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Happy 2014, deathlings! Here’s to the coming year, filled with awareness of our inevitable mortality.

To begin, I want to explain my absence for most of 2013 (or, The Year that Time Forgot). Sure, I’ve been around, posting a few things on Facebook and releasing an Ask a Mortician video every two months or so, but I haven’t really been present.

Hiding Gif

As some of you know, I was writing a book this year, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (which this blogger said was a “lame title,” but he can just stick it up his nose with a rubber hose because I love it).  Having never written a book before, I was totally unprepared for the amount of focus, dedication, and emotional energy it takes. It was exhausting and all-consuming. It gave me a new respect for that Fifty Shades of Grey woman who wrote her book on her BlackBerry on the train to work. I mean…the result was Fifty Shades of Grey (womp womp), but geez y’all, she finished a book. YOU GO, LADY.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is very personal–part memoir, part cultural history of death. It was written from the best that’s in me. It’s slated to be released in early autumn, and as terrifying as that prospect is, I can’t wait for you all to read it. I saw the cover mock-up at my publishing house last month and they couldn’t pry it from my cold, gnarled fingers.


The book is one small piece in a puzzle of death positivity set to roll out in 2014. Here are a few of the things happening with me, and the Order.

The Order of the Good Death

We’re totally re-designing and re-launching the Order website in February. New members and new ways to feature the growing death acceptance/death positive movement. Also: mobile-friendly.

More and more I’m being sent incredible, thoughtful death-centric projects with the tagline “the Order inspired me to do this.” It’s such an honor, my wittle heart almost can’t take it.

Curating and sharing the good work of others is really what the Order is about. I’ve been taken away from that this year, as writing a book is ultimately a very personal and selfish act. Not so, 2014!

Death Salon

Our first Death Salon in Los Angeles was a smashing success, with the caveat that there is much we can do to make it even better moving forward. We’re all geared up for the 2014 Salon in London at Bart’s Pathology Museum, and just announced our location for Death Salon 2015…New York! Specifically the Morbid Anatomy Museum, featured in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal for being generally the best thing there is.

Undertaking LA

At long last I’m opening my own funeral practice. Currently fighting various bureaucracies tooth and nail, but it’s all going to be worth it to be able to do my own thing with alternative death.


Being released in early autumn! Woo! Book tour and talks! Woo!

Ask a Mortician & Other Videos

More of them. More frequently. Promise. (I mean, well, don’t get crazy now, those little suckers are hard to make.)

Public Speaking

Will be happening. All over the world, in the coolest places. SXSW in Austin, Dan Savage’s Valentine’s Day show in Seattle, the Ontario Coroner’s Association in Toronto, Death Salon 2014 in London. Public speaking + death are not everyone’s favorite things (#terror #phobia) but I love them. How I love them. Oh yes I do. There is nothing better than being able to speak about your passion, and having people willing to listen. Thank you (genuinely) for being willing to listen. And contribute yourself, with your own experience, knowledge, and skills.

I wish you the best this coming year. There will be sadness, and death, and you’ll probably get colds and have diarrhea once or twice. But I hope that is balanced by good experiences, love, life, insight, and lazy Sundays that feel like one big grotesque Upworthy headline of unabashed fuzzy feelings. Vive la muerte!

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