Tonight was my first official stint as Obituary Clerk. I arrived, checked the in-box, checked the voicemail, printed the obits, labeled them, alphabetized them, typed them up, formatted them, proof-read and edited them, took phone calls, made phone calls, closed out the night, and went home.
I freaking love my job.
It might sound boring hell, but it’s awesome. As a storyteller, part of making up people is knowing who they are inside and out, from the moment they’re born until they day they die. Some of these people were amazing. One woman studied technology and used her smarts in WWII, served as a nurse, and was generally kickass. One man had 15, children, 64 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren. One was an infant. Some people might see this job as depressing, emotionally difficult…
I think it’s wonderful that my job is to chronicle these lives. Even the tragically short ones.
As a writer, having the chance to experience all these lives, male, female, infant, octogenarian, construction worker, stockbroker, accordian player, whatever, whoever, all of these lives (and deaths) help build the fictional people I hope to one day make a livelihood with. In way, these people have gained immortality, forever imprinted on paper and on the web (because all obits are posted online and we all know nothing is ever erased from the internet), and most importantly, enshired in the memories of their loved ones.
Maybe running the Obituary desk isn’t the novelist’s dream job, but I think it’s a good step. In a way, it’s fun. You learn the nicknames for complete strangers, strange facts about their lives, odd talents they had, and for a moment, as you read those words, they live again.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Whether fictional or real, the goal is capture a life as best you can, in words in a novel or in newsprint, in images, even in death notices.
This is a serious blog, isn’t it? You should expect at least one more serious blog this month. Far warning, darlings.
Let me lighten things up a bit.
HAPPY 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN! Ok, we’re at 27 days in the actual countdown, but October started off with a horrible tonsil infection that rendered me very ill (I’m on the mend, no worries), and thus unable to properly celebrate until now. I’ve got a very special, super secret project in the works which I hope to unveil next week!
Stay tuned to my blog/facebook/website for announcements and updates!