08 May 2010

Day 42: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  ISBN 9780061551895 (audiobook).

On the rare occasion there are books that remind me so much of places I've been.  Most books seem to be set in far fetched made up places or are described so generically that almost anyone can relate to them.  While I can understand why they do that, I like the vividness and detail that Gaiman uses in describing Bod's graveyard. 

It reminds me very much of Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.  This may sound a little morbid, but I've always had a deep affection for cemeteries.  Not because dead people are buried there and I like hanging out in the middle of night performing black mass or anything crazy like that.  I look at cemeteries as a kind of under used park with what is usually very nice statuary, well manicured lawns, and a boatload of reading material/history right at your feet (literally).  Some of the cooler cemeteries even have guided tours.

Oakwood Cemetery was one of those.  I was on co-op at the time for the Syracuse Peace Council.  Part of my payment included a room with a member of the Peace Council.  I was staying with an old British couple, one of whom was particularly hard to deal with sometimes.  Their 33-year-old son was also at the house frequently enough and tended to be creepy and incredibly inappropriate towards me.  I did end up leaving that situation about a month before my co-op ended, but in the meantime I coped by spending as much time out of the house as possible.  Since the graveyard was nearby, that's where I spent most of my time (especially when it was nice out).

Gaiman's cemetery is much like mine was; full of hills, and headless statues, and crypts.  It was also full of stories, ones that I never really explored as much as I would have liked.  I did go on a Salt Baron tour hosted by the local historical society/friends of the graveyard.  I would have gone on more, but it got too cold and most of the other tours while I was there were cancelled.  Still, it was nice to find a place where I could be at peace, funny that the living should find rest in the graveyard.

*The picture is one of mine, taken in Fall 2004 at the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.  You can find additional pictures at my deviant art account.

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