Julian Barnes wrote Nothing To Be Frightened Of, a memoir about death, “in order to make the fear familiar.” I’m not sure he succeeds, but he does write with a compelling “matter-of-factness” about the subject:
I suspect that if I get any sort of decent dying time…
Because of the How We Spend Our Days series, I wanted to share this story that he recounts. A biographer friend of Barnes’ wanted to write about his life. The biographer’s husband joked that it would be a short book because all of JB’s days were the same:
Got up. Wrote book. Went out, bought bottle of wine. Came home, cooked dinner. Drank wine.
I can understand wanting to get familiar with death. Unless you are a medical professional, we are mostly isolated from dying. People once died at home. Our ancestors cleaned the bodies that were displayed in the parlor. The way we deal with it now makes it more shocking. I even found it difficult to watch the TV series Six Feet Under. But it was a great show, so I watched till the coffin lid closed on the series.
Barnes wrote that while he’d seen only two dead people, he’d never seen anyone die. Neither have I. We’ve definitely isolated ourselves from death.