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Slow Week

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My apologies for the light posting this week. Between work-work and literary-work, life has been incredibly hectic recently. I should be back up to normal speed in a day or two.

I typically do quite a bit of writing on the weekends. I can fill my bloggy pantry with posts and pull them out during the week. But I wasn’t able to write this weekend since I was out of town for a wedding. However, there was definitely a bookish bent to the weekend festivities.

Back in my old stomping grounds of Baltimore, MD, I started off by meeting friends at The James Joyce Pub. I can’t really say this was a literary excursion with a straight face. Baltimore does have a solid literary tradition, but I don’t believe Joyce stumbled around the Inner Harbor or Fells Point. I flipped through Ulysses recently and sure couldn’t find any references to crab cakes or Johnny Unitas touchdown passes. Maybe the owners of the joint are simply Joyce fans. But the wedding itself had an undeniable literary feel.

(alternate text)In 1786, the local Presbyterian community established a graveyard in downtown Baltimore. 1852, the city decreed that graveyards could only exist if they were adjacent to a religious building. So the Westminster Presbyterian Church was built directly over the graveyard. Instead of just trampling the gravesites with the building foundation, the church was erected on piers, respecting and protecting the graves underneath.

In 1849, Baltimore’s most famous, raven-obsessed poet was buried in the Westminster cemetery. Edgar Allen Poe was originally interred in the back of the grounds but the site was poorly tended and didn’t seem suitable for a writer of such fame and influence. In 1875, a new monument was dedicated in the front corner of the graveyard’s lot. The ceremony was attended by several luminaries, including Walt Whitman. Sharing the burial site with Poe are Virginia Poe and Maria Clemm.

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[Thanks to Wikipedia and The E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore for information about the church and graveyard.]

The building no longer houses regular religious services, but Westminster Hall is available for special events. My friends held both their wedding ceremony and reception at the venue and it was a beautiful day. Gorgeous weather, good friends, a beautiful reception, fantastic food, and nineteenth century caskets. Yep, during the cocktail hour, you could take a tour of the catacombs beneath the church and view historical methods of burying the dead. Some people might think that’s a weird thing to do during a wedding, but it definitely appealed to my more macabre sense of humor.

If I go to another wedding and hear Brickhouse or We Are Family one more time, I’m going to vomit. You can always see the bride toss her bouquet, you can always see the groom get the cake smushed in his face, and you can always see a crazy uncle (everyone’s got at least one) make a fool of himself. But seeing a hundred-year-old referigerated coffin? If you ain’t at Rob Zombie’s house, then that’s a damn surprising sight indeed.

So I was pretty worn out after the weekend away. Plus, I made the foolish mistake of resuming my soccer career this week. In my younger, thinner, more nimble, faster, more energetic, and less cantankerous days, I played a fair amount of soccer. Someday, I’m going to recount the tale of how my college soccer team got into a bench-clearing brawl while playing Barry Hannah’s alma mater, Mississippi College. Somehow, I don’t think punching people out on a religious school athletic field accrues too positive points with the man upstairs so I probably need to make up for that before my time comes. Anyway, that was a long time ago.

Now, I’m just an out of shape IT desk jockey. Which means that I’m still sore from soccer on Tuesday night. I managed to keep from passing out, vomiting, or hallucinating from lack of oxygen so it was a pretty successful night. I also realized just how much your game can improve if you are actually able to see. This was the first time I played soccer while wearing contacts and who wudda thought that seeing your teammates was so important?

Anyway, I’ve got some cool new stuff coming up so bear with me while I shake off this laziness. We have some great interviews, a piece on plagiarism, and a ton of book reviews ready to appear in the next week or so. Thanks for reading!