The insanely talented (and tenacious) writer Susie Kahlich wrote an essay about her experience with natural burial for the Order of the Good Death. I literally cannot recommend it highly enough.
Starting next week I will be featured in Fortnight Journal, an online journal documenting innovative members of the millennial generation in traditional fields. I qualify because you think, “oh, Mortician, you just wear a black suit and carry a fog machine in a wheelbarrow behind you everywhere you go for ambience.” While that is certainly true about me (and takes up most of my time, really) I also have YouTube channel and website and weirdo ideas about how we should “do” death.
Regardless of why I was selected, I’m very proud of the pieces I’ve been working on for Fortnight. There will be six pieces total: essays, interviews, photography, and a video. I will post them as they are released.
Here is a bio video that Jamie and Mara Zehler helped me shoot, since Fortnight is in New York. I talk about dead ducks and Hawai’i and animatronic dinosaurs.
Of the sweetest perfection, dearest shelving unit, I desire thee! Nay, require thee!
These shelves, rather attractive to begin with, dismantle to become an eco friendly coffin when you die. A furniture object that holds memories, precious items, and then gives you a warm wooden post mortem hug. Designed by artist Willam Warren, “Shelves for Life” were first released in 2006. “What the hell was I doing on the internet at the time that wasn’t admiring these?” I now wonder.
I have many many MANY books on death. And darque tsotchkes and collections- lord do I have those. If I were to have this in my home, when someone said, “what a lovely shelf this is where you keep your books on death” I would get to yell, “BAM! Actually a secret coffin!” …..And the person’s mind is blown and I own their soul forever.
I don’t believe the artist is making them anymore, so I’ll just have to find a strapping young woodworking soul to make all my dreams come true.
Thanks to Rebecca Flynn.
This is a picture of a pretty gnarly accident I saw this weekend.
I was driving behind the grey SUV when it made a left turn directly into the driver’s side of an oncoming car. Squeal, bang, smash, shatter, etc.
My first thought was that the driver of the other car was dead. It’s not that my mind automatically goes to death (kidding, it does), but you can’t really tell from this picture how violent the crash was, or how crumpled in the driver’s side of the car was.
I pulled over since I was the only one who witnessed the accident. By the time I reached the scene, passersbys who had heard it happen had come over to pull the male and female passengers from the car. They were laying on the sidewalk bleeding, moaning, and both, strangely, on their cellphones.
The driver of the SUV, its lone passenger, was fine. She had blatantly caused the accident and she knew it. She was trying to pick up her friend, and was likely on her cellphone. The weirdest part of the situation was that the driver of the SUV kept whining about her car.
This was our literal conversation:
Me: “I’m so sorry, this must be really terrifying for you.”
Driver: “I know (tearing up). Thank you. It’s just…. my car.”
Other Driver on the Ground: “My leg, I can’t feel my leg.”
Me: “Don’t worry about your car, you’re alive. Cars are replaceable. Don’t worry, they’re gonna be ok, ambulances are on their way.”
Driver: “I know, I know, it just really sucks you know? About my car.”
I didn’t know how to interpret this. I very much wished to give her the benefit of the doubt, so I didn’t say, “what the fuck are you talking about?” I have to assume there is some sort of psychological reason for this. Does anyone know anything about post trauma reasoning? It would be easy for me to rant about soulless cellphone girl who causes accidents and then doesn’t care about the folks on the ground writhing in pain. But I can only imagine that after the trauma, especially when faced with the potential death of both herself and these other innocent people, she was harping on something trivial like her car?
After I gave my statement to the police I heard another totally reasonable guy giving her the exact same speech I had, “you know, you’ll be able to get another car…”
The things that capital D Death does to the brain are amazing. Was this girl a death-denying ditzball from West LA who values her car more than human life? Or was she a terrified creature at the foot of the mountain of mortality, not wanting to admit that she had done anything more than wreck her car?
All sorts of exciting things today.
I’m up way early- #FML - except NOT, because it’s to do an interview on NPR. WHAT?! NPR-U-FOR-REAL? The show is called Word of Mouth, based on New Hampshire public radio, hence the early wake up call. Yesterday’s guest was Stephen King. No pressure or anything.
Also, BRAND NEW ASK A MORTICIAN.
Thanks to Dr. John Troyer for help with our first question. Visit him a http://deathreferencedesk.org/ which is another great resource for all your burning death questions. It’s like this website, except WAY more highbrow with no genky youtubes (lookin’ at you Ask a Mortician).