A couple nights ago I caught up on my Dr. Who watching and was so excited I actually could NOT sleep. I kept turning over in my head this idea that’s been percolating for some time. I've always been a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi type stuff. I love to read and go to the movies, as a kid especially that escapism was really important to me.
Since my diagnosis a more specific type of escapism has started happening. Something about my Dr. Who and my True Blood fandoms has occurred to me. I've never before been so emotionally attached to media before. I have lots of books and movies that speak to a part of me and influence me, deeply, lastingly. But in the intensity of fandom, especially craving the next new installment felt so different I was really trying to examine it.
In both the Dr. Who and True Blood universes there is a theme of healing, living forever. True Blood is about vampires as most of you know, and in this particular imagining vampire blood is both a mind altering drug and has the ability to heal humans. In fact I was shaken in reading the latest True Blood novel (known as the Sookie Stackhouse novels). The author finally introduced a character that has cancer, and as written vampire blood can sustain life, but even it cannot manage to heal terminal cancer. It was more fun to wonder about the possibilities before she simply laid it out there.
Dr. Who is about a man “The Doctor” who is a different race, a Time Lord. His entire species is dead, he is the last of his kind, and so he spends a great deal of his time with humans, but the doctor as a member of a time traveling super-race can't actually die. When he is killed he regenerates instead in a new body. He has the same memories, but a new face, new body. He also through his ability to travel through space and time he takes on this facet of a almost magical being in that the major drive of the show is him darting around the universe doing impossible things to save the day.
I'm still struggling to flesh out this greater theme but as when I was a kid and things were often difficult I could retreat to the world of books. So too, I think maybe I can build a future of my own making through the power of imagination.
One tactic that developed all on it's own when I get really scared about the future or want to start freaking out a bit about my health is a habit of envisioning death as imagined by Terry Pratchett the fantasy author. In his books death features again and again and he is not a scary figure, he simply is, when he interacts with humans he knows everything about them and is already a friend. He also has a dry British sense of humor. Whenever I’m dealing with heavy shit I have Terry Pratchett's death perched on my shoulder to calm me down. He's pocket sized.
Now, Terry Pratchets concept of the after-life is an even greater idea, but perhaps I leave that for another post.