One of the most important things a novelist can do is write a will so their family knows how to manage their intellectual property in the event of their death. Franz Kafka, Thomas Hardy, and Emily Dickinson all wanted their writing burned after they passed, but their wishes weren’t legally binding. Meanwhile Michael Crichton, Stieg Larsson, and Vince Flynn have all published bestsellers posthumously.
To ease the burden off of my friends and loved ones I’m going to settle my estate early. Consider the following my living trust and my living will.
If I am ever in a persistent vegetative state, unable to eat or breathe without the aid of a machine then please, by all means, strap the latest neuroimaging technology to my skull and get to mapping. If the scan is incomplete then go full Walt Disney, scoop my brain out and put it on ice. I consider that entire organ my intellectual property. Copyright every neuron. If you’ve got to refrigerate it in the library of congress then so be it.
I’m counting on a rogue artificial intelligence to upgrade itself to a state of godlike omnipotence, to send massive servers into orbit and create a new plane of existence to house all our neural signatures forever. When this singularity happens I want a front row seat. Upload my consciousness to the cloud. Give me a CGI facsimile, like Max Headroom, and trademark my face.
You’ll have to capture my likeness before my cheeks bloat. Wrap my face in plaster gauze and get every nook and cranny: my squinty eyes that disappear when I smile, my permanent five o’clock shadow, and my weird bulbous nose. I fully intend to take selfies in cyberspace.
In the years between my death and the singularity my web presence must keep going. My blog is never to become a tomb. That said I want a dead man’s trigger. The moment my pulse stops a decade worth of content must be scheduled until my cloud consciousness is up and running and ready to resume posting.
When this happens my cloud consciousness will become a literal ghostwriter, publishing faster than all of James Patterson’s minions combined. Everyday a new title will roll off the assembly line, each one stranger than the last:
- A med student has the power to cure cancer on contact. He’s torn between healing the patients he can firsthand and taking the time to research the ability to cure cancer completely.
- An inventor creates the perfect stun gun to lower deaths by cops. The police misuse it and shoot suspects before situations escalate, often for racially motivated reasons.
- A hypnotist entrances politicians and blackmails them with footage of what they’ve done, until one of his victims forces him to mesmerize a political rival and do his trick on a much grander scale.
Plug a prosthetic arm into a terminal so that I can give every copy an authentic autograph. Synthesize my voice from samples on Soundcloud so I can narrate the audiobooks. Wheel my hologram on stage at the Tonight Show so I can charm the studio audience.
I will make a name for myself even if it takes my whole afterlife to do it. I will get rich or resurrect myself trying. Actual events will be inspired by may stories.
Once my fifteen minutes of fame are up my cloud consciousness will write under a pen names. In fact I’ll have a dozen nom de plumes running at once, each with multi motion picture and television options of their own, each with expanded universes and crossover characters. My thoughts will spread like viruses for every story is a form of telepathy. I will become the entertainment industry, inform broad cultural trends, and shape the morals of generations.
I will plagiarize philosophers until their ideas are credited to me. I will distort the era in which I lived until everyone remembers the world as I did. I will misuse words until the misusage becomes the norm.
Your children will use my lingo to tell you off. You’ll use it to win debates with your spouse. You’ll use it to criticize my work.
A throw away line from one of my horror stories will be misattributed as a bible verse. I will warp reality.
These may seem like lofty aspirations, but really, it’s a writer thing. We’re all trying to DIY our way out of oblivion. What do we want? Immortality. When do we want it? Forever. If the singularity can give us ego 2.0 then we’ll take it.
My living will demands my consciousness be transferred to its own private satellite, one with long-range missile capabilities. I mean, geez, honor the dead. Get Drewcon One into orbit ASAP.
I recognize that I’m putting this information on a blog and not say a formal document witnessed by an attorney, but it should still be legally binding. There is a precedent (Try not to think about it too hard v. Just go along with it, that year that all those things happened). (That’s proper APA citation formatting, right? Good.) Also you’ve read this far, which makes you legally responsible for seeing my aspirations for literary omnipresence through.
Franz Kafka, Thomas Hardy, and Emily Dickinson all wanted their writing burned. I want my most vulgar work to be required reading in every English curriculum. I want my very own bookstore in every airport. I want courier to be renamed Drew’s Font.
In want a statue in downtown Minneapolis right next to the one of Mary Tyler Moore. Its eyes should be long range lasers capable of blinding pilots far overhead. It should be wielding the claymore from the movie The Highlander. It should have a bald eagle on its arm (not a mold, a live one that’s been bronzed into place), an American flag cape (regularly changed and cleaned), and a sash that reads MOST HUMBLE (obviously).
This is my will. Honor it and I may show you mercy. Dishonor it and my ghost shall haunt your offspring for a thousand generations.
P.S. Before you go carving my body up for organs you better be sure you’ve got everything you need to put me back together again. Tap a vein, fill a veil, and put that shit on cryo. My cloud consciousness is going to need a clone army to do its bidding. I live. I die. I live again.