Cemetery Happy Hour!

What is a Cemetery Happy Hour? Last summer when I attended the Association for Gravestone Studies conference online, Dr. Sharon Pajka hosted a virtual happy hour for attendees. She’d even created a PDF recipe book filled with tasty drinks like Preservation Punch, Decoration Day Daquiri, and Cemetery Cider. What a great souvenir!

When the contributors to Death’s Garden Revisited and I started talking about events we could hold to get the word out about the book, Sharon offered to host a Cemetery Happy Hour. We recorded it last weekend.

If you’re reading this on your phone, sometimes the video embedding doesn’t work. You can watch the video on youtube: https://youtu.be/H5BN8WWZq-c

Each of the contributors — Chris LaMay-West, Sharon Pajka, Denise N. Tapscott, and me — created a drink to celebrate the cemetery they wrote about in their essays. I wanted to include my recipe here.

The Ghost of Lone Mountain Cemetery

2 oz. St. George Vodka

1 oz. Creme de Mure

1 oz. Creme de Violette

A squeeze of lemon

Served in a martini glass and garnished with a skull ice cube.

Remember, if you’d like to preorder a copy of Death’s Garden Revisited, personal essays about the cemeteries we form relationships with, the Kickstarter ends on Saturday, April 16, at 9 AM Pacific. Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries 

Death’s Garden contributor: Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich is a kindred soul, albeit with a much better fashion sense than mine. I met her through a a Facebook group dedicated to women who write horror. She invited me to contribute to The Horror Addicts’ Guide to Life, then invited me to join her — the first time I attended BayCon — in a group reading from that book. It was amazing to meet her in person. She is a bundle of energy. Since then, we’ve gone to conventions together, we’ve done readings together, we’ve poked around graveyards together… and I’ll have several cemetery pieces in her upcoming book The Horror Addicts’ Guide to Life 2.

Emerian wrote a really lovely piece for Death’s Garden Revisited called “How the Forgotten Angels Saved My Life,” which is about how she pulled herself out of a depression by caring for the neglected graves of long-dead children.

Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series Night’s Knights. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, and White Wolf Press. She is the podcast horror hostess for the internationally acclaimed HorrorAddicts.net show.

What’s your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?

Soak in the ambiance and write. I also like to do etchings of the gravestones, if they have an interesting carving on them.

Tell me about your favorite cemetery.

I think it’s St. Stephen’s, the one I wrote about. It’s small and forgotten, but that is part of what makes it unique to me. I also love the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, where the ashes are kept in books, but I don’t get there as often.

Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?

I really want to go to New Orleans and visit Metairie Cemetery and the graves there, especially now that Anne Rice is buried there. I never got to see her in life. I’d like to pay my respects at her grave.

If you could have a say in it, what would your epitaph be?

She tried her best.

Do you have a favorite song about cemeteries or graveyards?

“Don’t Go” by Matthew Sweet – Although it’s more about losing someone than the cemetery, but the line “I can’t watch them put you in the ground” is heart-wrenching.

Loren again:

I had a lot of fun putting together a playlist of cemetery songs recommended by the Death’s Garden Revisited contributors. You can listen to it here.

I would also love it if you’d check out Death’s Garden Revisited, which is available for preorder on Kickstarter until Saturday. April 16, at 9 AM Pacific. This beautiful book will be full of 40 amazing essays about why visiting cemeteries is important. Please consider preordering a copy for yourself: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries

 

Death’s Garden contributor: Chris LaMay-West

Chris LaMay-West believes in the power of rock music, poetry, and cats. His work has appeared in numerous venues. A California native, Chris resides in Vermont, where he writes, works for a college, and lives with his wife, two cats, a dog, several chickens, and an unbelievable number of bunnies. You can learn more at https://chrislamaywest.com/.

Chris and I met many years ago at an open mic I hosted for Morbid Curiosity magazine. He wrote for the magazine several times, read at my events, and was really fun to get to know.

His story for Death’s Garden Revisited is about visiting Pension Mountain Cemetery in Berryville, Arkansas, where he has family buried and his grandfather served as caretaker.

What’s your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?

Look for the oldest headstones and struggle to make out the faded legends.

Tell me about your favorite cemetery.

There are some amazing cemeteries in Boston: dates going back to the 1600s and people who you previously thought only existed in textbooks.

Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?

Yeats and Kerouac are high on my list.

If you have any choice, what would your epitaph be?

He tried to leave it better than he found it.

Do you have a favorite song about cemeteries or graveyards?

“Long Black Veil” comes to mind. You will, of course, not go wrong with the Cash version, but I’d like to also suggest the cover by The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash as well.

Loren again:

I had a lot of fun putting together a playlist of cemetery songs recommended by the Death’s Garden Revisited contributors. You can listen to it here.

I would also love it if you’d check out Death’s Garden Revisited, which is available for preorder on Kickstarter for a few more days. This beautiful book will be full of 40 amazing essays about why visiting cemeteries is important. Check it out — and please consider ordering a copy for yourself: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries

Ask Me Anything on Saturday

This Saturday, April 9 from Noon to 1 PM Pacific: I’m doing my first AMA on Twitter.

I’m a little nervous that no one will ask me any questions, so please, if you are curious about cemeteries, headstones, symbolism, places you should travel to, what the best cemetery books are, what cemetery bloggers you should follow on Instagram, cemetery podcast recommendations, etc…

I’d be glad to answer questions about the Death’s Garden Revisited Kickstarter, too.

You’d make my day if you would come to Twitter on Saturday and ask me something! I’m @morbidloren, if you don’t already follow me.

Death’s Garden contributor: M. Parfitt

I’ve known M. Parfitt since the late 90s, when she submitted a wonderful essay about dressing up as a little girl for an after-dark tour of Sacramento, California’s Old City Cemetery to my Morbid Curiosity magazine. You can read that story here.

The essay she submitted to Death’s Garden Revisited is about becoming a tour guide at the Old City Cemetery. Her dedication to the people she brings back to life on her tours is really inspiring.

M. Parfitt in mourning garb

Officially, M. Parfitt is an artist, writer, collector of exquisitely awful junk, keeper of hair, and hoarder of yellowed newspaper clippings. You may find her wandering down a deserted alley, traipsing through an old cemetery, or peering into an abandoned warehouse. Her collages incorporate photographs, bloodstained paper, and other unexpected materials.

What’s your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?

Take photos, look for “Mattie” on headstones, and (in the Historic City Cemetery) tell stories!

Tell me about your favorite cemetery.

Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery is as old as the City of Sacramento and it’s the permanent home of more than 25,000 interesting people. It’s always been a city-owned cemetery, so it’s a very egalitarian place. When I give tours, I tell visitors that any color, any creed, any race, any religion, ANYONE could be buried there. The only color that mattered was green — if you could afford a plot, you could be buried there. There are still about a dozen interments a year, but if you want to spend eternity there, you better have a deed or proof that your ancestors bought a plot, because that’s the only way to get in now. That means I’ll never be buried there, but that’s fine — I just want a little bit of my ashes tossed in on a windy day so they scatter to different plots and sections.

Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?

I would love to visit Highgate Cemetery in London.

Do you have a favorite song about cemeteries or graveyards?

“Long Black Veil.” It’s been recorded a million times, but Johnny Cash’s version is my favorite.

Loren again:

I had a lot of fun putting together a playlist of cemetery songs recommended by the Death’s Garden Revisited contributors. You can listen to it here.

I would also love it if you’d check out Death’s Garden Revisited, which is available for preorder on Kickstarter now. This beautiful book will be full of 40 amazing essays about why visiting cemeteries is important. Check it out — and please consider joining the other backers: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries