Art of Dying Volume One - Page 17

The prospect of death has broadened my empathy with people and with the world .

ILLUSTRATION : HARRY NORTH
I would suggest to anyone in deep despair that they read Eckhart Tolle ’ s A New Earth — there ’ s not a wasted word . Peace and courage are in presence of mind and body : holding on to now ; not following the brain-train of thought-emotionthought-emotion .
The awareness of death nearby , that there is a given time limit , is a great awakener ; it helps me , it concentrates my mind , as we say , very much . Death enlivens me . Why wouldn ’ t it ? Okay , I ’ m ready . { Harry laughs } I ’ m ready .
HARRY NORTH
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HARRY NORTH
At age 77 , I have a mind of a 15 year-old . School friends would confirm that , but I hesitate to try getting in touch because they may be dead . I ’ ve always been conscious of death , even before school . It may have been the war ( WW Two , not One , okay !): blackout curtains , pitch-black , deserted streets , the mournful wail of the air raid warning , the air of foreboding people carried with them at all times along with their gas masks . Houses bombed , rubble in the streets , all that . I found the ending of the day was a sad thing for years and years .
My life has always been about why , why ? Never how ? When it comes to how , I am an amateur , bungling through ; being lucky rather than pragmatic . And I have been lucky ; born with gifts that I love to observe playing out . I know I do not own them , and I wonder , if I return , whether they ’ ll be given again . I hope so . But that ’ s something else .
At first I wasn ’ t lucky . My aunt with whom I spent the war was ... most uncongenial . My father , back from the war , was the same , and at school I was a dreamy mark for the bullies ( I ’ m still faintly angry with myself for that , but it too was a teacher ). An Outward Bound Course when I was 17 really opened me out ; I lost my fear on the mountain , I became funny and popular — amazing ! It prepared me for National Service in the RAF ( Royal Air Force ) where I affected to be a bit of a lad and was never challenged to prove it . The Officers and NCOs — many decorated in the war — were ‘ splendid chaps ’, I mean it , and photographic interpretation was actually interesting work .
Returning to civilian life I returned to bungling , I did a string of drudging jobs until 1970 brought my 31st year of going nowhere : frustration , depression , resentment : how can I change this ? I need a chance ! And a chance came . Taking my artwork around and around brought a phone call after two years . That caller , Dick Gregory , a comics editor , changed my life as my gifts blossomed . This is the first time I ’ ve thanked him .
Since then , I ’ ve drawn and to a lesser extent written and had a whale of a time , despite grumblings of depression , in London and in Paris and in New York . In all places I ’ ve made good friends that I keep up with and whom it is hard to think of leaving . The cancer I have now is a leisurely affair compared to the more aggressive forms there are available , and I have been given time to come to terms with it and with leaving this world of intense and gentle impressions — which we all do . Luck again , I guess .
VOLUME I | 17
HARRY NORTH At age 77, I have a mind of a 15 year-old. School The prospect of death has broadened my empathy with people and with the world. friends would confirm that, but I hesitate to try getting in touch because they may be dead. I’ve always been conscious of death, even before school. It may have been the war (WW Two, not One, okay!): blackout curtains, pitch-black, deserted streets, the mournful wail of the air raid warning, the air of foreboding people carried with them at all times along with their gas masks. Houses bombed, rubble in the streets, all that. I found the ending of the day was a sad thing for years and years. My life has always been about why, why? Never how? When it comes to how, I am an amateur, bungling through; being lucky rather than pragmatic. And I have been lucky; born with gifts that I love to observe playing out. I know I do not own them, and I wonder, if I return, whether they’ll be given again. I hope so. But that’s something else. At first I wasn’t lucky. My aunt with whom I spent the war was...most uncongenial. My father, back from the war, was the same, and at school I was a dreamy mark for the bullies (I’m still faintly angry with myself for that, but it too was a teacher). An Outward Bound Course when I was 17 really opened me out; I lost my fear on the mountain, I became funny and popular—amazing! It prepared me for National Service in the RAF (Royal Air Force) where I affected to be a bit of a lad and was never challenged to prove it. The Officers and NCOs—many decorated in the war—were ‘splendid chaps’, I mean it, and photographic interpretation was actually interesting work. Returning to civilian life I returned to bungling, I did a ILLUSTRATION: HARRY NORTH I would suggest to anyone in deep despair that they read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth— there’s not a wasted word. Peace and courage are in presence of mind and body: holding on to now; not following the brain-train of thought-emotionthought Y[[[ۋH]\[\وX]X\K]\B\H][[YH[Z] \HܙX]]Z[\][YK]ۘ[]\^HZ[ \H^K\H]X X][][YKH[&]]^Kx&[HXYK\H]YHx&[HXYKTHԕ˒TSԕ H8(TSԕPRS B[وY[؜[[ NMY^H \YX\ق[\N\][ۋ\\[ۋ\[Y[˜[H[H\HYYH[HH[H[H[YKZ[^H\ܚ\[[\[YHۙB[Y\YX\ˈ][\XܙYܞKHZX‚Y]܋[Y^HYH\^HYYY \\B\[YHx&]H[Y[K[H[x&]H]ۈ[H\\^[ܚ][[YH[HوH[YK\]Hܝ[X[و\\[ۋ[ۙۈ[[\\[[][ܚˈ[[X\‚x&]HXYHY[]HY\\][B]\\[وX][ˈH[\H]H\BZ\\[HYZ\\\YH[ܙHYܙ\]Hܛ\‚\H\H]Z[XK[H]HY[][[YHYB\\]][]X][\ܛو[[H[[H[\\[ۜ%XH[ˈXYZ[HY\˂SQHH M‚