The Sixth Great Extinction

I’m starting in on a series of essays based around the theme of extinction. Natural extinction, social extinction, the end or deaths of various people or eras or periods in our lives. I’ve found that the idea of “extinction boundaries” in natural history, or the events that mark the transition from one epoch to the next when huge numbers of species died off for one reason or another to be useful for defining periods in my own life.

There are the usual definitions: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, old age, etc. But the times in our lives are so much more subtle and nuanced than that, aren’t they? Often perhaps a relationship with one person or one group of people in particular marks one of these periods. This can last for years, months, maybe just weeks or days. But there are some which we look back on with particular clarity. Me for instance, I once lived in Venice Beach for about six months in a concrete bungalow with a group of roommates who became very much like a family to me. We have barely spoken since, but the time I spent in that house is sharply defined by and glows with the memory of them.

I would like to publish this collection in book form. I think it would make an excellent manuscript and, even though it’s “just” memoir, I hope to use it to discuss a great many themes and issues which matter very much to everyone. Perhaps I will accomplish this goal and perhaps not. But at the very least I will have tried…


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