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With my love of cemeteries, it’s no surprise that on our vacation to Key West last fall, I dragged my husband through the town graveyard. Like most American cemeteries, we saw mostly basic, bland headstones with a few surprises.
Including…her. She’s bound at the wrists, her head tossed back in ecstasy. Of course, she’s well-weathered so I may be misinterpreting her expression, but in any case, I didn’t expect to find so much sexy on our walking tour. Of course, we went straight to the map and printed tour guide of the cemetery, but they had no information about why she sits there.
Is this piece of funerary art reflective of the life and times of the man below the stones? What does this BDSM angel say about who he was?
My fondest wish for him and whomever he encountered is that they all enjoyed the ever-loving heck out of themselves while they were on this planet. And, frankly, there are few places as suited to a life of hedonistic pleasure as Key West!
I have a special, fun, fabulous talent I use to annoy my friends and irritate people: I can “sing” my part of conversations to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s classic, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Once I get going, it’s almost impossible to stop:
“How are you doing? I am doing well, and I’m very much happy to meet you!”
“Please give me a six-piece box of nuggets, and a large Diet Coke would be lovely!”
Seriously. I can do this all day.
But the Edmund Fitzgerald was more than the 70’s greatest earworm: It was an actual shipwreck off the coast of Whitefish Point, Michigan, not far from Mackinaw Island. You can learn all about the tragedy at one of my favorite museums and parks, The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
The museum sits on what is known locally as the Shipwreck Coast, but you can’t tell it by the beach just beyond the building. It’s a quiet, rocky shoreline and you can slip right into the water if you care to. Or you can find a perfect seat of driftwood, carved by one of the kinder gods of the lake, as my son did a few years back. Pack a picnic, a journal or your e-Reader and sit awhile: When a god gives you a gift, it’s rude not to enjoy it to the fullest.
Back when I was a fitness instructor and teaching Oriental/Middle-Eastern folk dance, I invested in a week-long dance workshop in Manhattan.
We danced all day, each way, working our ever-lovin’ tails off. I slogged back to my hostel--Leo House, a lovely little facility run by nuns-- exhausted and overwhelmed by my first trip to this biggest of cities.
One evening, in this state, I found myself in the hostel courtyard, next to one of the scariest Virgin Mary statues I'd ever seen. (I mean, seriously—look at her!) Not one to let fear or common sense stop me, I began to talk to Mary. I had journal and pen on hand, and rambling aloud moved to rambling on the page. I took down my hallucinatory imaginings of what she'd say. Within minutes I'd fleshed out a scene in which Scary Mary gossips, complains and tells my heroine how to fight dirty. From this scene only a sentence fragment made it into Stone Kissed—but without it, there might have never been a novel.
I've since learned this is the best time and way for me to draft--early in the morning or late, late in the day, shields down, before my conscious mind gets a chance to wake up and say, "This is crap.”
When people ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” We cringe. The answer is, we just don’t know. Author Jenny Crusie has a well-developed and joyful theory about the “girls in the basement” of your mind that will tell you everything if you’ll just open the door and go listen. But otherwise, most of us will tell you, “They come as they come.” And we pray that they just keep coming.
Once upon a time, there was a world before the digital camera. We took our photos on film. You had to hand-crank the film forward in order to take the next picture, and sometimes, when you got close to the end of the roll, you’d accidentally crank it back a couple slots—or catch an extra picture beyond the end of the row.
If you made this error, you might be able to take a picture over a picture—a double exposure.
I took these photos some weeks before the beloved first dog of our marriage, Dido, died. Several weeks after that, we relocated, so it took me months to get to a photo counter and have this picture developed. I’m not one to fret over heaven for dogs or rainbow bridges, but I do love this picture of her “spirit ascending.” It turns out we were able to bring our ghost dog with us, and we couldn’t be more grateful for double exposure.
Do have any fun or funky photos lying around (or even scanned in to your computer)? If so, feel free to post them in the comments and share your own ghosts.