Creativity in the Face of Mortality

I’ve always been in awe of people who, when they receive the news of their approaching death, meet it with continued creative work. The recent death of Chadwick Boseman brought it to the front of my mind again. People were in awe of the fact that every single film he acted in since 2016, including the physically demanding role of the Black Panther, he performed while undergoing treatment for cancer.

What is it that drives a person to keep creating in such circumstances? Is it just the momentum of habit? Is it the need to leave your mark on the world? Is it the the feeling that whatever you have within you to share, you must work quickly before your minutes on earth run out?

I think of neurologist Oliver Sacks who wrote so much in his final months that his essays were collected into a book called Gratitude.

David Bowie died days after releasing his final album Blackstar.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a good death or a “right” way to die; but if I have any control at all on how I face that transition, I hope that I am able to meet it with the ability to keep creating, in whatever form that takes.

Yesterday I read the moving letter from knitwear designer Cat Bordhi to Ann Shayne of Modern Daily Knits. I recommend popping over and reading the full post but something she wrote particularly struck me.

Knitting has the most marvelous ability to free up the knitter as a human being, while masquerading as innocent knitting. It is actually the best personal trainer you will ever find, offering spiritual guidance all along the way. I am so glad this is what shall carry me Home over the next week or so. 

Cat Bordhi

“I am so glad this is what shall carry me Home.”


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