Some tombstones that might be appropriate for me:

1. I'm done talking about it, obviously (*rolls eyes*)
2. Shhh!
3. Moved to a new url; please update your bookmark

As Halloween approaches Jackson continues to beg us to take him to World of Magic, a costume store that opens up for a month before Halloween every year, to look at all the fake amputated hands and moaning mummies. I bought him a secondhand book about mummies (which he pronounces "mum-ME" for which reason we know not why) which is really fucking gnarly, but he seems okay with the frozen bog guy mummy, and the horrible screaming Incan sacrifice mummy (if you define "okay" as "waking up at night crying and shaking"). We've actually had a few talks about death -- killing a couple of goldfish helped illustrate the concept -- but he hasn't said a word about an afterlife, so, you know, whew. Because then it would be time for choices.

A Modern Child's Choice of Vaguely Christian Afterlife Scenarios

1. Everlasting darkness (like you're sleeping)
2. Some temporary darkness, followed by A Guy In A Beard assessing your entire life down to the teeniest decision you ever made, like when you stepped on all those ants!, followed by His judgement, followed by
a. an eternity of harp calluses, or
b. an eternity of futile requests for ice water

3. A long tunnel with light (and relatives, and perhaps pet GOLDFISH) at the end
4. (see below)

My concept of the afterlife was forever dented by a teenage reading of James Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover, a book-length poem detailing Merrill's ouija board conversations with a newly-dead W. H. Auden, which paints the uberwelt as a sort of vast bureaucracy running at breakneck speed, overseen by huge black bats. Believe me, it's very clique-y up there, with there being several competing versions of the Algonquin Round Table, apparently, and also a lot of talk about God-as-biology.*

It's preferable in some ways to what I gleaned after skimming the first chapter of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which describes the moments after dying as filled with an "intense restlessness," which doesn't sound that bad, but I bet once you're there you're like, Oh, shit, nobody told me! When they said intense restlessness they really meant INTENSE FUCKING INESCAPABLE ANXIETY THAT SHUDDERS WITHIN THE VERY MARROW OF YOUR BONES. But if you're a Tibetan monk and you've spent your life (or perhaps several lifetimes) preparing for (yet another) death, then you've got a leg up on me, Lhundup old boy.

Anyway, I'm not going to tell Jackson about that just yet, he has enough on his plate right now with us sticking knives into pumpkins and disgorging their brains and toasting them with salt.

*I never told you about how I stalked James Merrill, did I? How I read the book, then I read the book again, then I wrote him a letter, then he sent a nice postcard back!, then I went to a reading and got introduced to him, and that's when he saw that the look in my eye didn't say "charming budding poet," it said "insecure and CRAZY budding poet." Extra Crazy, because I moved into a rental about two blocks away from Merrill's house, in Stonington, CT, and then would stand on the sidewalk and stare up at his windows, and call his house, and get shouted at by his partner, David Jackson. *sigh* There are a lot of things I wish I could not do over again, and that's one of them.