Jessica Strawser is a journalist and former editor of Writer’s Digest. She brings a sense of story and character to her work that could only come from the mind of a great investigator. Jessica takes a social ill and turns it into a potboiler- you are with her as she battles through a dilemma, with the keen eye of a reporter. News can be dramatic, and Jessica writes with urgency, suspense and intelligence- surely a callback to her days as a reporter.
Adriana: You make this point, in The Next Thing You Know, that people could die at any age. They could be old, but they could also be young. And this doula is fresh, in the face of all that.
Jessica: Yeah, she says, “What do you want to do with all the time you have left? How do you want to spend your last moments?”
Adriana: Just think about that question, it's worth the read right there. How do you want to spend the precious moments of your life? Are you using them [the moments] properly? Now, I’ve been in the presence of a few people who have passed, as I suspect you have too, and I always say, it’s as holy and sacred as birth. To me, spiritually, they [life and death] feel akin to one another. Do you feel the same way?
Jessica: I think in the best scenario, it is that way. It should be peaceful. You know, our culture doesn’t like to talk about it in the way that other cultures do. We don’t like the idea of it.
Adriana: As if that helps.
Jessica: Honestly, and it can be hurtful and cause a lot of trouble for people around you if you haven’t had those conversations. So, I think it's a gift to be able to smooth that over for somebody.
Adriana: Do you feel you have a little insight into the future? Because you’re writing something in the book and it's happening in the world [covid].
Jessica: No matter what you’re writing about, there’s always a way to take it deeper. To make it more applicable in the collective consciousness. Death is just as much a part of our lives as life. In the face of the pandemic we were really able to see that. I was writing about the beauty of being able to die with someone by your side, in the middle of a pandemic where hundreds of thousands of people didn’t get to have that. I didn’t know I was going to write this, this way when I set out. So, I don’t think it's about “seeing into the future” I think it's more about “see what's happening” in the present in relation to what it is you’re writing.
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