Afterlife City


"Paradise" might be too strong of a word, but I bet they have great afterlife pizza.

“Paradise” might be too strong of a word, but I bet they have great afterlife pizza.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve missed posting this past week. I’ve probably missed as many posts as I’ve written and it’s frustrating and discouraging to me. Every time I sit down to write I freeze up. It’s frustrating because I know that it is just a matter of practice and keeping the momentum up, but rather than being able to sit down and put thoughts into words I sit down and stare blankly at the screen trying to think of something worth saying.

I began to write a short work of fiction yesterday based on a writing prompt. It took a number of false starts and I ran out of time before I finished it so I never posted it. When I did finally get back to the computer I didn’t even bother to re-read it. It will probably haunt my unpublished posts for the rest of time. Ironically the prompt was to write a scene about a character in the afterlife.

The post came back to me while I was driving today. It made me think about the afterlife again and what I thought it might be like. I imagine it as a twilight place that never gets truly dark and never gets truly light. I imagine a big grey city. You get there on a train on tracks raised up above the ground so all you see is the rooftops passing by on either side. You can’t really see where you’re going and you can’t really see where you’ve been, but sometimes you get a glimpse of the skyline ahead. To me it looks like Chicago, because that is home and if the journey into the afterlife is a journey home then that is where I would want to go.

I imagine this afterlife city looks the way the living city looks: but unlike the living city which is built out of steel and glass and stone the afterlife city is made out of the memories of buildings. And when no one is left alive in the living city remembers the Way The City Was then the afterlife city stops Being That Way. Forgotten buildings dissipate until they disappear.

The same could be said for the people in the afterlife: that once they pass out of living memory they disappear. Perhaps the afterlife isn’t eternal at all, but a finite life of it’s own. Where do the forgotten ones go? Perhaps they go back to the living world again. Perhaps they stop existing at all. Do the people of the afterlife fear this? Do they realize that their existence relies on the memories of the living? Do they strive for greatness to be better remembered?

I’ve always found the concepts of Heaven and Hell to be somewhat too Absolute. As grim as it is to speculate about the nature of the afterlife, I found it strangely reassuring too.

Perhaps I will get around to finishing that post after all.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 27, 2014.

One Response to “Afterlife City”

  1. This post really got me thinking. So, people like my grandfather I don’t think would be there much after two generations, but what about people like Hitler or Marilyn Monroe? We have films of Marilyn, but does that count as a memory for the living? If so, do those people live on forever in the after life since they are “gone but never forgotten”?

    Also, going back to grandpa, would I get to see him when I die & go to the afterlife, but once all the living who remember him are dead, do I grieve all over again?

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