Bliss Carman, whose death mask it was, and who supplies an appropriate quote.
Bliss Carman, whose death mask it was, and who supplies an appropriate quote.

I took advantage, for my workshop on the Supernatural, to take my students on a field trip to see the death mask of a historically known poet, conveniently placed in a near-by building.

None of them had even heard of ‘death masks’, let alone seen one. I invited them to incorporate the idea of a death mask into their writing exercises. Some did, some did not. However,  it’s possible this visit to death elicited the following story from one of my students. If any do take a look here, they’ll see that I said what I meant about writers stealing all and sundry.

My student and her husband had purchased a new house. Cleaning and renovations eventually took them to the back loft area, which was piled high with decades of accumulated detritus from a long life. They cleared out beds and boxes and newspaper piles and magazines and bundles of clothes and on and on. Anyone who has had to clear out a house knows what this is like.

Near the end of this process, my student noticed a “clump of something” on one of the wooden beams in the ceiling of the loft. Getting ladder and flashlight, her husband climbed to see what it was.  He did not nearly fall from the ladder – that’s hyperbole – but he was definitely taken aback. It was the end of a number of knotted bed sheets.

DE

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