• Travis Ryan

Epitaph Writing

Epitaph writing is a type of frenzied scribbles that a man or beast engages in when his mind has reached the foamy brine between despair and divine inspiration. As the psyche clings on to flotsam in a vain attempt to stay afloat, it realizes itself in its infinite fragility, and for the first time, really sees itself as a momentary flash of light in a universe full of stars.

It is at that critical moment, that a calm, encompassing clarity sets in as the being realizes it has but moments to express a final thought, possibly a handful of seconds to squeeze a lifetime of work into summation. A last hurrah in the format an Epitaph. These have been found carved in jail cells, rocks where people were trapped, even the stripped bark on a tree symbolizes the interpretive dance that a wounded white tail deer decided would be its last waltz.

It is the moments close to death that that bring us closer to meaning. The knights Templar would keep each other in a near death state for weeks in an attempt to communicate with God. To those who cringe at the mention of a deity (like myself), my apologies, the parallel is more to illustrate the process of coming close to death over and over in a search for purpose and meaning. It is rarely discussed because of the morbidity of the concept, but “good” writers and “artists” constantly shoot for that sweet spot between life and death in a form of necromancy that anyone with a pen and a death wish can practice. “death wish” is the wrong word, but then again aren’t all words? I’ve never written anything that left me satisfied…

The real visceral nature of writing my own epitaph again and again has left me in a position where, because of the fiendish process that for a life not yet over, where delirium and booze/drug induced psychosis converts into pure emotion on a frequency where my mind believes it is dying. Consequently, it makes peace with “God” and the paper, and then slides into oblivion. I have effectively recreated my own death, only to be “reborn” the next morning, with a new lease on life, and the most authentic, Real, shit I’ve ever wrote.

Despite the results, the problems with this are obvious. To ask someone to “die” with you over and over, in a search for something bigger and good writing is a bold (insane) request. Also, sometimes you don’t have a pen and paper on hand, and the epitaph takes the form of destructive lashing out. Also, relevant, the whole process is also wildly dangerous, however, ask anyone in the 27 Club, and they’ll tell you that the forces they played with were dark, and the risk is great, but the reward is that sometimes, you get to become immortal.

When you make a meager living out of constantly dying a few times a year, it really helps alleviate the old “fear of death” dilemma. A phoenix doesn’t fear time. Any figure that has lives on beyond human capacity has tapped into this free renewable resource. Anyone of them who has opened their third eye by threatening permanent closure to the other two, and wrote about it, are Epitaph Writers.

It is lonely on these shores, because nobody in their right mind wants to experience someone they Love or even like basically kill themselves again and again. But the presence of this process in every culture lends credence to the idea that someone has to do it... No-one taught it to me, but it is black magic by any definition. Anyone who has taken a life can explain to you that it becomes easier with experience, this is true with taking your own. Even temporarily. And just as the body has the ability to adjust to life’s challenges, it can do the same for death. We’ve been called “crazy”, “suicidal”, “morbid obsessives”, but the truth is this: Do you remember what it’s like to die knowing that everyone you Love, knows you Love them and they’ll be just fine? Do you remember your first day on this earth? The wanderlust of Every single thing being brand new? The first hour? First meal? First hug you ever had? Well, I do. Every single one because I’ve done and redone it countless times.

Death is not the end, it’s the beginning date, of when you start living. And like all adventures if observed from the beginning you can get some pretty interesting stories out of it. People have asked me how I live this way despite the consequences. That’s because we have different consequences, mine come in the form of rebirth, or worst-case scenario an even greater and infinite journey into the great unknown. High risk, high reward, Ill roll the dice…

*end epitaph #214*

“DMT junkie” “Knight of the clown table” “Author of arms”

Travis Muffhuggin Ryan


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