Tuesday, April 6, 2010


We strolled to the graveyard last week.
It's minutes away and overlooks mountains tiptoeing above the sea .

It's curious how time expands and contracts.

Some days yawn with waiting, other days slip by, completely forgotten in their haste.
As a child I remember thinking Christmas Eve night stretched longer than eternity, only to discover later that taking my SAT exams was in fact longer by far.
Now I'm on the other end of the joke because it feels like entire years zoom past in just seconds.

To these old stone tablets, time is a flitting shadow.
This ancient marker is all I know of "Clement Harris, beloved uncle."
He had a life. Who tells his story now?

Fellow writers: here is a place to find your new friends!
Cemetery stones.

Poor uncle Clement won't be poor Clement anymore.
Not after you tell his story.
How he was raised by his cousin till he jumped a train out West to live near his brother
and chop trees at the plummy age of fifteen.
How he fell in love with Edith Sue Boxwallup
but she was done sold off to Harold Nelson by her greedy pa,
which is why Clement robbed the Wells Fargo.
And why he ended up hanging by the neck till dead.

So that's my new writing exercise:
When we hit that heartless wall of Writer's Block, let's go have a talk with those
So many stories simply waiting to be written, lives to honor, characters to find
and perhaps some perspective.


Jen said...

Love the pictures! The flowers are beautiful and very cool looking gravestones!

Jan Morrison said...

This is so good! I did my homework too and met a friend named Welcome!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What a marvelous idea to look for story ideas in a graveyard. I've always loved wandering through them and wondering about the folks.

Not enough hours! said...

Finding stories on gravestones is such a wonderful idea.

When I was into fan-fiction, most of my stories were about the peripheral characters who rarely merited more than a passing mention in the books. They are so much more fun, aren't they?

~ Rayna

Julia Kelly said...

It amazes me how writers have the same quirkness- and loving graveyards has to be one of them!
To a kindred spirit!

ruthie said...

faith, i love this, a great place to look for inspiration. so much history, part of my job is working with a stone mason carving folks stories into the granite & it is an overwhelming thought to know those pieces of my work will be still standing long after i am gone to be read & perhaps to inspire others. ishould sure love to know why time speeds up the older we become!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

"Some days yawn with waiting..." I love that! Thanks for visiting me at Book Dreaming. :-)

Faith Pray said...

Thanks Jen! I'm always surprised at the gravestones - so many weathered works of art out there to check out.
Jan - I enjoyed your graveyards post! Great shots! Who knew Welcome was a first name?!
Rayna, you're right. So many stories, peripheral characters and untapped resources are just waiting for us to find them!
Julia and Tricia, kindred spirits indeed! Graveyards hold such a treasury for thinkers!
Ruthie, what an intriguing job! It must bring you depth in life, getting to honor people and their stories in such a physical way.
Shannon, it's a pleasure to have you visit here too!

Kjersten said...

I totally wonder about the lives behind the graves every time I visit a cemetery too. Hundreds and millions of stories. Nice post.


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