I once heard the great Francis X. Clines of the New York Times tell a group of journalists never to apologize for writing about death. “We tell the morbid truth,” he said.
I was scheduled to deliver a workshop on “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times” on St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW. But on Friday the Thirteenth my mother, Shirley Clark, died at the age of 95. I cancelled my trip to Austin and turned my writing skills to crafting her eulogy.
Here are some of the things I would have said at SXSW if I had been able to make the trip. It riffs off my handout for the session, which you can access here. When I picked the selections of short writing for study, I didn’t realize how many of them were about death: dying, almost dying, fear of dying, recovering from a death, remembering a death, the legacy of death. Read more