Saturday, February 19, 2011

#226: Taphophile

taphophile (n.) A person who is interested in funerals, cemeteries and gravestones.

I've been a taphophile since my last years in high school. I've been to numerous cemeteries from Colorado to Illinois. I've been to nearly all the cemeteries in my county and countless others scattered in the surrounding area. I was so thrilled when I found out my love and appreciation for cemeteries had a name that wasn't "dork" or "weirdo".

Clinton Cemetery
I've written many stories that include cemetery scenes and there are a few more that I am planning on writing including a new first novel. I know what it will be about but I don't have a title or even how the story will go but I know I will have a good time writing it. I have chosen to depict the main characters in a fictionalized version of Clinton Cemetery which is on the southwest side of Clinton Lake.  I chose this cemetery because it's one of the few that I haven't spent as much time in along with Rock Creek, Dodder and Worden because you have to drive around Clinton Lake then back toward the lake but it is one of the oldest cemeteries in Douglas County and is still being used so it has over 150 years of history to unearth.

One story that I am looking forward to is my take on Anna Jessie, the five-year-old daughter of an American Indian and a black woman who died in 1878.  Her tombstone was found in a field by a farmer and, not knowing where the girl's grave was, donated the stone to the Wakarusa River Valley and Heritage Museum.  In 2007, the Sons of Union Veterans placed the stone in Clinton Cemetery next to freed slave Nickerson Cowen.

When it gets warmer and the snow melts and it's not as muddy I plan on writing histories of a few cemeteries around the area and getting pictures of stones and possibly researching some of the people buried in those cemeteries.  It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time but haven't had the good weather or really the time but I should be able to at least get a few of the cemeteries done.

Also, I hope to get my last short story done for sometime next month.  I've been writing on Carrying Valerie since early November and I only have a couple more chapters to go but the main problem is the party scene.  You see, I was invited to very few parties when I was younger so I am not exactly sure what happens at some parties which makes it hard to write party scenes.  I can usually fake it or write around it but I actually need this scene.  I also figure if I stopped spending so much time on the Internet, maybe I could get some writing done.

Maybe with my recent change of life, I will be able to get some stuff done...