Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to share four announcements.
Seconds Before Sunrise is officially on Amazon. It just went up yesterday! The cover and “Look Inside” will be uploaded soon, but you can still order it today. I truly appreciate your support! Click below.
Fantasy is more Fun also had me over as a guest author for Free Book Friday. The cool part? I explain what free books mean to me as a writer and reader. On top of that, I’ve done two interviews this week.
The Urge to Write wanted to know what the covers of The Timely Death Trilogy represented, and I explained the designs for both of them. I also talked about Death Before Daylight (book 3) and included a preview of Seconds Before Sunrise. After that Writing Under Fire wondered if I wrote in other genres or if I see patterns in my work. Check both of them out by clicking the links.
On a day-to-day basis, I open hundreds of emails from you guys, and I love speaking with everyone. So when I received an email from the Community Coordinator for DogVacay.com, I was more than excited when they asked me write about “My Home Away From Home.”
- I love animals. I grew up with three huskies and now I have a cat. Since their company is helping animals, I was more than happy to take part.
- I am very grateful when readers ask me to blog about a certain topic that is important to them. (That being said, if you have an idea that you want me to blog about, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Your website will also be credited)
So, naturally, I said yes.
And I said “yes” before I actually thought about my answer. This is where I ran into a slight problem. When I realized my answer, I knew it might make some readers uncomfortable to the point where – for a minute – I considered choosing a more socially acceptable “home away from home.” But I can’t do that. I must be honest by being myself, especially in such a personal post, so I will be.
My home away from home is a cemetery.
That’s right. A cemetery.
Before you think you’re in a Tim Burton film, let me explain:
Cemeteries aren’t these dreary places filled with rotting trees and crumbling statues. (Not normally anyway.) The one I go to is always clean, well attended to and quite beautiful really. With spring coming in, the grass is green and the trees are growing again. My favorite tree is only a few yards away from where I sit to write, think, or read, and the lake is close enough to watch the geese on a nice day. Everything is surrounded by a small but distant neighborhood, causing the eight fields to feel more like a fake-flowered park than a place where people fear the dead. In fact, I often watch joggers while I sit in my spot – a spot right next to my mom.
Today is actually the eleventh anniversary of my mother’s death, but I’ve tried to stop counting the days she’s been gone by replacing the thoughts with memories of her life. I do that by visiting her at the cemetery, and I’ve been doing it for many years now.
Even though my mother died when I was eleven, it didn’t hit me until August of 2008. I can actually remember the exact day, one of the worse moments that eventually became one of my strongest moments.
I’m unsure why it took me seven years, but I think graduating high school had a lot to do with it. Big events. Big moments that you wish your loved one could see. So my seventeen-year-old self started going there on a regular basis – during the early morning or too late at night. I even kept a quail-decorated quilt in my trunk that I would pull out, spread out, and lay out on – just to look at the sky. My favorite nights were the clear nights where I crawled onto the hood of my Bravada and stared at the stars, talked to myself, or just listened to the silence.
In that one field, I’ve cried, screamed, and questioned everything. But I’ve also smiled, laughed, and found myself again. All of my journals have been to that place, and most of my novels have a few scenes written from that place. I actually wrote there the other day, and I’ve spoken to the caretaker so many times that I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in one of my novels (subconsciously, of course.) I’ve witnessed other burials, met other mourners, and realized that someone else had replaced my mother’s flowers when I couldn’t. There, I am often reminded of life and death, but I also feel the reminder of love – that love, in many ways, is immortal. That immortal love is what home feels like to me.
To this day, the cemetery is my most peaceful place – and although I don’t go as much as I used to, I still make it a point to go, especially during this time of the year. In fact, I just went there a week ago. I may not be able to visit for the rest of my life, but I believe it will always be my calm place, my place where I can go outside and reconnect with the world, my place where I am reminded of what is important – my home away from home.