I have been writing Death Becomes Us since January of 2009. First I did research and immersed myself in the world of people who work with death I met with an EMT and a coroner and a crime scene cleaner and some EMTs and a hospice nurse and a grief counselor and a death row inmate and a warden and a prison chaplain on death row and it was all very nice and I turned it in as my MFA thesis in 2010.
Once I finished school, I began to submit my proposal to agents. (I suffer from premature submission,not obsessive compulsive editing, if you really want to know the truth.) One agent liked my voice but wanted the book to be more of a journalistic exploration into the professions of death workers. In other words, more about them, and less about me. At this time, I realized that this book wasn't really about the people I was writing about. Yes, they were important, but the journey was really about what happened to me--a middle aged woman with very little experience with death--when I started paying attention to it. I will be the first to admit that some very weird, out there stuff began to happen. It was like the universe was just putting stuff in front of me that worked so well for the narrative arc that I was like "NO WAY!" And the universe was like "WAY."
Years passed. 2011, 2012. I didn't even want to look at it. I continued writing, but I couldn't see where it was going. But now I do. And now I'm breaking that sucker down into small little manageable chapters that I can spit shine and polish and submit to an editor on April 20th. I really want to be traditionally published because that feels more like acceptance and love than the self publication route, but if I have to do it myself, I will. I owe it to the people I wrote about. Their stories are important. My story is important.
Hey, guess what? I'm bringing "Monday Mournings" back in May. No, not the TV show, my blog posts. I need people to interview about their experience of death. If you search on this blog for "Monday Mournings" you can see these posts. The questions are simple. Lots of people read them. It drives traffic to your blog. And it's beneficial to talk about death. Heck, NPR just had a post on this very topic.
So, want to volunteer to be interviewed? Pretty please with a cherry on top!