So I was inspired by both Peter and Ryan's last blogs, about death dreams and ear spiders, respectively. Ryan, thank you for triggering my gag reflex. Anyhow, my first reaction was "Wow. Spiders in my ear. That's like, my greatest fear." And then I vetoed that thought because my greatest fear, ever since I was about four years old, is being crushed by a piano.
Needless to say when we were moving the pianos up the back stairs for Fluxus I 'bout done had a heart attack as I stood on the landing squeezing my intestines and feeling my jaw petrify from bone into stone.
I don't know whether this fear came from the fact that I was forced to play the piano when I was a child; I knew instinctively that it wasn't my forte and I was afraid I wasn't going to be quite good enough at it. Or whether I just hated practicing and thoughts of death by piano was actually a rebellious fantasy. All I know is that I would often stare at our beautiful antique stand-up piano and imagine myself under it, being pressed, contained, suffocated, more afraid of being conscious while it was happening than of the pain itself.
I also had a recurring dream of infinity, where I would be forced into some repetitive act in the afterlife, and again, the fear of being conscious during this endless afterlife overrode any fear of pain. The first dream that I can remember, again when I was four years old, was that I was stuck in a piano key, a miniature me, forever and ever conscious of the white ivory walls as I was played, pressed, contained, suffocated. Only you can't suffocate when you are dead, can you?
I wasn't an overly-morbid four-year old. But what are the images that we initially associate with when we first become conscious of death? Why? And are we interested in the why, or more interested in the physical reactions to these images? The what. I like the what, because I often feel like it's not my job to ask why. You could ask why for eternity, and never find the answer. And that would be suffocating.