I was browsing the internet recently and I found, snuggled in nicely between ‘Get Supermodel EyeBrows in Under Two Minutes’ and ‘The 10 Best Dating Sites in the UK’ an article offering ‘Seven Resources for Handling Digital Life After Death’. Intrigued, I dug a little deeper into the subject and discovered that there are hundreds of sites offering such services. Death, my friends, is a boom industry!
Most of them revolve around unresolved issues with friends and family. They offer a way to communicate messages and information to those that survive your death. For a yearly fee, you are offered the opportunity to write emails, containing your wishes, hopes and dreams to a presumably rapt audience.
There are various methods of doing this, but one way is to have something like a ‘dead man’s switch’ where you are sent emails periodically, and if you do not reply to them to indicate that you are still in the land of the living, the service is activated.
One website that I perused offered to continue sending your pre-prepared cache of messages for up to 50 years after you have expired. Presumably, this period of time is reserved for torturing people that you really disliked when you were alive.
On a slightly different, but related note, I see that Margaret Atwood was named as the first person to contribute a piece of writing to the ‘Future Library project’, for which “… a thousand trees have been planted in Nordmarka, a forest just outside Oslo, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in one hundred years time …” (http://futurelibrary.no). David Mitchell followed suit last year, and it is planned that other writers will do the same.
So I was thinking to myself – which of my writings would I like to see published after my death – for the benefit of future generations.
My answer? None whatsoever.