Part of the Bury Yourself writing project.
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
Talking with the dead is much a fantasy for me as time travel. The number of people I would love the opportunity to talk with are endless and could go in many different directions. Do I speak with my ancestors to learn about family history? Favourite authors of mine to learn more about their processes and inspirations? Or I do reach further back into history to talk with people I only know through the history books?
Talking with ancestors would likely be more emotional than informative if I pick up on character traits of family members I know now. As much as I would like to talk with my grandpa, it would be painful to say goodbye when that meeting was over. With other historical influencers, my problem would be language. How do I communicate with Leonardo da Vinci? Molière? Marcus Aurelius?
I recently finished The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, a documentary series by Ken Burns, profiling the Roosevelts: Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin. I have been quite interested in FDR and his rise to power for quite a while, but watching the series made me more drawn to Teddy. His adventures stretched from the wild west to Cuba, Africa, and the Amazon. To hear stories about his life in the wild parts of the world would be incredible.
Even more important to me would be to learn about how he overcame his great losses in life. The death of his mother and his first wife happened within twelve hours of each other, in the same house. This happened when he was only 26 years old. He went on to become a large rancher in the west, lead the Rough Riders in Cuba, and became the youngest President at that time. His determination to overcome huge losses and set backs is incredible.
I would love to participate in a seance and have him join us for a lively discussion. I would imagine it could be quite violent and frightening, depending on which direction the conversation led. A scene out of Penny Dreadful, perhaps.
Regardless of whether it was peaceful or not, it will be one unforgettable experience.