Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things: fairy tales, dead languages, weird folk beliefs, fascinating religions, and more. (Author’s note)
…she was the one artists would want to draw…She was the one who would someday know a dozen ways to wear a silk scarf, how to read the sky for rain and coax feral animals near, how to purr throaty love songs in Portuguese and Basque, how to lay a vampire to rest, how to light a cigar, how to light a man’s imagination on fire. (p. 24)
It wasn’t a Gothic cemetery; there were no mossy angels weeping miraculous tears of blood, no crypts or curses or crumble. No poets or courtesans were buried here; no vampires slumbered belowground. … Even the dead loitering here spoke of dull things, like the one who worried she’d left the stove burning when she died. (p. 45)
(Goblin Fruit pp. 1 – 55)
Lips Touch: Three Times
by Laini Taylor
Toronto: Scholastic, 2009
This morning I spent an hour walking through a cemetery and snapping pictures.
I wondered, I meandered, I longed for company.
I longed for the sound of children laughing and running.
I longed for the gentle murmur of friends and lovers.
I longed for the quiet solemness of families discussing secrets.
I longed for the sight of lovers now aged and alone in their togetherness.
Did you know that people use to picnic in the cemetery on lazy, Sunday afternoons?
I was not alone.
There was a group of teenagers cleaning up around the military graves.
Some service group (cadets perhaps) doing their duty to the community.
They ignored me as did the three adults supervising.
The teenagers chatted among themselves, somewhat quietly.
They respected the space. They did their duty to the dead.
I’m sure they never once thought that one day they would end up in such a place as this themselves.
The weather should have been foggy and gloomy. The day should have been rainy.
Isn’t that the classic graveyard experience.
Night. Dark. Stormy. Regrets. Ghosts. Terror.
Did you know that a cemetery is a place where the land is specifically designated as a burial ground?
The older term graveyard, often used interchangeably with cemetery, refers to a burial ground within a churchyard.
Graveyards are ancient and haunted.
Cemeteries are modern and clean.
Nobody hangs around either place – nobody living that is. Not unless they have to.
I’ve always enjoyed exploring quiet places.
Places where nobody else ever hangs out call to me.
Maxine and I use to explore the cemeteries back home. We spent hours wandering around and reading gravestones.
We were learning about our home town by learning about who use to live there and no longer did.
We were both slightly morbid children with an odd religious bent.
We use to hang out at the church as well, after school and on Saturdays, when it was empty and quiet.
When it is quiet you can hear the past whispering.
It was the Victorians who use to picnic in the graveyard.
What does the quiet teach?
The quiet taught us how to be safe.
The quiet taught us how to be still.
The quiet taught us how to be ourselves.
The quiet taught us.
What do you learn reading gravestones?
What do you learn about the present by studying the past?
You learn that babies die.
An adopted classmate had the same last name as all those baby graves all in a line in the cemetery.
You learn that families survive.
They survive fire and flood, hope and tears.
You learn who leaves and who comes back.
You learn that love endures.
You learn that love breaks.
You learn about life.
Look at these stones.
How different they are.
In the older cemeteries, there are many styles of gravestones.
They are carved and individualized.
They are written on, words engraved deep so that they would last forever.
They tell us stories of war and disease.
They tell us stories of family, of hope and love.
They shows us generations.
They show us travelers far from home.
They tell us stories.
They tell us stories of the living.
Who carved this?
Who picked out those words?
Who paid for it?
They tell us stories of the dead.
How long did they live?
Where did they come from?
Who did they leave behind?
The graveyard stories we usually tell each other are October stories.
They are Halloween stories.
They are stories of cats, rats and bats.
They show us the dark side.
We played at the gothic, Maxine and I, wandering cemeteries and graveyards.
We were calling out for ghosts.
We wanted to be haunted.
It seemed both were always calling out.
Only when it was quiet could we hear the stories they were telling.
Cemeteries are new, clean, void of substance.
Graveyards are ancient. Old.
There are no straight lines here.
I yearn to go back.
I yearn to go back in time.
I want to picnic in cemeteries and graveyards.
I want to eavesdrop on long forgotten conversations.
I want to be privy to secrets.
I want to be haunted.
Where are my ghosts?