens when a man is given three months to live. Maybe this preoccupation with death is just my age. Close friends have died this last year. It’s a conundrum to have them alongside me one moment and then not, the next. Thus it is that odd phrases are caught, mid-air, from what people say or from what appears in text. Phrases that stop you ‘dead’ because you hadn’t interrogated their meaning in depth. ‘Cheating death’ is one such. It is used a lot. People escape from infernos, the water, severe diseases and other seemingly impossible situations and we say that they cheated death. Death is personalised. The Grim Reaper. In The Seventh Seal the hero plays chess with death and can live as long as the game can be drawn out. But the end is inevitable. Cheating Death is anything from a momentary experience to a life long one. Babies cheat death. People live to a ‘ripe old age’ before succumbing to the scythe.

I’d like to cheat death for a little more time yet. I may be doing the right things, who knows? It appears it is all dependent upon telomerase. Look it up. If you have long ones you will go on awhile. If you have short ones then get your pen and paper out and write a fancy will. The startling news is that you can lengthen them. Diet, exercise, purpose in life and social networks. Can you be bothered? That’s the thing. Most people can’t until it’s too late. Once the sentence has been handed down, then they start scrabbling around for their 5 a day.

In Azimuth, Death is a Lifetaker and differs according to the person’s psychological baggage. S/he can be anything from a cuddly pet to a devil with horns. We live uniquely and we die uniquely.


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