Claire writes the intro to Neil Gaiman's book Death: The Time Of Your Life
Death has a body like a model,the clothes of a poet and the smile of your best friend. She wears a top hat for fun, her ankh necklace for power, and carries a big black umbrella for traveling to the "sunless lands." I wonder what she smells like? I'm sure it's fresh and clean and her laugh must be tinkly or maybe it's warm and chuckly, but whatever it is, Death laughs a lot.
We talk about the "miracle of birth" but what about the "miracle of death"? We have the science of death pretty much figured out, but death's magic and inevitability have been feared and ignored for a long time now.
What if Death is a person?
This friendly, people-loving Death I'm meeting here is not scary and far away; she's around every day and enjoying stuff. She's not here to punish us or kill us, she's here to help us figure out how to live before we need to go.
We think Death is a bad thing, but here she's the best kind of pal; she makes our choice cleared for us and tells us by her example that obsessing about things like violence and greed and prejudice and loneliness keeps us from being close to people and having fun and getting our good work done: it's wasteful of our time here.
What I appreciate is, is that Death never tells the people she is with what to do. She accepts everyone and understands why they are the way they are. She likes people (even if they are sad or old or young or nasty) so that they really begin to trust and like themselves too, and, liking themselves, instead of ending they can start beginning.
Claire Danes is one of the most formidable young actresses on the scene today. She has been lauded for her work on television in My So-Called Life and her film work in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet among others.
Originally transcribed by: Erin Podolsky