Thursday, October 28, 2010


Was feeling a bit stressed this morning about workload, etc, wondering how/when everything that I want to do will get done, and also wondering just why I was doing it as well. Have been so caught up in the making of things and worrying about pendants being cast in time, and the resin having enough time to cure that I'd lost sight of the meaning behind my work...

But this reminded me...a look at how death is dealt with in science fiction/fantasy stories, with some fantastic quotes to go with it.
Here is the link, if anyone reading this is interested:

Here are the quotes that really resonated with me:

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.

- Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

I love this quote for the simple reason that it is a beautiful meditation on what we leave behind, all the little touches and traces that we leave on the world even after we are no longer in it.

This is very much a part of my work... creating little mementos that are essentially monuments to people we love, that encapsulate aspects of them, whether this is literal (the use of hair or other 'DNA things'), or more abstract, such as photographs. Not only do the pieces show the connection between people (given that the pendants can be split into separate components), but they contain some physical aspect that is immortalised. Ah, now that's the word. Immortal. By existing in this world, (as long as we are remembered, or the work that we leave behind reminds the living of the fact that we once were here) we create our own version of immortality.

I feel that this is the crux of this quote... the idea that something of us will always be left behind.
Below is the other quote that I couldn't resist posting:


The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments.

- Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

Having recently completed reading Slaughterhouse Five, there are actually a whole pile of quotes that I've been meaning to blog about for ages.

This quote is one of the main ones that really got me thinking. It is a musing by the protagonist about a race of aliens, who see the universe in four dimensions - they can see the past and the future. It is an interesting thought - that although someone may be dead, they are very much alive in the past. A strange comfort, perhaps, but I suppose to us mere humans (who can only sense three dimensions!), it is a reminder to not just mourn the dead, but to celebrate the lives they lived as well.

While I have still yet to come to grips with the idea of immortality through time travel (it does hurt my head a bit), it does make sense. In fact, it is just an extension of the idea that we leave traces of ourselves behind as we live... as we move through time in a linear fashion. However, if we were able to go back in time, live our lives in the 'wrong' order, then the paradoxes created would mean we always existed in certain moments... we'd be immortal for as long as the universe existed!

But I'm going to stop writing about this now, my brain is having a bit of a hernia. The only thing that remains for me to do is to consider how such thoughts might be worked into a pendant... maybe Mobius strips? ( Or patterns containing interconnecting circles (which represent eternity)?... Hmmm...


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