Okay, so maybe there’s something inherently random about writing your first blog post. I’ve spent a couple of days wondering how to begin, and well, I’ve decided to just jump right in by, um, writing about cemeteries. Weird? Maybe. Maudlin? Perhaps. But I was emo before it was even called that.
What you should know about cemeteries and me:
- When I was ten, I went to a week-long day camp for history nerds. We walked around my small upstate New York town, noticing architectural features on old houses and mooning around Lakeview Cemetery. On the last day, our counselors gave us giant sheets of newsprint and charcoal to that we could conduct gravestone rubbings. I loved transferring the ornate script of headstones onto paper that I could later hang up on my refrigerator.
- My second young adult novel, Cemetery Gates, is partially set in that same cemetery. Its most famous feature is the grave of young woman by the name of Grace Galloway. Her family memorialized her by building a life-size statue in her likeness and encasing it in glass. Oh, and I think Lucille Ball is buried there too.
- I grew up fascinated by the rumors and myths surrounding this young woman’s death. We called her “the lady in the glass case.” According to cemetery lore, she wandered the grounds at night, having escaped from her glass case.
- On a recent trip to Canada, my husband and I found this little Episcopalion cemetery across from our hotel. We had a quiet walk on a misty morning. I thought about the stories and secrets each grave holds.
- Stuff I’ve done in cemeteries: made out, played hide and seek, got lost, had a picnic, visited my grandmother, conducted a séance, and taught a class.
- My best friend Rosa and I often spent time after school walking around the cemetery. We found it calming—a good place to hash out the torments of high school.
- For many years, my favorite Smiths song was “Cemetery Gates” (see number 2).