My induction into The Order of the Good Death

I’ve been running with an interesting crowd these days.

I was equally surprised and delighted to be inducted into the venerable Order of the Good Death. I assure those of you that are curious about the induction ceremony, that it was, like, totally dark and mysterious. Swearsies.

But in all seriousness, the Order is doing some exciting work, and I really am in stellar company. The Order’s mission is to promote a healthy relationship with our impending demise via the works of academics, death professionals, and artists of all stripes.

Thus far I’ve written a few pieces for the Order’s blog when I have something deathy to report. I did a photo essay on the Yosemite Cemetery, and more recently a post about Vandaveer’s new murder ballad video and record. I have a few more posts up my sleeve, but time, as always, is of a premium and I hope to get to some of these updates soon.

The leader of the Order of the Good Death, the lovely mortician Caitlin Doughty, is truly an inspiration to us all. She answers people’s questions about death on her Ask a Mortician Youtube series, and is currently slaving away at the manuscript for her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which is a memoir about her first year working in a crematorium. She advocates for natural burial in a time when we are so removed from the realities of death, but I feel a palpable sense that a lot of folks feel the way that she and I do, that we should do the work to get more in touch with our impending mortality and enjoy our lives while we have them, and the reaction to our Death Salon event is proving me right.

Caitlin’s Order has influenced the creation of Death Salon, which I will be writing more about in the near future, and in whose planning I have taken a quite active role. Death Salon LA is shaping up to be, as one darling fan described it, “The Coachella of Death Writers.” We do have quite a lineup, but I promise, the tickets will not be quite so steep.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this movement, and lately, it sure has been moving. Pacific Standard magazine did a great profile on us recently. We’ve been getting inquiries from interested parties all over the nation (and sometimes the world) about being involved in Death Salon LA or hosting their own Death Salons in other cities. All of those things are forthcoming, my preciouses, but for now, onward to October and Death Salon LA!

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