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The End…

I’ve often thought about my own demise. Not in a tragic, sad way but how I might ease the grief of those left behind. I’ve chosen cremation rather than burial so my children aren’t burdened by an annual trek to decorate graves. Since I’ve been a free spirit most of my life, I would like to end things on the same note. There’s a lovely box canyon near Sedona, Arizona where my family will release my ashes.

Unfortunately, that process takes all the fun out of planning my epitaph. I’d envisioned a headstone with the following engraved script, “She led a storied life. The End.” In lieu of a funeral, I’ve requested a wake with lots food and alcohol. Perhaps I’ll have a memorial card printed so I can use my epitaph.

You see, I believe in laughing through the bad times as well as the good times. I anticipate many funny anecdotes and head shaking “Can you believe she did that?” stories at my wake. At least, that’s what I hope to achieve. In death, as in life, I would like to leave people with a smile.

So after that maudlin diatribe, I started thinking. What kind of epitaphs were inscribed on some our great author’s headstones? As prolific as many were in producing memorable scribe, it’s rather sad to note most failed to carry the talent to their tombstone. Here’s some of the better ones I found.

Oscar Wilde:

Alien tears will fill for him
Pity’s long-broken ern,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
 Benjamin Franklin:
The Body of B. Franklin, printer
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its contents torn out
And stripped of its lettering & guilding
Lies here food for worms
For, it will as he believed appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Corrected and improved by the Author.

 Robert Frost:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
 Edgar Allan Poe:
“Quoth the raven, Nevermore.” 
Virginia Woolf:
Against you I will fling myself,
Unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!
Eugenia Price:
Light…And Eternity and Love
And all are mine at last
Agatha Christie:
Sleepe after toyle, Port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, Death after life does greatly please.

WIP, Titles, and Keeping Secrets

WIP (Work In Progress) Such a non-descript name for a project that typically consumes a writer’s every waking moment and often much of their sleep. I’ve always felt better with a “working title”. It breathes life into the manuscript, gives it soul. Until then, my WIP is just words on paper.

There are times you might choose not to broadcast the title, especially if it’s unique, witty or a dead giveaway to your plot. Understandably you want to protect the name until your manuscript is ready for submission. SPOILER ALERT: It probably doesn’t matter. A lot of working titles get changed before publication anyway.

It still feels good to be #amwriting on a titled project rather than some generic WIP. I often say, “I’m working on my paranormal.” Or “I’m editing my romantic suspense.” But when I open my Word file, I see a title. I suppose it’s a form of visualization toward manifestation. (Look at those big words!) The title page and estimated word count relay a future accomplishment. I’m secretly thinking of the completed book and the day I will submit to agents/editors. It makes it more “real”.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, renowned motivational and spiritual teacher, says, “When you believe it, you’ll see it.”
Every time I open my WIP file and read my title with my name printed right below as author, I believe it.