So, here’s the deal. For at least 11 years I’ve been wrestling with
a major question: what is the most effective way to get my Message out
and have it heard. For those of you who have yet to hear or understand
my Message, suffice it to say that, while it is not intellectually
challenging, it is, emotionally and culturally, virtually
The last couple of years an idea has been gaining credibility with me
and I don’t like it much. Not at all, in fact.
The idea is to prepare my next book and, if I don’t find at least an
agent shortly thereafter, self-immolate in a “publicity stunt” to try to draw
attention to the Message in the hope that someone else might be inspired by my example to take the issue seriously and “pick up the baton,” hopefully with more success than I.
It’s probably just crazy, but I’ll be damned if I can get it out of my mind.
One of the concerns I would be attempting to contend with via this strategy is an awareness of what I call “seizing up.” You’ve all seen examples of the phenomena: it’s
when the endgame suddenly takes over one’s life in the form of
terminal illness, dementia, insurmountable disability, or excruciating
pain. Or any of the multitude of other ways it may happen.
Recognizing the creep in that direction via M.S. in my own life, last
year I made a series of deadlines for myself. The idea is that, since
seizing up is usually attained in a matter of minutes, comes without
warning, and frequently leaves the victim incapable of doing anything
so dramatic as self-immolation in its aftermath, I would have to set a
deadline to guarantee that the pyrotechnic option was available to me.
I set quarterly check points into the scheme so I would be aware of
the impending date of my intended self-immolation at the end of the
year and could only postpone the date if I could justify doing so via
having begun to feel I was making progress. The idea was that making
some progress was a likely indicator that more might follow.
One year put the date of my exit at 12/12. At the three quarters mark I realized not much has been out there to make me think I was making any progress at all, and the progress of the disease was a good reason to think there was not any safety in
delaying, since, if anything, there seemed to be more, not less, reason
to think the seizing up would come sooner rather than later.
But I’ve decided to postpone my “date with destiny” for a number of
reasons anyway. I have a nagging suspicion the main reason probably has more
to do with an innate cowardliness than it does with rationality. But none of this is clear. I mean, how much rationality can there be in the idea of self-immolation in the first place?
It may be “wishful” thinking that selecting a date again will have any
different outcome than did the original, but, who knows, with M.S. I may yet have a remittance and be granted something of a reprieve in the seizing up arena. That would be cool.
Maybe I’ll write more later, but, for now, addressing this topic is rather depressing. Suffice it to say that little has changed. 12/12 is, even for me, personally, an insignificant date.