Today there were two messages from writers, both carrying similar messages: “I don’t have long and so I’m prioritizing.” For Iain Banks, it is a cancer diagnosis which gives him just months to live. For Roger Ebert, who has been living with cancer for years, it was a further revelation that a “painful fracture” was, in fact further cancer. While he doesn’t say so explicitly, Ebert too is facing the reality of his own mortality in his decisions.
For Banks, imminent demise means that he’s no longer writing. His focus will instead be on enjoying as much time as possible with his loved ones as possible.
Ebert, on the other hand, is planning to continue writing reviews, albeit at a reduced pace, choosing to only review the movies that he wants to review. But at the same time, in his “Leave of Presence,” he will be pursuing some other endeavors, including an enhanced concentration on his Ebert digital.
I can’t help wondering what I would do under the same circumstances for me. Would I give up my writing entirely, or redouble my efforts? Or perhaps not change a thing.
Update: And one day later, Roger Ebert has passed away.
Update 9 June 2013: And then it’s Iain Banks.