What would you write? The last thing you ever put to paper. Word has reached you. The hours that remain can be counted. One last outpouring of your soul into imperfect symbols. Proof you flickered into existence left on a cave wall. A few drops of thought sealed in a stoppered bottle to stash in a weathered cabinet, half-buried in the sand.
You crawl ashore on that desert isle to find a scrap of cloth, a crumbly black stone, and a corked wine bottle. It’s the last day the mind can still collate without the taste of freshwater. Is there enough moisture left to retrieve one last file? To squeeze it out on a bleached square?
Or trapped alone on a ghost ship. A creaking tanker adrift in the middle of the Pacific. A category six approaching. You check your phone. By some miraculous curve of the atmosphere, the screen shows one bar of signal you may convert into one last post.
Or perhaps your Ragnarok vista is an apartment balcony. Looking out across the courtyard you perceive no other living being. The plague has tapped you on the shoulder and your response is to retrieve your best pen from a drawer.
Your Go-To Apocalypse Journal Entry
What would you write? A trail of bread crumbs? “I ventured down this path. It’s safe for a ways. Do not fear,” or “I found this particular thing out about life. Here’s a tiny secret you can use when an impossible choice shows up at your door.”
Could you sum it all up under one last deadline? Could a person one thousand years from now read it and feel they had a sense of you? At least on this one day? On the last day, they knew what was on your mind?
You can hide your truth in a scene. A child abandoned in a two-story toy store. A canoe floats up to a dock, empty save for a black & white photo of a woman doing a handstand sloshing around in the floor.
Or you can be more direct. Write a letter to a friend. Thank them for tearing up that ticket. Not escaping when they could have, because they didn’t want to leave you behind.
Creative Prompts For The End Times
Write to a parent. “You made every poor choice. Led our family down every doomed road. And then, when I got the chance, I turned around and made all of the same mistakes myself. We sit in the same ruins. So I don’t understand you and now I also don’t understand myself. And because I can’t forgive myself, I can’t forgive you either, ” or “I forgive you, so one day I might forgive myself.”
Don’t be embarrassed. Write unafraid. This will be the last chance you get.
All that time you wasted being ashamed of your novel. The one you never finished. You chose not to finish. Because of what finishing it would mean.
We could all see that the main character in your little-seen masterpiece was you. That sad little hero you wrote into a corner. You didn’t even give him some manufactured foibles to throw us off. You didn’t paint him with a mustache to hide his identity. He made the choices you were afraid to make.
Or maybe a young woman climbs a mountain outside of town to find herself. On the second day, her boot tread fails and soon she lays dying on a ledge. As she fades she looks back over the little village below, recognizes a green roof, and realizes her journey led there all along. She sees clearly now. She demanded her entire destiny laid out immediately when instead she should have sought only the first step. Just the initial door. She wasn’t owed the entire plan upfront. No one is.
The Joy of Journaling in the Apocalypse
It all seems so sad, doesn’t it? But there’s a way we can transform that last testament. What if you wrote it early? Considered it for a few days, a handful of weeks and composed a document now?
The words are aligned on a page. Maybe you’re instantly shocked at what your soul had hidden away. Or perhaps the paragraphs make no sense. So you set it aside, a secret spot, until you happen upon it again down the road at the right moment.
What if the person who unearths it turns out to be you? When you do wash up on that lonely shore, you uncover that verse and suddenly know you can survive. You know not to board that doomed tanker. You know to unlock the door to your apartment, step into the light, and join others around the embers of civilization.
The bread crumbs you left were for yourself. And those words convinced you to change your mind. You remember the person who bothered to write them down. You decide to be that person again. And you didn’t have to die to see the words you’d write on your very last day.