Most of us didn’t know who Autumn Snyder was before the day her father, Zack Snyder, opened up about her March suicide yesterday, as reported by Hollywood Life. Not many of us would have come across her work and contributions if it weren’t for her dad’s extensive body of work as a director. The moment one hears the director’s name, the first things that usually come to mind are his commercially successful, albeit divisive, superhero films Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
(Mr. Snyder, who had been working on the first Justice League film Dawn of Justice, has reportedly passed the baton to Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer director Joss Whedon after deciding to spend more time with his family in the wake of his daughter’s death.)
But now that Autumn Snyder, 20, has died, we, at least for the time being, have been reminded that there are more important things than superheroes. Because while Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League are larger than life, there will always be those special rare moments where we are reminded that we still have real-life heroes in our midst.
Autumn Snyder was one such hero. She wasn’t just Zack Snyder’s daughter. She was a writer and a philanthropist.
Autumn loved to write. Back in 2014, she used her prodigious gifts as a writer to help those in need, launching the Write-A-Thon To End Homelessness For Mothers and Their Children charity.
In June 2014, her father Zack took to Twitter to gush over his daughter Autumn, announcing her “first philanthropic endeavor.”
“So proud of my amazing daughter Autumn’s first philanthropic endeavor! Looking for a great cause to support?” Snyder said of his daughter.
On her Crowd Rise page, Autumn wrote her mission statement as follows.
“The Elizabeth House, also known as Family Hope, is a nonprofit that shelters homeless pregnant women and their children. California has 2,200,000 children living in poverty and almost 300,000 of those children experience homelessness each year. Every word I write during this two week write-a-thon will be dedicated to helping children secure a safe home to grow up in.
“The Elizabeth House helps to take care of children and mothers who are in need by providing physical, emotional, and financial support in a nurturing environment. Every child deserves more than living on the streets, which is why I am doing a two-week fiction write-a- thon to raise money for this important cause.”
Autumn Snyder, who had already started writing the second novel to her fantasy series Hell’s Guardians, had pledged to “write 2,500 words a day for two weeks” towards her total word goal of 35,000 words.
“I pledge to write 2,500 words a day for two weeks toward the goal of finishing the first half of the second novel in my fantasy fiction series entitled Hell’s Guardians, The total word goal for the two weeks is 35,000 words.”
“For every word I write, what amount are you willing to pledge? Donate per word or any amount you choose every donation, large or small, makes a difference. All donations are tax deductible.”
On Day 14, the last day of the campaign, Autumn exceeded her own expectations, writing a total of 42,190 words as opposed to her original goal of 35,000. By the end, she had raised $12,145, far exceeding the campaign’s $2,500 goal.
Zack Snyder’s wife, Deborah, described Autumn as someone who “loved to write, to write, to write.” She described Autumn’s novel as a first person story about a character that was an outsider and had trouble fitting in. The Snyders said they are planning to have the novel published, with the proceeds going to a charity.
“In the end, she didn’t make it, but her character does, and I think there would be something cathartic for people,” Zack said.
While talking about her daughter’s writing, Zack fondly remembered a quote Autumn always included in “every single thing” she wrote. The quote was from author Chuck Palahniuk, which read as follows: “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
“Maybe this helps,” Zack said.
Zack Snyder, while successful as a director, had his share of criticisms, particularly for his “grimdark” take on superheroes. As the main creative force behind the DC Extended Universe, he employed a dark and somber tone in most of his films. But if there’s anything I noticed about Snyder’s films, it is that there’s always a strong message of hope beneath the veneer of darkness. And in that darkness, the spare moments where the lightness is allowed to seep in are made even more palpable.
The superheroes Zack Snyder had been tasked to bring to life on the big screen may live in perpetuity even long after every one of us has passed on. Autumn Snyder, like us, doesn’t have the luxury of immortality. But that’s alright because the goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
[Featured Image by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]