Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and dear New Orleans

Working on "Cemetery Walk" led me to meet many wonderful people. Some of these people are from New Orleans and the surrounding area. I am so worried about all of them and their family and other loved ones.

I did look up author Deborah LeBlanc's Web site ( and checked her blog. She is okay. She was in New York when it happened. Her family, though, was in Lafayette. They are all fine, and she has been driving and driving endless hours to get to them before continuing her book tour. Thank goodness you are all right, Deb.

Ericka and Ryan, who I know through the Grave-L Yahoo group also checked in with the list. They are in Baton Rouge and are okay. They finally got power back. Ryan's parents are with them. They live in New Orleans. Ericka says they will be allowed in NOLA Monday to gather their belongings and see what is left of their home. Then they won't be allowed back in for a month. I can't imagine. I just can't imagine.

I am still praying that Rob Florence and his family are safe as well as Priestess Miriam and her family.

To all of you in the South who have been affected by this devastation, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish I could make this better.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

From "Endeca"

Dr. Avery wasn't able to come see me again today. That is just fine by me. It's quite wonderful really. Because Dr. Hamilton came in his stead. Dr. Hamilton is quite lovely, as I belive I've told you before, Diary. While he is much older than me, there is nothing wrong in that. After all, Mother married Father, and he is twenty years her senior! Dr. Hamilton is so young compared to Dr. Avery, who is quite ancient, that I can't imagine he is more than ten years older than me. Regardless, he is handsome and kind and gentle. He is everything I can imagine in a husband.

What am I going on about? How foolish of me to think that this man could ever be interested in a cripple such as me. Mother tells me not to refer to myself as a cripple, but I know that it is only because people in fine society do not have cripples as relations. But what else can I be called? Thadius (that is my handsome doctor's name!) never treats me like I am crippled or defective. To be honest, he treats me as a friend. He is the only one of my regular visitors who does. He talks to me about how he enjoys riding, even though Mary is not so fond of it (I can only assume Mary is his sister). He also shows me pictures he's drawn. He told me today, "You know, Miss Emily, you are the only one I've ever shown my drawing book to. Mary thinks such things are frivolous and that I should only concentrate my energies on my doctoring, as she calls it. So you and I have a secret."

I told him it is a secret I appreciate very much and that I didn't think it was frivolous at all. In fact, I think it is imperative that he keep drawing. His sketches of landscapes I've never seen and probably will never bring the world to me. That's just what he told me once. "If Miss Emily can't come to the world, the world shall come to Miss Emily." He has even given me some of his drawings. I treasure them so! Oh, Diary, I do so love him!

Friday, August 19, 2005

I have my paper topic!!!

I have figured out my paper topic for the Museum of Funeral Customs symposium. Hooray! While sitting in a meeting going over things we have gone over many many times, I took notes for other work stuff as well as thoughts I was having about what I would be interested in writing about. I had been stuck on post-mortem photography since I first learned about the proposal submission. It's a fascinating topic, but I wasn't sure which angle would be the best. And all resulted in "ack!"

Then it struck me. Like a little brick! What have I been obsessed with for the many years of my life? What did I focus much of my studies on in college (and as much as I could get away on in high school in the land of HIS-story)? Women's studies! So, when I started jotting down ideas and "Women's Roles in Mourning" came out, it was a big TA-DA! As my mother often says, "Oompriaco!" How that is really spelled, I do not know. But as my paper is not about "Oompriaco," I dont' care.

So "Women's Roles in Mourning" it is. I am so excited! It's so me! And I am on it, to quote my good friend Katie.

Now for other plans ...

Halloween. Friends, it is only a couple of months away. Do you know what you're going to be for the big day? Katie is planning on being Carrie, of Stephen King fame. What a great costume! But what about me? I have two main choices at this point: a murderous socialite (ish) or a suicidal writer. No, I'm not going to be any Sharon Stone character or Sylvia Plath. I may get a little down sometimes, but I'm not that depressed! My choices are currently: Lizzie Borden or Dorothy Parker. So post-Victorian with axe accesory or roaring 20s flapper writer with poisonous pen. Either way, I just can't lose!


Considering that I have the decision made on the paper topic, that's one major project goal decided. Now to go forth and figure out the book conundrum. Loving that word this week. Conundrum, hooray! Fiction novel? Non-fiction cemetery part deux/dos/etc.? Some other non-fiction? Children's book called "Abracadaver: Embalming is Fun!" Now that's just silly. I don't really know enough about embalming to write a book on it. Good times, nonetheless!

Goddess gracious, thank Goddess it's Friday! I am so excited that the weekend is just about here (50 minutes away and counting). It's been a long one. I'm tired, I've got a lot going on, my brain is jumbled, my house is a mess (and no elves have come in to straighten it up) and I just want to go see a movie! My husband's schedule this weekend is crazy (and has been crazy and will continue to be crazy), so it's often just a kiss and run, hi/bye/see ya time with him. Bill! I miss you! The cats miss their dad! :-) Once things calm down, it will all be good. Sunday we're planning to take a road trip. It will be lovely.

For anyone who is in the area, remember that the Forget-Me-Not: Victorian Day at Oakdale Memorial Gardens event will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, from 1-5 p.m. Be there or be in a toe-pincher.

Enjoy the weekend, me hardies! Arrrrhhhh!!!!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Happiness is a co-dependent cat.

At least she thinks it is. Shakespeare, my 6 1/2-year-old calico/tortoise shell girl loves me very much. She also owns me and wants to be on my lap at all times when I am home. I love that about her but also wish she didn't feel so adamant about being on my lap every time I get on this computer. It's not even so bad when I'm using my laptop because I can manuever her better. But on our iMac online, it's a lot more difficult to balance her and type easily. And typing is supposed to be easy! The cat is a brat.

The reason for the posting is not really about the cat, though. It's about crossroads. I feel I'm at a crossroads. Again. Any time I'm between projects I feel this way. Now those of you who know me (TC, Todd, Kristin, Kelly, Timmo, etc.) know that my version of "between projects" is different than other people's idea of it. I have tons of stuff going on, but nothing that is soul-consuming. I like soul-consuming. It keeps my mind off of other issues.

I'm wondering what to do next regarding my next book. Fiction or non-fiction? What should I write for my symposium proposal? All this stuff.

More later...
From "Endeca"

She dreams of him behind violet eyelids. He pulse quickens inside blue veins. Everything is in color. The well is red. The swing she is on is white. On her feet are black shoes. She feels his hands pushing at her lower back each time her pendulum of motion takes her to him. She comes to him, he pushes her away with the knowledge that she will always come back.

In her dream, she closes her eyes, enhancing the sensation of falling and flying as the swing carries her up up up then back back back. Will she dream inside her dream? Will she fly as she falls?

Wake up next morning, she tells herself. No, wake up a hundred mornings from now. Tomorrow is too soon. The spell is cast; don't break it. Fill the sleeping mind with dreams and leave the days of being propped up like a ragdoll behind. There must be more in store for her than a lifeless childhood. There must be love, there must be meaning. I know he loves me, she think. I know he must. He must.

Sunlight cracks in through the same eyelids that closed it out. Fight it. Don't let it win! Wake up and you'll be nothing again. A burden.

"I believe in ghosts. I believe in ghosts. I believe in the dead. I believe in the dead."

Her mantra repeat as the clank of dishes from the kitchen below pulls her even further out of her sleep.

Monday, August 15, 2005

We have surpassed 5,000 visitors!

Woooo hoooo! has had more than 5,000 visitors! Finally! The site is somebody!!!!

So cool. So awesome. Now if only it would hit that number daily when my book comes out ... and at least half of them buy the book at that time.

I haven't posted for a while. My day job just celebrated homecoming. Major big deal. Wacky time. Crazy hours. My husband was on the team that opened the new museum in town the weekend before. Craaa-zy times for him. But super cool museum.

I do have a topic for tonight before I go to bed. I am dag tired, for sure. Friendship. Friendship is a strange thing. It seems like it would be easy, but it's really not. I guess all things worth having are worth working for. For instance, I've been a slacker girl when it comes to a number of my friends. If I don't get regular e-mail from them, it's as if my brain forgets they are around. Suddenly months have passed and I'm super lame-o friend! Gosh, today I didn't even get home to see my lovely husband until nearly 10 p.m. Why? Because I was hanging out in the American Legion with my new friend (and many of my own family members). This new friend knew my grandpa many moons ago when Grandpa was in Buddies of the Airlanes. It was a fun night, but then I get home and my husband is already in bed. I feel a bit like a schmuck.

Ah, friendship. Friendship and the meaning of it change as we get older. Even as kids the boy/girl dichotomy can get in the way. Girls play with this, boys with that. As we get older and marriage starts setting in, a whole bunch of other issues can kick in. Jealousy. Misunderstandings. Best of intentions. Men/women issues. That stinks. I really do not like the whole idea that "men and women can't be friends without the sex part getting in the way" ("When Harry Met Sally ..."). That is one of my favorite movies ever, but I just don't agree with that line. Even if two friends are attracted to each other (which they are at least mentally), the "sex thing" isn't necessarily even a "sex thing." It can merely be, "Hey, there's my friend Keanu Reeves. He's my best friend and he's really hot." Doesn't have to mean there is a physical relationship going on or building or even a potential. Just because Keanu is a beautiful human doesn't mean he's going to sleep with everyone. And if he were to do such a thing, that wouldn't mean that male/female friendship is bad; it would just mean he's a bit of a 'ho. (Sorry, Keanu! I mean nothing by it! Just an example!)

So here's the deal. I've had some interesting friendships with men. Let's start with gradeschool and the boys. A couple of my recess friends were boys. One, who I'll call Jack, was a sweet kid and kind of cute in a bit of a dorky way. He had horned-rimmed glasses, freckles, wasn't too tall. But he was funny and nice. I used to play with him and his other friend at recess. I had a little crush on him, but it never got in the way of our recess time.

Fast forward to high school (as junior high sucked). I was really good friends with a guy I will call Sam. Sam and I did everything together. Total buds. We both eventually seemed to like each other as more than friends after a long while. I thought, wow! I'm going to finally have a boyfriend! Weird, but cool! No. Right after this near-revelation, he started dating MY BEST FRIEND. This was just wonderful. Then, when they started having troubles, each of them started calling me to cry on my shoulder. I was way over that before it began. I learned later that he may have liked me, but this "friend" "put out." Lovely.

Second major high school crush. We'll call him Aubry (because we can). Thought he was the bee's knees. Again, glasses, freckles (hmm, a trend?), kinda pale, slightly tall but not really. Incredibly dry sense of humor. I thought he was awesome. Very smart and witty. My friend (the same #)$(#(@## that dated my old best friend, told that best friend that I had a crush on Aubry, who he was friends with. I walked into English class the next day, Aubry said hi to me--and the way he said "hi" (that one little word) told me that he knew. I said hi back really quickly and sat down without another word. I totally missed my window. We were still friends but it was weird. Especially when he started dating this other chick from out of nowhere and sported remarkably large hickeys on his neck. Very proud of them. Ick. Totally gross. Another friendship made lame.

Still in high school, I had a very good friend who adored me. We did everything together. I know he cared about me very much. But he eventually got too mixed up in a number of things to vast to go into here. Plus, I think he's at least a little big gay.

And speaking of gay friends! A number of years ago I had a friend who did lots with me. We were good buddies. He was gay as gay can be. I was not. I was single at the time and getting teased by yet another guy (who I'm pretty sure is gay and deep in the closet). This friend started saying things like, "I could get you to do anything I want. I bet you I could." What he meant was, like the "addition" to fortune cookies "... in bed." Whatever! Hello! Gay! Me woman! You man!" Lordy.

So you see, friendship can be like walking on egg shells ... or burning coals. It can also be very great. Ah, we humans can make things so very difficult.

Anyway, frienship is wonderful. I treasure my friends like, well, treasure! But there can be outside factors that change the perception of two friends. Some good, so bad. But as Wes our workstudy says, "It is what it is. It will be what it will be." Thanks, Wes. You are a man smarter then you know.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Query letter ready to go

Okay, everyone. I just finished a query letter to a literary agent in Wisconsin that I met during the Writers' Institute conference I attended a week and a half ago. I'm putting it in the mail tomorrow. She was very interested in the idea for a second cemetery-themed book I pitched to her. If she continues to like it, I just may end up with an agent and that much closer to a book published by a full-fledged publisher! Not that self-publishing isn't dandy, but I'd be getting paid a lot easier then having to peddle the book all on my own like I have to do now.

Hope of hopes!