Creativity Comes Alive in Graveyards
How to stir your creative juices to a boiling brew, maybe even write with your laptop perched on a moss-covered tomb when a dark moon is on the rise!
Anyone with a beating heart can get creative in a graveyard. Yes, really. I’m not referring to a fancy, unconventional burial of the dead. Make no mistake, this article is for the living.
I’m also not referring to couples who, for whatever urgent need, choose the seclusion of a graveyard (or memorial park or remembrance park) to do what they must. Talk, perhaps? Hold hands?
And not to be unsympathetic, I also am not referring to an unfortunate segment of society, the homeless, who might get creative and make a temporary “home” in an empty tomb.
Creatives – those of us who create, compose and are writing fiction for a living (there’s the word ‘living’ again) – can find our Muse in graveyards.
And not just any graveyard. The older the graveyard and its inhabitants are, the better.
A creative’s thrill in a graveyard
We creative writers cannot coop ourselves up, day in and day out, plotting and writing and self-editing in the confines of our room. We need to get out, take in fresh air, get some sunshine weather permitting, and allow our creative juices to start bubbling into activity.
And a slow walk in the solitariness of a graveyard or if you choose, in a remembrance park or memorial park, can only be beneficial.
What, you may ask, is the difference between walking in popular walking spots, and meandering in graveyards.
In graveyards, every body that is buried is dead (I hope). In popular walking spots, everybody and every dog we meet are full of energy and vitality. That’s what a walking exercise does to every man and woman. Double that kind of energy for dogs being walked on a leash, and ten times more when they’re unleashed. They’re alive, in other words.
People out for a walk almost always smile at their fellow walkers and say hello. Only the very grumpy ones would not reciprocate.
And if the writer out for a walk is a dog lover and the dog is the cutest pooch in the world – what creative person would not swoon with admiration? She would perhaps even take a selfie with the dog, arms around man’s best friend – after asking the dog’s owner, of course.
So, there you are. There are unavoidable distractions in popular walking spots.
Better then to meander in a graveyard so you can focus on relaxing the mind.
The kind of hush in graveyards is most ideal. Whether you are trying to empty your mind of unhelpful thoughts, or trying to listen to a surge of ideas or plots in your mind, the graveyard is the place to be.
Plum opportunities towards stirring your creativity thrive in graveyards.
But first, set your power of observation on over-drive.
What do you see?
Some graves look abandoned, others totally abandoned. Expensive-looking gravestones stand out against the cheap ones. Some have flowers, other graves have none.
Second and third, let your imagination run riot. Call out your creativity to the max. Unleash your limitless prompts of what-ifs.
What if –
*the flowers on a grave were laid by an unrecognized offspring of the deceased?
*the bouquet was placed by the secret “other man” of the deceased male (or female)?
*the bunch of six red roses with a single white rose was a spy code for an urgent meeting?
*the long-rotting bunch of carnations in a rust-encrusted metal vase hides a safety deposit key to a hidden loot in a bank? What if the thief who perpetrated the burglary died in jail without revealing where the key is concealed?
*the forever-perfect looking bunch of flowers is from outer space, and that any human who comes closer to the alien flowers will be abducted, body and soul?
The what-if scenarios in a writer’s mind are endless!
The most enthralling part in meandering in a graveyard is reading epitaphs. The inscriptions on headstones usually include the name, date of birth (DOB) and date of death (DOD).
By the dates alone, writers riding on over-driven imagination can make up stories by silently asking questions. For example: Was a negligent parent responsible for this child’s early death? Or did this child die in the hands of kidnappers when the parents did not pay ransom?
In very old graveyards, some graves are occupied by other members of the family. The inscriptions on the headstones show the DOB and DOD.
It is fascinating to concoct stories based on the inscription, with this sample below:
A wealth of story ideas, even topics for essays and articles, abound just by glimpsing the epitaphs on the family headstones. The setting does not have to be in the 18th and 19th centuries either.
Imagine: a man who lived almost to a hundred, with three wives and over a dozen children. Ask yourself (for the story percolating in your mind):
Was he rich?
What if he were dirt-poor who married a rich first wife or all his wives?
He fathered thirteen children. Did he have time for any other activity?
Did he live with all his children from three wives in one roof?
The possibilities in meandering through graveyards for creative ideas are, pardon the pun, without death.
So, plan your next jaunt to the nearest, oldest graveyard and rouse your creativity come to life!
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Can you fancy me writing this piece with my laptop (with illuminated keys) perched on a moss-covered tomb while a dark moon’s on the rise, and the night sky though cloudless was without stars?
I can’t either. I’m afraid of ghosts!
Thank you for reading. I assure you that I did not write this piece with my laptop perched on a moss-covered tomb when a new moon’s on the rise, and the night sky though cloudless was without stars.
See you there!