What’s gonna happen to all these books when I die?

So I think about dying every day. I think about how I might die: I get hit by a car while driving, someone shoots up my place of work, inclement weather throws a building on me, I spontaneously combust or catch the plague, I drown, I get hit by a car or a bus while not driving. You get the idea, there’s lots of ways to die.

And because I think this way I try my best not to get too stressed out about things (maybe death thoughts are a holistic way to cope with my anxiety) and tell Mr. J and the cats that I love them as many times as possible because. I take the saying: ‘dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.’ I also really like: ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst.’ All the while I try to exist in the world as a not-depressed person.

So back to the question at hand. What is going to happen to all my books, all these projects I’m spending my time, love and tears on? I don’t have children and I don’t want children. My mother will hopefully die before I do so I can sell her house and pay off my student loans so they won’t go to her. My cousins and their children will probably not be interested in some distant relative’s self-published poetry. I have no idea what will happen to my digital book babies when I die.

And what if I did die tomorrow, Mr. J would be left with 11 unfinished manuscripts and nothing to do with them. I know some people who want their work published posthumously by a trusted party. I am not one of those people. If it’s mine and it’s not finished, don’t publish it. Because it’s not finished and I don’t want unfinished, sloppy work under my name.

I do know that once something is up on the internet it can be hard to get it off, so that’s comforting, I guess. But how to keep it from disappearing into the either? This is where traditional publishing is handy because you have someone else keeping your work in their archives if they decide to stop printing/distributing.

But I’m thinking 100 years in the future. Will my books still be on iBooks or Barnes and Noble’s nook store? The hope is yes.

But will the world still be around in 100 years? Will the internet still be around? I hope so.

But if not and the apocalypse happens when I’m an 80 old lady I will have to suicide out because fuck it I have arthritis and I’m not going to run around killing zombie mutants with my bad hip. Some aspiring, young adventurer will stumble upon my domicile and find a big 3-ring binder full of printed out copies of every word I’ve ever written and think, “I can make a fire!” And I’m glad that person would be warm that night. But still.

So if my work is going to be either burned for fuel or simply get deleted with a website goes offline forever AND if I could die today or tomorrow and my projects will never get done and it might not even matter if they do, then why am I wasting my time writing?

1. Because I’m writing for me. For now. I want my stories in my head out on paper for me to read in the now (the generalized now, not the now now).

2. It’s either this or binge watch Netflix and at least this way I won’t be napping all the time and my brain won’t rot.

3. I need something creative to do while I work at my day job (not at the same time, obviously. Though it would be awesome to tell a patient, “hey, I can’t give you a shot right now, I have to finish this chapter.”)

4. I’ve always been a writer. I was a writer when I was 4 and wrote my very first fan fiction (How Spider Saved Halloween, based on the book How Spider Saved Christmas by Robert Kraus) so I can’t really stop now.

5. And even though sometimes I am very cruel to myself about it, writing is fun.

6. My mom likes my stories.

7. You might like my stories too.


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Jessica Halsey lives in Arkansas and is working toward earning a degree in Laboratory Science while she writes books about werewolves and fairies, a well as many strange poems. She loves birdwatching and performing venipuncture. Her spark bird is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and her house words are, “Is there blood on the floor?”

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