My favorite quote: (from "The Plague of Doves" by Louise Erdrich)
"...If a volcano should rise out of the lake bed and blow, covering us with killing ash, ours would be calm forms, preserved sitting gravely as the fates, staring transfixed at a picture or a word. I have seen other plaster forms in books. I know the ones from Pompeii were first noted as mysterious absences in the solid ash. When the spaces were filled with plaster, and the volcanic debris chipped away, the piteous nature of those final human moments were revealed. Sometimes, I think I am more akin to that absence, before the substance. I am less the final gesture than the void preceding it. I have already disappeared, as one does when long accustomed to one's own company."
The Lonely Alchemist