Meant To Be


Even before I wake the tropical avian calliope from the treetops below inserts its song into my experience and provides a soundtrack for my exit dreams– those are the ones meant to tie up all the other dreams of the night and recap their message(s). Who knows if that happens? My dream life is cloaked and unavailable to my waking self. I don’t remember my dreams. Not the good ones anyway (presuming there are some). Most of my dreams are wracked with strife and present themselves as some sort of repetitive movie with themes of betrayal, secrecy, and ridicule. Iraq and Parrish Elementary, to be sure, but that template set on a million different scenarios. What I would give to have a sweet dream.

Sydney is an amazing city so far and I’m looking forward to exploring it more. We’ll leave it today though to head south to Wollongong for a couple of days. I’m meant to jump out of a plane tomorrow. That’s the way they say it down here– “meant to” rather than “plan to” or “supposed to.” Simon popped his head into my bedroom last night and when he found me staring into this screen rather than snoring away, he said, “You’re meant to be asleep.” See? “Meant to.”

I don’t really remember when it was that I decided that what I wanted to do tomorrow to celebrate my fiftieth birthday is to jump out of a plane. It’s something I’ve long wanted to do and surprisingly (given who I am) have never done. I guess there’s some sort of irony or perhaps it’s just wildly apropos that it falls on the day that I was “meant to” commit suicide if that had been the decision I’d made. It never became a serious proposition in that I never did (and likely never will) get to a point of such disregard for others and how they would have been affected. Of the million things I learned during my “year to live,” I definitely learned how to hate those imagined whiners who make such emotional demands on others for their own comfort. I’ll never judge anyone who commits suicide. No one knows how anyone else feels until they’ve been him or her, which, as we know, never really happens.

So instead of dying I’ll step forward into a continuation of what has been a decidedly adventurous life– and apparently that step is meant to be out the open bay door of an airplane at 14,000 feet. I hope someone’s writing all this down. The life of Jeff Key will be at least an engaging curiosity in retrospect one day I think. Or perhaps that’s just projection on my part and another incidence of my thinking other people must find me as interesting as I do.

Pictured is the work Poetic Suicide by Aleks Danko. It currently hangs in the Australian Museum of Contemporary Art. In this work, Danko has removed the five letters that are used to make up his name. To me, the alphabet here represents the building blocks of language and all literature and by extension Art and all of life. (Remember how I feel about the creative power of the word.) The work seems to ponder what the world would be without him, thus the title of the work.

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