A Beautiful Death: musings on death and creativity  



Death and creativity. How are the two interrelated?

Death is one of the ultimate mysteries of life. Regardless of whether you believe in an afterlife or not, it is generally agreed upon to exist, well, after your life is over. Kaput. The end. No more Taco Bell:(

As subject matter, death is great fodder for the imagination. There are so many questions! Do we go to live in the clouds with dudes in robes and fluffy beards? Will we burn in eternal damnation? Will our energies dissipate slowly, becoming a part of the cosmos? Will we wake up in another dimension, covered in alien lubricants, reborn???

It’s pretty cool, if you think about it, because the unknown gives us space to create.


The Buddhist afterlife isn’t all Zen and roses.

Then there is the idea that our mortality motivates us to live a fuller, more creative life. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, as I’ve never been immortal (or am I?!). However, I do think that awareness of one’s own mortality creates an urgency to live well. To me, that means living creatively, as a way to improve the overall quality of my life.


Death is coming over for dinner. Have you prepared a creative meal for him?


And how about creativity as a way to cope with your own impending demise or that of a loved one? And I don’t just mean through self-expression, thought that’s cool if you’re interested in dwelling on your “feelings” and all that jazz. But what if you don’t want to dwell on your emotions and instead use creative action as a distraction? What better way to redirect your mind than with a creative struggle? What better way to take back your life?

Maybe creativity is essential to every component of life, and death is just a part of that. Maybe it’s all the more necessary during the trials we face, including the ultimate trial…Dun dun dun…DEATH!


c&d6 c&d5 c&d4

When I look at my life and its secret colours, I feel like bursting into tears.” -Albert Camus, A Happy Death




  1. Paula Nees says:

    You attribute a comment to Albert Camus, but what are the sources for the images you use?

    Interesting notions on death and creativity – what was your point in using the image of people shoving others into a cauldron?

    • Susie says:

      Hi Paula,

      My motivations for the cauldron image were:
      1. It’s funny in a dark kind of way. I was trying to make a lighthearted post about a very serious subject.
      2. To illustrate that images/text related to death and the afterlife are very creative and that there is a lot of potential to come up with all kinds of ideas when dealing with the afterlife as subject matter.

      -The cauldron image is a depiction of Buddhist Hell (Wikipedia)
      -Death image is a public domain image from Wikipedia on the personification of death.
      -The Victorian women are unattributed images of Victorian women in mourning.
      -The last pictures are Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen puking up rainbows (Artist is Pablo Iranzo).

      I’ll attribute better next time!

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