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January 29, 2010

Can I be your estate's literary executor?

On Friday I had lunch with a friend who was passing through town, and we started talking about what will happen to us, after. As in the great big after.

Her boyfriend died last spring. The term "boyfriend" is a pale version of what he was, because they'd been together for years and had built a life together.

It was one of those tragedies that are as incomprehensible as they are unfair.

A car. A curving highway. A dark night. A bright young man. History.

What happened in the aftermath has gotten her thinking, almost a year later, about preparation: what would she want done, if something like that happened to her? It's not that she particularly cares about her objects or the associated rituals, she explained, but she wants to make things easier for those left behind.

"Like my journals. Who will ever go through those? What am I supposed to do with those?"

"Can I have them?" I blurted.

She is an artist whose works have more than once given me chills. Because they're so beautiful and so true. I've watched her art develop since we were in high school together, and I would respect and honor her intimate musings.

"Yes. Thank you. Take them. Do what you think is right."

"I would read through them an try to publish them for you," I promised.

"Okay. Yes. Thank you. Just be sure to edit out things I wouldn't want published. You'll know," she said, and I smiled, and then we laughed. Because it's kind of a ridiculous conversation. I hope, and believe, frankly, that there will never be a day where I'll need to curate her papers. But if the sad situation does arise, I will at least be grateful we had this conversation, eating sandwiches under a trellis on a sunny Friday in 2010.

[image via freestockimages]
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