So, Grace and I have been performing our collaborative piece, “Now That You’re Dead,” and it’s a big hit. It was a big hit in Modesto last Tuesday. It got us a spot in the local Peace & Justice Newsletter and an invitation to perform in Turlock next year.

Amazingly enough, it’s not even about you.

So many others have taken themselves out in these last 21 years, you didn’t even make the cut. 

Just kidding, you were probably too big and messy to make the cut. I handed all these pieces of all you dead people to Grace and she picked three others that fit more neatly into stanzas. 

Then she did a great job tying them in, sandwiched between her glimmering words. She takes the lead on this one, since she’s still trying to convince people to stay alive. I’ve more or less let that go.

Nowadays, I would sum it up by saying I keep busy with listening, leaving them alone, getting back to work on this book, or whatever comes to hand – there’s always something to help me stay out of trouble. Windsurfing at least.

But Grace is only half our age (half of what would/should be your age), so she still wants everyone to stay alive. “Goodbye” is a word she is still “cutting out of every dictionary.” I’m on OK terms with it though; it stays in my dictionaries.

But still, I give you credit. All my dead people are all about you. Or maybe you are all about them. Or maybe it’s still all about my Dad.

Barbara West lives in Davis, California, and works as a Wound/Ostomy Nurse.  Her 2017 book, footage of live performances, and award-winning videos can be found at
This piece opens her memoir, a work-in-progress, which uses mis-rememberings of the movie Edward Scissorhands to explore the tension between Christian/ Buddhist directives to “help others” and 12-step Recovery’s directive to “focus on yourself.”


Popular posts from this blog

Bronx Paradise


Nanda Finds God