DEATHWALKER'S GUIDE TO LIFE SEASON 2
EPISODE 3
Live Every Day to the Full
Pictured above: Waiheke Island, Aotearoa New Zealand, where storyteller Tanya Batt is based
[Public domain photo]
MAY 22, 2022
EPISODE 3
Live Every Day to the Full
Death in Print: An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love by Richard Carlson, Meet: Storyteller Tanya Batt, Death on Screen: Imagined Worlds website
Listen to Episode 3 on the following podcast platforms
Or, if you've already listened to the show, scroll down for more info and links . . .
DEATH IN PRINT
An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love by Richard Carlson
Photo by Jacob
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_%E2%80%93_2006).jpg#/media/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_–_2006).jpg
An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love by Richard Carlson is a small book with something big to say.

You may know Carlson as the author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff—and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life, which was published in 1997 and spent two years on USA Today’s bestseller list.

An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love is a small book and it sits on my bookshop alongside much Richard Bach’s equally small books, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, One Jonathon Livingstone Seagull.

However, while Bach’s mini novellas were only semi-autobiographical, Carlson’s small book is a true story. Actually, it’s a letter he wrote to his wife Kristine Carlson, which he presented to her on their 18th wedding anniversary. Seven years later, in 2006, after he died suddenly at the age of only 45, Kristine pored through 25 years of love letters from him, but this anniversary letter stood out.

Kristine writes: 'How poignant and powerful his message is now. Three years later, during the most sorrow-filled moments of my life, as I grieve his premature death and the loss of my true love and the plans that we had for our future together that will never happen, I remember this letter to me – the best gift every given.'

The letter opens with Richard writing: 'I've always believed that when reflecting on a life worth living, in which you are going to cherish every step along the way, it's a good idea to jump ahead and look back. This is a great way to get immediate and accurate perspective about what's really important right now.

'My absolute favourite quotation is from author Stephen Levine. He says, "If you had an hour to live and could make just one phone call, who would it be to, what would you say . . . and why are you waiting?" None of us knows, of course, how long we have to live. Even fewer of us realize what a blessing in disguise this "curse" of knowing we will one day really is. It encourages us to live life on the edge, not to take life for granted, and to be grateful for what we have, treating life as the miracle it truly is.'

An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love is a powerful reminder to treasure each day as an incredible gift.
A collage of family images from Kristine Carlson's Don't Sweat the Small Stuff website, where she has continued to honour her late husband's legacy
IN MEMORY OF
Judith Hoch (26/8/1946 to 10/5/2022)
Photo by Jacob
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_%E2%80%93_2006).jpg#/media/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_–_2006).jpg
I wasn’t actually planning to tell listeners about Richard Carlson's book in Episode 3, but his book figuratively jumped off my bookshelf when I was prepping for the show. Even more profound, it was only a few hours after I’d driven home from a memorial service in Golden Bay, to celebrate the life of Judith Hoch, an American author, artist, anthropologist, spiritualist, teacher, environmentalist and, for the past 20 years or so, custodian with her husband John of a very special patch of land in Wainui Bay.

Like Richard Carlson, Judith passed away suddenly. She died on Tuesday May 10, with her husband John by her side.

At the celebration of her life, which was held at the Pōhara Boat Club, I learned that Judith last words for her brother had been ‘Keep having fun’ and that she had very much embraced the philosophy of living each day to the full because you don’t know when tomorrow will be your last.

As the celebrant Laura Manson made her closing remarks and said her final goodbyes to Judith, a candle she’d lit earlier in honour of all the ancestors who had walked before Judith inexplicably started sizzling and extinguished itself and a trail of smoke wafted towards the celebrant.

An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love was published posthumously in 2008 with an introduction by his wife. Like Carlson, Judith has also left a body of unpublished writing. Hopefully it may one day make its way out into the world.
KŌRERO / CONVERSATION
Meet Tanya Batt
Tanya Batt is a storyteller, educator, gardener, collaborator, author, and podcaster or, in her own words, 'a word warbler, tale teacher, seed sower and story stitcher' who channelled her childhood propensity for talking and her love of dressing up into a real ‘imaginary job’.

A self confessed 'story-o-phile' and 'frock-o-holic', she is based in Waiheke Island, Aotearoa New Zealand. Stories have put food on her table and a roof over her head for the 30 thirty years, as she has shared her mahi (work) in as many countries.

Tanya is the creative director of the ‘Once Upon An Island Charitable Trust’ that uses storytelling for community building, environmental and cultural education.

A very special young man called Toby inspired her latest show, 'Toby or Not To Be: Stories of Death and Dying', which is a collaboration with her partner, musician Peter Forster.

Tanya nominated 'Taku Mana' as a song she would like played at his funeral or wake. I don't (yet) have access to this version of the song, but you can listen to another version in our 'Farewell songs' playlist.

Tanya will be hosting a monthly Death Cafe on Waiheke Island at Ritual Cafe in Ostend, on the first Tuesday of every month.
DEATH ON SCREEN
Tanya Batt's Toby or Not To Be
The impetus to create this album came from a series of conversations Tanya Batt had with her friend’s son, Toby, about death and dying. Toby was four years old at the time. The experience led her to think more deeply about how ‘we’ thought about death, or more to the point, ‘didn’t want to think about death’.

'Death remains a great mystery,' says Tanya. 'Many cultures tell stories about how death came into the world and it is common for death to be personified, an attempt to make the mysterious knowable.'

Tanya points to the fact that, over the past 30 years, there have been numerous pieces of research investigating how ‘death awareness’ affects how we live our lives. This research has found that opportunities to deeply contemplate our finite existence can result in profound changes in the way we see the world and how we live our lives.

She says that the weaving of conversations, contemplation, traditional stories, song and music in Toby or Not To Be hopes to provide such an opportunity – a provocation to think deeply about our mortality.

The recording is designed to be listened to from beginning to end. The track listings single out the ten featured traditional stories but also include other narratives and music. They are given to help listeners navigate the 80-minute recording should they wish to revisit certain sections.