Live forever and die trying.
I need to live forever because I know I’m going to die soon. I’ve always known my life will be tragically cut short; I just don’t know exactly how short. A bus accident, plane crash, a terminal illness that has been destroying my body from the inside out for years, cigarettes, a baggy on the bathroom floor, something is going to do me in sooner rather than later.
I’ve been possessed by this feeling as long as I can remember and not for any good reason.
I’m in pretty good health, I exercise as much as any 24 year old writer can be expected to, I don’t even smoke that much if I’m not drinking. But I know I’m going to die soon, so I’ve made up my mind to live forever.
I’m not alone in this feeling. Ask any artist or content creator (the derogatory term for such a person) why they do what they do. Why they work such long hours for viciously low pay, they’ll probably tell you something like “I just love what I do!”, “It’s my passion” or “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Bullshit.
The truth is, they’re cowards. I know this because I, too, am a coward. I can’t possibly conceive of any world without me in it. I don’t believe in aliens, if there were other worlds of any importance I would be there.
We write silly little words, paint quaint little paintings, and make stupid little songs because we cannot face the fact that we will someday die, and nobody will care. People will care in the immediate sense: family, friends, acquaintances will at least be aware of your absence, but in the long run, you really won’t make a blip. Your entire existence amounts to less than nothing.
But some people manage to scramble to the top of humanity’s funeral pyre. Those people, the Kants, the Nietzches, the Hunter S. Thompsons, the da Vincis, and Kurt Cobains of the world seemingly live forever.
Nothing is a void. There is a noticeable absence of something in nothing. When the age of man finally comes to a close, humanity itself will be nothing. You? Just 1/107 billionth of that final nothing. Zooming in, it only takes a few generations to be more or less forgotten completely. We all end up less than nothing.
If existence in the human sense is simply energy trapped in meat, then those people truly are still alive. I think about Hunter Thompson everyday, anyway, despite the fact I have a physical collection of his works. Energy pertaining directly to him bounces around inside my meat at an alarming rate. The same applies to Kurt, Riley Gale, Bowie, Lou Reed, Mapplethorpe, Margret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan (the final two are regrettably kept alive in my mind out of pure spite); these people are more alive now than they really ever were when they walked the earth. Some people only ever live after they’re dead, a la Van Gogh.
They, like all other artists worth anything, were cowards. So afraid of dying that they sweated their entire existence to preserve a living record of themselves for other people to consume. How much of a raging narcissist must you be to think even for one second that your emotions are worth documenting in any medium, let alone documenting those emotions for the express purpose of public consumption? Fuck off. Every content creator should be institutionalized.
Artists are living proof that evolution has gone extraordinarily wrong. A cruel trick played upon us by nature or a malicious God. The artist will forget to eat, use narcotics, isolate family and friends, piss themselves and cry just to better document their feelings. But god damn, some of them do it so well. They do it so well that when we consume their feelings through their chosen medium, we think they’re our own. They make us aware of the things we’ve always known. They force our perspective to merge with theirs, and in that unification they make a new home within us, another addition to their apartment complex of influence. Like a parasite, they stick to our insides and feed, growing fat and bloated, even taking the wheel now and again. How many times have you begun to live slightly differently after connecting with a piece of art? I’m always doing it. I don’t take jobs because of what my dead heroes might think. I consult with them on risky decisions and use them to rationalize self-destructive behavior.
I know they’re alive. I speak to them everyday.
Every content creator knows this is true. That’s why we slave away in perpetuity to document how we feel for public consumption. It’s worth the risk, because if it doesn’t work, if nobody connects with how we feel we still die like the rest of you. But if it does work, if our silly words, quaint paintings and stupid songs connect with even a few people we get to live inside their heads. We won’t die like the rest of you. I refuse to die like the rest of you. I’m going to die, but first I’m going to do everything I can to claw my way to the top of the burning mound of bodies.
I am going to live forever and die trying.
I am a content creator.
I am a coward.