Lessons in Aging and Dying: A Poetic Autoethnography captures the experience of being elderly and facing the end of life. The book presents a collection of poems about life’s end accompanied with narrative commentary. Organized as 73 lessons, they can be read as personal curiosities, momentary realizations, farcical departures, embarrassing fears, therapeutic encounters, experiential truths, hopeful conjectures, and inevitable destinations.
This book is a poetic inquiry that calls upon the lyrical in narrative and poetic forms to enter its subject. It also is an autoethnography that examines culture through the deployment of the self. Framed by introductory and concluding remarks, the book is organized around three developmental stages. The initial pages, "Beginnings," recognize the author’s birth into the end, a time when he knew he had arrived at a place beyond middle age. The middle unit, "From Here to There," displays an unsettled settling in, driven by an ongoing tension between resistance and acquiescence. It serves as a transitional stage into "Endings," the final section that anticipates death’s imminent arrival and speculates about how author might meet his end. Together, these units provide opportunities for identification, speculation, and resistance.
Published as part of the prestigious autoethnographic series Writing Lives: Ethnographic and Autoethnographic Narratives, and written by one of the foremost academics in the fields of communication and performance studies, this text is particularly suitable for students and researchers in subjects such as relational and family communication, gerontology and end-of-life care, and performance studies.
Table of Contents
Beginning in the End Unit I: Beginnings Unit II: From Here to There Unit III: Endings Ending in the Beginning
Ronald J. Pelias is currently teaching part-time in the theatre program at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. His most recent books are Writing Performance, Identity, and Everyday Life (2018) and The Creative Qualitative Researcher (2019).