Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obituary conferences are about life, not death.

Brenda Bolinger wrote an article titled Obituary conference showed obit writers fascinated with life lived for the Claremont-Courier (Claremont, Calif.).

She wrote it from her perspective of having attended the Portland obit writers workshop in May and a Numbered Great Obituary Writers Conference in Las Vegas, N.M., in 2003.

In her multilayered answer to the question - What in the world happens at an obituary writers conference? - Brenda provides a report on the Portland gathering and her commentary on obit writers conferences in general.

She writes that the conferences are not depressing, but Invigorating, fascinating, inspiring, challenging, moving and even laugh-inducing, but not depressing.

Judging from the frequency with which I was asked this question, or a variation thereof, I believe there is a misconception about obituary writers. The prevailing perspective is that we are mired in death. How far from the truth.

We are, instead, mired in life. We intentionally, vigorously steep ourselves in life, in history, in relationships and personalities. Far from being attracted to this profession out of a morbid or melancholic obsession, obituary writers find the allure of life keeps them rooted in the profession.

I think she's got something there.

We're waiting for reports on the 10th Great that was held the weekend of June 13.

(One point of clarification: Brenda refers to the Portland workshop as the Society of Professional Obituary Writers "first annual conference." Although the Portland event provided the opportunity for SPOW's first meeting, the workshop/conference was put on independently by Amy Starke and Joan Harvey of The Oregonian.)

No comments: