The Question of Euthanasia; too Tricky?

I have many conversations with my wife. I am not sure if that is normal or not, but it seems to be for us. One such discussion touched on my writing. I had thought to stop writing for awhile and concentrate on marketing, but my wife is of the opinion that I should keep on scribbling! I am not a particularly wise man but I do know that happiness, for a married man, often means agreeing with your spouse. That is one of the best excuses for doing something I really enjoy as I can think of.

What to write? Well, actually that is not a problem for me. I have lots of ideas. In fact, I probably have too many; that is the problem for me. So, how do I decide which story to write? I have a vague idea for a return to the world of Coenred and Mildryth, but it needs a lot of research to make it worthwhile. I did intend to write a second book following on from Eugenica. Several readers have asked me to do just that, but again it is a question of doing the research. I am not averse to the work itself, it is just that if as I am also supposed to be doing the marketing on my extant novels then time might prove to be problematic. The same difficulty applies to a follow up for Mesozoic. I do have a second installment for The Queen of the Mountain Kingdom on the back burner, but that is not what has fired my imagination; I was to write about euthanasia.

I will be honest from the start; I support voluntary euthanasia. That said, I am not interested in writing a polemic on the subject. I cannot see too many people being interested in that approach. I want to write a serious book that looks at euthanasia in the form of a consideration of the arguments both for and against. Obviously, I will be tending towards one side rather than the other, but my plan is to do so sympathetically. It will not be a tub beating exercise.

The protagonist is already well-formed in my imagination. This is not a surprise as at least 90% of him is going to be me. Like Somerset Maughan’s Of Human Bondage, much of the book is going to be autobiographical, but it is not an autobiography. For one thing, I am not dead yet. I do, however, have a disability that I can only expect to get worse as I get older. Myotonia Congenita is a rare muscle condition that affects the voluntary muscles ability to relax after contraction. Occasionally, it can cause temporary paralysis. The version I have, Becker’s, also causes sudden weakness in the arms and legs, resulting in them not being able to support their own weight. Falls and dropping objects are common results. As age weakens muscles the disease continues to erode what remains. Getting out of a chair is an activity that people like me learn coping strategies for from a young age, it is potentially dangerous, even more so when time has naturally weakened you anyway. I have already reflected upon the case for euthanasia in my situation.

My tagline is that I am a lover of life and I am. That might seem a contradictory statement for an advocate of voluntary euthanasia to make, but I do not think of it that way. Living a life is not the same as longevity. I know of people who have reached a reasonable age but hardly lived. Despite my disability I have lived. I feel quite happy about that. Also, I have not stopped living yet. My wife has plans for us to travel further, do and see more, and make the most of the time we have left together before my condition becomes too limiting. And that, as they say, is the rub. My decline is unavoidable. The chances of their being a miracle cure is very slight, simply because no one is working on anything. There is not much profit in finding cures for rare diseases. That, of course, is one of the common arguments against euthanasia, the idea that medical science is always advancing and making discoveries. Eventually, I think that I will reach a point where I am in danger of no longer living, just existing. I have seen what that is like and I do not want to experience it. The character in my book will be of a like mind.

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