The Last Ones to Let You Down
What happens when we forget?

What happens when we forget?

Photo Credit: fiddleoak via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: fiddleoak via Compfight cc

How long does a story stick with you?

At a book club earlier this summer, a woman who grew up about 45 minutes from Waseca told me she remembered clearly the Zimmerman family story of 1959 that I share in my book. She said she and her family followed news of that story for at least a couple of years after, even though they had no ties to the family or to…

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You might like What Dreams May Come if…

You might like What Dreams May Come if…

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I watched the Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come last night, the first time since my initial viewing of it in 1998.

I wrote in my post yesterday that I know I didn’t like the film much the first time, but I could not remember why. I still remain lukewarm about the movie, but it’s hard to put my finger on why. The sentimentality factor is pretty high.

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But if you like the following, you…

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One Robin Williams movie many are forgetting

One Robin Williams movie many are forgetting

What dreams may come

In all the “favorite movie” lists that have come out since Robin Williams died, I haven’t heard anyone pick What Dreams May Come.

I actually forgot about this movie until my husband mentioned it. We only saw it once, back in 1998 when it came out, but it stuck with him.

Me, not so much. At the time I was doing movie reviews at The Free Presswith Joe Tougas. I remember not liking it, but in the…

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45 years ago today

August 9, 1969: the Manson family entered the Tate house, beginning their two-day murder spree.

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Above: The page in my book where I mention “Helter Skelter.”

I became intrigued by this story when I first read “Helter Skelter” when I was 11. I think there were ties between my dad’s job as a gravedigger and my fascination with gruesome, true crime stories.

Do you remember the Manson murders? Or if…

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Portrait of a grave in William Kent Krueger’s “Ordinary Grace”

Portrait of a grave in William Kent Krueger’s “Ordinary Grace”

Ordinary Grace

I just finished William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace. Toward the end, there’s a fantastic description of a grave and gravedigging that could have come from my dad’s lips.

In the hardcover version, it’s on page 250:

“Gus had once told us that he came from a long line of Missouri gravediggers. ‘Famous in that part of Missouri,’ he said, only he pronounced it Missoura. ‘Folks would call on my…

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How do you dream about the dead?

How do you dream about the dead?

Photo Credit: paul bica via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: paul bica via Compfight cc

The other night I had what is known as a “visitation dream.” I don’t dream about the dead often, but when I do, I generally am interacting with them and talking with them.

Do you believe that the dead can meet us in spirit form while we’re in the dream state? Some people would say that our guard is down while we’re dreaming. It’s the time when we put our…

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What happens when a teen takes charge of grief?

What happens when a teen takes charge of grief?

A screenshot from the SLAP'D site.

A screenshot from the SLAP’D site.

You can wallow in grief after a parent dies and feel alone, or you can try to pull together with others who are going through the same thing.

I’m so impressed with Chicago 14-year-old Genevieve Liu, who started SLAP’D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies), a online resource for kids. On the site, Genevieve writes: “This is not ‘my’ site. It’s ours. Together, we…

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An unexpected place to find beauty

An unexpected place to find beauty

Beauty amidst death. Marysburg Cemetery outside of Madison Lake, Minnesota. Photo by author.

Beauty amidst death. Marysburg Cemetery outside of Madison Lake, Minnesota. Photo by author.

A recent blog postby uber-popular funeral director Caleb Wilde (author of “Confessions of a Funeral Director”) resonated with me. He writes: “Death sits in paradox. In it we find impossible co-mixtures of intrinsic opposites. Perhaps, this is why death is the muse of so many philosophers and theologians.…

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Mad about maps (classic maps)

Mad about maps (classic maps)

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I’ve been using a map for my Minnesota road trip. I love maps but most of all, I trust them. I don’t trust a GPS, especially one of those dashboard talking ones. I don’t trust anyone telling me what to do and where to go; why would I trust a GPS?

I have Google Maps on my phone, and I like it to find nearby coffee shops and for specific street directions once I’m in a town. But for the big…

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Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji, Minnesota

Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji, Minnesota

The Civil War memorial.

The Civil War memorial.

The Civil War soldier keeps watch. "1864" by Jurek Jakowicz.

The Civil War soldier keeps watch. “1864″ by Jurek Jakowicz.

This wasn’t the most well-kept cemetery I’ve seen. A guy was mowing while I was there, and it looked like a cut hay field behind his mower. I wonder if they’ve ever heard of weed trimmers? The grass was so high around all of the headstones. Perhaps they are on a monthly mowing schedule.

Chief Bemidji's grave. An example of the tall grass around gravestones here.

Chief Bemidji’s grave. An…

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