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After the Golden Age by Alvin Schwartz
Giving a glimpse into the formative years of comics and beyond.

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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 10/11/2004
Vol. 2, #144

The End of Something is Always the Beginning of Something Else, Otherwise How Could Anything Have An End?

Last week I concluded that life's manifestations never end. Because at a certain point of disequilibrium the energy imbalance flowing through a structure can rock itself (my term) into a new dissipative structure. That thought has special meaning for me this week.

As you all know, I'm getting up there. Next month, I'm in double-eights. In fortune telling, that's supposedly good luck. It also marked the life span of my father. As for myself, this past month, I paid my first visit to a cardiologist. I was having a steady diet of angina attacks which at first I thought were caused by digestion problems.

Not at all. Hardening of the arteries is the real story. Along with various other symptoms, claudication of my right leg, which means there was insufficient arterial flow to sustain my walking any longish distance without having to rest so the blood could come back again. I tried a cane, but that didn't help much either. In the end, the cardiologist told me there was a drug to solve the whole thing, with minor side effects. Called a calcium channel blocker. Basically, it expands the old clogged arteries, so you're suddenly ten years younger in your functioning. But, the sign was there that I was starting to break down, just like many of my friends who hadn't lived nearly as long. Actually knowing that it's happening is a lot different from the common expectation that we wear out these bodies of ours and, at the very least, undergo a major change of identity.

So now, I'm starting to think about the whole thing a lot more directly. Maybe I'll be around for a year or even ten years yet. But the termination of Alvin Schwartz as I know him is clearly in sight. How do I deal with that? First, for me, it's keep writing. That's where I'm truly myself. Second, get to know what there is about that so-called "myself" that I might be able to take with me. What's permanent, in other words, about Alvin Schwartz? No, it's not my writing. It's permanent in a certain way when I'm doing it. What about the various books I still hope to publish? Flub-dub! They'll either be forgotten or remembered for quite a time, but they are still time-bound. And anyway, once the work is out there, it's not mine anymore.

The answer, for me, lies more in the way my presence is a continuing part of this universe, of that totality in which we are all essential, and from which not one jot can ever be lost without the whole universe being lost. And that's inconceivable. In short, as I've mentioned somewhere else in these columns, the infinite leans upon the finite. The particular is all, the all. Or as a teacher of mine once said, using the analogy of hunting: "The fox is in the mirror and the mirror is in the hunter. Isn't it a strange coincidence that they both wear red?"

Well, folks, that's where it is this week. Along with Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I like Thanksgiving Day better than Columbus Day anyway, because, considering what we know now about Pre-columbian civilization, I'm not so sure the role of Columbus ought to be celebrated beyond his proving that it was very difficult to fall off the edge of the earth.

In view of that, I'm also taking a similar view of my mortality. Once you ARE, there's really no edge in sight. Not really. And I'll be glad to discuss it with anyone who's interested.

--Alvin

<< 10/04/2004 | 10/11/2004 | 10/25/2004 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Round Table.


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