"How are we to help those who die and those who have died?" --
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"By writing or reading obituaries,
we can discover ways to make our time on earth more worthwhile, more productive, more meaningful to others." -- Alana Baranick, "Life on the Death Beat"

"'I always read the obituaries in The Times,' I explained to her. 'They make me bloody glad to be alive.'" -- John Mortimer, "Rumpole's Return"

Vaclav Havel

Playwright,essayist, poet and dissident who became the first president of the Czech Republic -- via the BBC. A remarkable life -- his writing is stupendous. He walked the talked, going to jail many times for his beliefs and suffering from constant questioning and surveillance. Then, somehow, he negotiated the political waters with some success. Watch the excellent 2008 documentary "Citizen Havel" to see him at work. Ironically, I am right in the middle of his wonderful book "The Art of the Impossible: Politics and Morality in Practice." A fine soul!

Interview with President Václav Havel, playwright from Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on Vimeo.