Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harlan Ellison Says He's Dying

Writer Harlan Ellison says he's dying. (Well, if you think about it, aren't we all?)

He'll make his last public appearance at MadCon 2010. He says that he'll answer any question thrown at him. An excerpt from the article:

Never one to hold back, Harlan Ellison shared his thoughts and feelings freely in a 90-minute conversation from his California home, the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars.

On how he knows he's dying

"An old dog senses when it's his time -- dogs have that capacity; nobody doubts that. Nobody. But everybody doubts when you say, 'I'm dying.' They think you're being a Victorian actress. They think you're doing Bernhardt."

On mortality

"I'm not afraid of death, and there is not one iota of suicide in me. All I want to make sure is that when the paper comes out, it says, 'Harlan Ellison died in his sleep.' You're talking to, essentially, a pretty happy guy. No, not 'pretty' happy -- that's television talk. I am inordinately happy. I am wonderfully happy. I am Icarus-flying-to-the-sun happy. I have led a magical life. I have led exactly the life I would wish to lead. I have led the life I guess that everybody in their heart of hearts wants to lead."

On days gone by

"I loved writing. I loved the word. I loved movies, and we had no television when I was a kid, but I loved books, and I read book after book after book after book. Unlike many another writer who was educated and had college, I was on the road at age 13. Not because of anything bad with my family -- it was just, I had a wanderlust. I was like the great writer Jim Tully or Jack London. I stood there at age 10 in Paynesville, Ohio, and I said, 'This is all mine! All I gotta do is go and get it.' And so I started running away. After a while, my mother said, 'I'll pack you sandwiches. Would you like peanut butter-and-jelly?' Sometimes I'd get as far away as Kansas City and wind up working as carny and then wind up in jail, and get sent home. And I'd go back to school and I'd do very well, and then I'd run away again, and I'd run away to way up into Canada and work in a logging camp."

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