Rising Up and Rising Down

Well, since I haven’t written in a while, I may as well write something now…even though I don’t have anything grandiose to put down. Perhaps that’s why I’m not writing much anymore: pressure. So this post will (hopefully) be light and care-free.

I’ve been reading a lot lately. Not so much fiction, unfortunately.

I’m currently reading William T. Vollmann‘s abridged version (~700 pages) of his original seven-volume (3,000+ page) tome Rising Up and Rising Down book dedicated to the attempt to establish a moral calculus to consider the causes, effects, and ethics of violence. So far the book is pretty great. The first section, “Three Meditations on Death”, I strongly suggest reading….but so far can’t find a link online…

I mention this book, 1. because I’m currently reading it, but also 2. because this ‘meditations on death’ comes at an apt time for me. In April a friend of mine committed suicide, and since then I’ve known two people who are very close to me who very nearly killed themselves as well. I’m very grateful they decided against that…

I wrote about that experience back in May…although, in my own way, I really just talked about Edouard Leve and his fantastic book.

However, those aren’t the only deaths I’ve had on my mind recently. My dad had a heart attack about a week ago. This is his third. Of all the three, this is the most mild, which, in one respect is great, but in another just reminds us that this is only leading up to the next big one. I very much expect my dad not to be alive sometime in the next 5 years. This is definitely sad… at least, I know I should feel that way. But somehow I don’t. I don’t have much in the way of a relationship with my dad. It’s just kind of non existent…which is sort of the same relationship he seems to have with everyone in his life. I won’t go on about it, but it is odd to know how you should feel, and not feel that way.

[note: I just want to point out that an update is in order from a previous post of mine. Back in December, I decided to give up drinking, for various reasons: hangovers, blackouts, money, health, and the fact that my dad is sort of a functional alcoholic. That is, the man gets his job done, and so is functional, but a lot of times when I would visit home, he would be so drunk he couldn’t talk. I think things have been better since then for the both of us: for the last 9 months I haven’t been drunk (except for once at an airport where we decided to drink since we had to wait till 5am to catch our flight), and my dad has become obsessed with the climate change crisis (which, I imagine, he must be sober to devour the amount of books he’s gone through recently)]

Another ‘death’ that’s on my mind is not one typically associated with death, but, in practical terms, is the same thing: losing one’s mind. Not my own, mind you, not yet. I’m talking about my mom. Every time I go up to visit my family, I get the eerie sensation that she is slowly losing touch with reality. This, to me, is very sad. I really like my mom, I think she’s a pretty cool lady, and I don’t know how I’m going to handle a slow descent into senility for her.

Maybe Vollmann’s ‘tough and sentimental’ writing will help me out…


About dontdontoperate

28 year old originally from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. H.B.Sc. from UofT with a major in chemistry and a double minor in philosophy and math. M.Sc. from UofT in physiology and neuroscience. Finished my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at McMaster in the fall of 2013.
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