writer  •  editor  •  researcher
Jim Van Buskirk
  Photo by Kent Taylor

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  Download Jim's
Death: A Selective Bibliography
in PDF format



"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." -- Marcus Aurelius

ďThe fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.Ē -- Mark Twain

These two quotations, centuries apart, say the same thing. I have recently been exploring our reticence as a society to discuss the one thing we all have in common: death. Denial and magical thinking wonít wish it away, acknowledging its inevitability will free us to embrace life to its fullest. As I witness friends, and parents of friends, I see that there are lots of ways to move toward our final destination, none right or wrong, but like many things, more meaningful if executed mindfully.

To begin to demystify that mysterious ďawfully big adventureĒ that awaits us all Iíve been reading voraciously, watching documentaries, and talking to friends. Iíve been compiling a bibliography on varous aspects of the phenomenon: medicalization, funeral industry, hospice care, Near Death Experience, reincarnation, etc. Take a look and let me know if important works are missing.

Iím helping to develop programming at the San Francisco Public Library scheduled for early 2016Ė stay tuned.

Iíve become involved with Death Cafť and have begun hosting meetings.

My boyfriend and I have purchased, decorated, and unveiled our niche at the San Francisco Columbarium (and arranged for our cremations). I have written a will and am continuing to put my affairs in order. My newfound fascination is really a way to encourage myself and others to celebrate every moment of life. so letís carpe (fucking) diem.

So chose your euphemism (here are some suggestions) and join me on an acknowledgement of deathís inevitability as we celebrate life: be six feet under, bite the big one, bite the biscuit, bite the dust, buy the farm, cark†it, cash in one's chips, check out, croak, decease, disincarnate, draw one's last breath, expire, give up the ghost, go belly up, go the way of all flesh, go the way of the dinosaurs, hand in oneís dinner pail, join the choir invisible, keel over, kick the bucket, knock off, lose one's life, meet one's maker, pass away, pass on, perish, pop one's clogs, push up daisies, shuffle off this mortal coil, snuff it, succumb, take a dirt nap, turn up oneís toes, transition...