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  • Susan Russo Anderson

10 Advantages To Surviving Your Own Death

One of my characters, Serafina, has a mother, Maddalena who survives her own death. This, according to Serafina. One of her friends, as well, claims to have seen Maddalena climbing the steps to Oltramari's cathedral and disappearing through its closed bronze doors.

But then Serafina and her mother are characters, and like all of mine, they haunt me, suddenly appearing in the forefront of my brain giving me advice or smiling ruefully or doing whatever it is they do before disappearing again.

Who knows why they appear*, they just do, long after their last novel. Like all characters, they never die, even though they may have book died.

“Surviving your own death can be tricky,” says Serafina, “but there are advantages. Here are ten:

  • You can spend your own payout.

  • No need to struggle with decisions. You have the hindsight of history, the great perspective—in my case, 187 years. Or, is it that history is no more?

  • You can surprise the relatives. Take, for instance, Teo, my son-in-law. But that’s another post.

  • You can be in several places at once and in several different time slots. Or not. Just paddle around all day on your own cloud.

  • No need to diet. Eat whatever, wherever, whenever.

  • You can vote early and often and all over the place.

  • You can laugh at the high price of gasoline.

  • You know what everyone else really thinks about you.

  • No more to-do lists: think about doing something, and it’s done.

  • You can start your own deus ex machina rental business.”

*They tell me Marcel Proust was one of the first to discover that memory is involuntary. There’s a famous scene in In Search of Lost Time: the character bites into a madeleine cake and remembers episodes in rich detail from his childhood. It’s Proust’s “madeleine moment,” the sensory cue that triggers a memory. Anyway, if you’re a masochist, you can read all six complete and unabridged volumes of Proust’s masterpiece here. A warning: Proust was not afraid of longueurs.

On another note, you can glimpse Serafina here—alive, if not quite in the flesh.


Photo: cover, Death of a Serpent. Design: Avalon Graphics

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