Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Graveyard stories

I had to go away for work this week, and had an opportunity to catch up with my cousin briefly yesterday before coming home. One of the things he's done this year, is research the history of the graveyard in his town, and yesterday he took me for a walk through it. I've always liked cemetries and enjoyed walking through the crumbling headstones, reading inscriptions and names of people long gone. When choosing names for my children I often walked through looking for those old fashioned names nobody much uses anymore.

Yesterday though, I heard stories about the lives and deaths of the people beneath the stones. These were ordinary people trying to forge a new life in an unfamiliar and often hostile country. The headstones spoke of drownings, shootings, deaths in wars and duels, a surprising number of poisonings too, both intentional and not. My cousin gave me tiny snippets of these lives and I found myself spinning these snippets into stories, wanting to explore them more deeply.

Do you find the dead an inspiration?

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