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You're Going to Die -

A creative engagement with death, one helping to inspire and empower others out of the context of unabashedly confronting loss & mortality.

Photo of Ned Buskirk
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I'm the creator and host of You’re Going to Die [], a movement intent on bringing people creatively into the conversation of death and dying, while helping to inspire and empower them out of the context of unabashedly confronting loss and mortality.

The first live event was held on March 6th, 2009, as a simple poetry night held in the golden belly of a San Francisco apartment. After that first occurrence, it quickly spilled into the community spaces of the city, filling local cafes and dark bars with the words and songs of its people. And now the live event series, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE: Poetry, Prose & Everything Goes… [with its current form and home as a half open mic/half curated event that’s held every month in San Francisco’s Mission district] has giving way to a larger manifestation of its title, one that encompasses more than simply open mics and live shows, but is now also an online international community creatively engaging with our shared mortality and all its inevitabilities.

My mother died when I was 26, and while I believe I was always conscious of this unspoken truth, this shared eventuality, there was rarely, if ever, time and space made or held to talk about it, regardless of being raised by a mother who battled cancer for half my life. In my English MA program at San Francisco State I was asked to hold a creative communal space for students and local community to gather and share what inspires our lives. This live event, while not initially a space to overtly hold the conversation of death and dying, seemed to eventually seek that need on its own. As the months and years passed, fueled by growing creative support, the series found a greater following, more organization, its name and finally, within a month of losing my mother-in-law, my children’s second grandmother, it found its purpose. What followed was my understanding of the honorable position I hold behind that purpose. While I think there are several reasons to account for the movement’s success, I’m certain the greatest cause for its momentum and relentless support is that we, as community, desperately need communal spaces, online and off, to gather and grieve, to suffer the losses we’ve endured and/or stand to lose eventually, to be with one another in this often unspoken truth that we ALL share: We Are All going to Die Eventually. Let’s accept that fact together and see how we can use this truth to inform and inspire better lives.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Be vulnerable.


Ned Buskirk


Join the conversation:

Photo of Aaron Wong

Hi Ned, that was a great talk, and I wish we could all be more vulnerable. 
I think you raise a great question in your talk about denial. To a certain degree, I think we are all in denial about dying. If not, we'd all probably be dysfunctional beings paralyzed by the idea of death.

I don't want to suggest that there is a solution or that there  always is, or needs to be a silver-lining to death, but Kristin's Dads experience with death The Art of Grief  shows us a great example of death as a powerful source of inspiration and wealth.

Photo of Ned Buskirk

Thanks for connecting me up to Kristin's post... This hit me right where I needed it. Confronting our own death inspiringly if an offering to the living.