The Last Ones to Let You Down
One memoir I’m looking forward to reading

One memoir I’m looking forward to reading

Columbine memorial

I recently saw this announcement on Publisher’s Marketplace:

Memoir
Mother of Dylan Klebold, one of Columbine High School shooters, Sue Klebold’s story, inviting readers into the very private struggle of the last fifteen years as she and her family have tried to understand the events of that terrible day and the role they ultimately played in it, with the hope that the insights she has gleaned…

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History! Fall colors! Cemetery walk in Mankato on Saturday, Sept. 27

History! Fall colors! Cemetery walk in Mankato on Saturday, Sept. 27

The colors in the Glenwood Ravine likely will look much like this on Saturday. Photo by author.

The colors in the Glenwood Ravine likely will look much like this on Saturday. Photo by author.

If I weren’t presenting at the South Dakota Festival of Books this weekend, I would be participating in Mankato’s cemetery walk Saturday, Sept. 27, at the beautiful and historic Glenwood Cemetery.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous! And the trees are starting to turn colors here in southern…

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If a man is buried and no one is there to see it, did he really die?

If a man is buried and no one is there to see it, did he really die?

Photo Credit: Ðenise via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ðenise via Compfight cc

Imagine this:

Your son has died, but you know only when. You don’t know where he died, or how.

He was a soldier. There’s been fighting and unrest nearby, but your government won’t acknowledge that. Someone is fighting there, but it might as well be phantoms because there’s no official word.

Your son has a secret funeral, held early in the morning (others are…

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The strangest question I’ve been asked at a book event

The strangest question I’ve been asked at a book event

SDFestival

The South Dakota Festival of Books is rapidly approaching: Sept. 26-28 in Sioux Falls. I’m excited to be presenting a writing workshop there along with doing a reading. Too bad my reading is at the same time as Tony Earley (Jim the Boy). Fortunately he’s also giving a writing process talk, so I look forward to that. And Kate DiCamillo is the keynote speaker. It’s always nice to hear her speak!

I…

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"Lay Some Flowers On My Grave"

“Lay Some Flowers On My Grave”

rachaelhanel:

A post about cemetery flowers from two years ago. I like the old photos I included here; I haven’t seen anything like this in the modern era.

Originally posted on We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down:

Emma Manske grave, Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery, Mankato, Minnesota

This photo was among many collected by a great-aunt of my husband’s. My interest in cemeteries had led me to see many…

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Why writers need literary heroes

Why writers need literary heroes

In 2002, I saw Susan Orlean speak at a St. Paul library. I was working as a newspaper journalist at the time, and Orlean was a writer I had admired since I was introduced to her work in college. By 2002 I had read The Orchid Thief probably at least a couple of times, so I was excited to meet her.

One thing you should know about me: I’m that annoying person who has to meet everyone. It’s not…

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5 ways to get the creative flow going

5 ways to get the creative flow going

Photo Credit: charliebarker via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charliebarker via Compfight cc

School has started, which means less time for my own creative projects. I’m a little scared, but oddly enough have always worked better when I have many things on my plate.

For the past year or two, I have felt my creativity wane. Perhaps it was because I had finished my memoir and was focused on marketing, the book release, and the events that were…

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You won’t believe how popular this author photo is

You won’t believe how popular this author photo is

My author photo by Steven Pottenger. I love this photo so much, and am so grateful to my friend Steven for taking it. We went to a small cemetery outside of Eagle Lake, Minnesota, in late fall.

My author photo by Steven Pottenger. I love this photo so much, and am so grateful to my friend Steven for taking it. We went to a small cemetery outside of Eagle Lake, Minnesota, in late fall.

My memoir takes place in a cemetery, so naturally I wanted an author photo that had a cemetery background.

I was curious to see if I could find other author photos taken in a cemetery. It’s not as uncommon…

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From the archives: The ethics of writing about those who have died

From the archives: The ethics of writing about those who have died

Dad in late 1988/early 1989.

Dad in late 1988/early 1989.

NOTE: This was originally published on July 8, 2012.

I have no doubt that my dad would approve of my memoir. He was the type of guy who enjoyed meeting people. I like to think he had such a big personality that he’s not going to let death stop him from meeting new people, which he can continue to do through my book. I think he’d be thrilled to know his name will be in…

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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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