Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Live like you were dying

I want to talk today about living like you're dying.

No, this is not meant as some sort of inspirational shmaltzy post.  (Is that even spelled right?  Does it matter?)

I was driving the other day, as I am wont to do being a commuting student, and the Tim McGraw song, "Live Like You Were Dying" came on the radio.  (I was actually listening the radio, if you can believe it.  Usually I have a CD in.  I don't really listen to much that's current so the radio bores me very quickly.)

It got me thinking.  What would I do if I were told I had a limited amount of time to live?

Well, first off I'd get a second opinion and find out what my options were to extend that.  (I mean, my dad was told he had six months.  He died two years+ later and not of what he was told would kill him in six months' time.)

Then I thought about it.  School and work would be pointless, obviously.  So I thought that if I had the funds, I'd travel.  I'd go back to London.  I'd see Paris.  I'd hit New York again if I could.

And I'd write like heck to finish Lodestar before I ran out of time.

I'd hug my nephews, take pictures with them, leave them bits of sage advice.  (Ahem, just ask her out instead of playing coy with ruses to figure out if she likes someone else.  Did I just say that out loud?)

I'd hug my horse and my dog, cry into their fur, laugh at their antics.

Then I got to thinking.  What would my MC do if he found out he had a limited amount of time to live?

I mean, really?

At this point in the novel and in his life he's pretty much achieved some of his biggest dreams.  I'm not sure I want to say too much about it all.

I think he'd probably seek out his ninth grade English teacher and thank the man for all he did.  (If the book ever hits shelves and it stays in there, you'll know what I mean.)  He'd go out fighting though.  Tooth, sword, nail, and arrow.  He'd likely die from a sword wound because someone got careless and didn't dull their blade before a demonstration at a Renaissance Faire.

But I couldn't come up with much more than that.  And it's got me thinking that there needs to be some big regret in his life.  I need to figure out what it is and maybe it'll add a little more depth to my character than already exists.

What about your MCs?  What would they do if they suddenly knew exactly when their time would be up?  (You can share what you would do if you like, but I didn't want to get sappy here.)


  1. Actually, my MC does know when her time is up. She's fighting against it like crazy, so she runs away from home. I don't know that I would do that, but it works for her.

  2. This doesn't go for my current MC, but:

    Live life as normal. You'd be surprised how many people do that.

    (For realz.)

    Great post!

  3. I'd spend every minute possible with my children! :-)

  4. My MC thinks her time will be up soon, so she's fighting hard against the clock. She refuses to let it be the end.

  5. A human's will to live is an amazing thing ... maybe it's a gift from God that most of us DON'T know when the end is.

  6. What a great question. I think my MC's live on the edge of dying all the time. They survive. They fall in love. They enjoy good food. That's what I'd do. Just keep living.

  7. My MC would choose death over living a life she felt trapped in. So if she was really going to die? I think she'd finally say out loud that all she needs is love.

  8. Good question! Like Elena said, my characters are living with death as a constant threat. But they're fighting a war, so I don't think they could have a last supper experience, you know? I agree about your traveling idea. I'd go see as many places as I could and do as much good as I was able - Africa and AIDS victims, here I come!


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