A funeral in my brain

You might have noticed. But probably not. I took an entire uninterrupted holiday over Christmas and that meant resting my fingers except for the activity required in turning pages in books and newspapers. Yes, turning pages. New leaves. Retiring to the livingroom couch where most serious interruptions came from squirrels out the window, cat at the window, or Heather bringing me glasses of wine.

An uninterrupted holiday but smack in the centre of too many of my thoughts was the end of said holiday. Now I’m back, working on three obituaries simultaneously and realizing how damned challenging but also satisfying a task this is for me. I’ve suddenly dipped inside several lives a few generations deep: the adult children still alive; their recently passed elder; and the long-gone families-of-origin with whom my subjects lived and learned to live fully, accomplishing so much.

One woman, a criminologist, grew up in the Northwest Territories. She worked on issues concerning aboriginal justice. Another, a filmmaker, was born in London, England but fell in love with Ontario early and made a career working with Martin Short and Max Ferguson at TV Ontario. The third man–I’m too early on in my research to say anything definite about his early life. His story will have to wait a week before I’m able to focus enough on it. But I’m already lost in the books he wrote. Next post: excerpts.

“I felt a funeral in my brain,” wrote Emily Dickinson.

And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading—treading—till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through—

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum—
Kept beating—beating—till I thought
My Mind was going numb—


About Nor

I'm a creative non-fiction writer, with a special interest in memoirs and obituaries--life stories, local histories with flesh & blood anecdotal details. I'm also beginning to create podcasts of people's stories and expanding their audiences. I'm a diarist, an editor, and a political activist. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and spend days tapping keys or staining my fingers in ink.
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