April 7, 2009 | Leave a Comment
What an intriguing story! How could you not pick up this book after hearing this interview! More about Frieda Gates from her website:
Sawney Beane’s clan of brutal thugs grabs comely young Elspeth Cumming as she journeys to meet her betrothed. Her abductor, Sawney Beane’s eldest son, holds Elspeth captive in the clan’s secret hideaway deep in the caves off the coast of Galloway. The caves are home to Beane’s inbred extended family — 48 in all, each worse than the last — and exhibit acts of unspeakable brutality. As she witnesses the horror of the clan’s vicious way of life, Elspeth realizes that the dreadful rumors whispered about the Beane clan are all too true. And as she comes to know and relate to her captor, Elspeth also sees just what the clan has in store for her — and that escape from the caves is near impossible…This compulsively readable historical thriller immerses readers in one of Scotland’s most colorful legends.
March 25, 2009 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome to Sound Authors! It’s already almost the end of winter here in New York. It’s a beautiful day; the sun is shining, crispy late winter air out here. We’ve got four guests on the show today; I’m very excited about it. We had our final guest cancel on us, he’s got the flu, and it’s that time of year so I’ve got a special guest to sit in for him. Her name is Sarah Watkins and we’re going to chat with her at the end of the program. She’s an amazing vocalist and violin player, she’s famous for being the lead singer of Nickel Creek and we’ll talk to her at the end of the show. She’s of course our author of sound. Then I’ve got three sound authors to start off the show. Those will be Frieda Gates, the author of Sonny Beam – it’s a wonderful book. Bob Cesca with a Forward by Ariana Huffington a book called One Nation Under Fear: Scaredy cats and fear mongers in the home of the brave. A very clever title and clever cover. Then I’ve got the third guest on the show who is Keith Lee Morris with his novel called The Dart League King. It’s a gorgeous book. So we’ll start off the show today speaking to Frieda Gates about her book, Sawney Beane. Welcome to the show.
Frieda Gates: Hello!
Dr. Kent: So tell me a little bit about this book. Where did it start? Where did it come from in your mind?
Frieda Gates: Well it’s based on an actual event. The event was recorded by Daniel Defoe and actually when he wrote under the pseudonym Captain Charles Johnson and there’s some dispute there whether it was actually Defoe or not. But it’s about Sawney Beane who was a legendary character throughout the British Isles and is noted because he existed on cannibalism and propagated incest. For 25 years he lived in a cave and living in this manner until he was finally discovered, it took a long time. And executed along with his entire family. Now there’s some law where they wonder if the children, since they were brought up by these cannibals and therefore know no other way of life, yet they were executed just because they were his children and that’s been kind of a question of law whether children growing up in such circumstances are actually guilty.
Dr. Kent: Now what a fascinating topic for a book and you know, we could all listen to this all day long about these mysterious times and events and all of that. Now you’re well known for children’s literature and you’ve done a lot of other things. This is a heavy topic.
Frieda Gates: Yes, in fact I was wondering if I even should have written it under my own name because I didn’t want it to be put into the children’s section by mistake. The fact that it has sex and violence it’s certainly not for children. My other books are children’s books and textbooks. So this is quite a ways and it was funny because I took a course in short story writing and one of the assignments was to write a dialogue while eating. I did that and then I wrote 40 other short stories all in the same subject. One had to do with cannibalism and I love research. In researching cannibalism I came across Sonny Bean and couldn’t really understand why there was never another novel written about him other than the record by Daniel Defoe. And it just was ripe for the telling so I did it. Of course I had this reputation and they said if Frieda invites you to dinner watch out because she may be it.
Dr. Kent: And this isn’t normally something we think about coming from that part of the world. We have such a love affair with Ireland and Scotland and we think of upright folks and the hunt for the holy grail and the Dan Brown novel and the bagpipes and the kilts. So what’s been the reaction to this?
Frieda Gates: It’s interesting you say that because Daniel Defoe was English and a journalist and the Scots always claimed that the story was fictitious and he just made it up because he wanted to write something derogatory about the Scots. I went to Scotland of course to do research and I was amazed that everybody knew who Sonny Bean was but they always had this reticence to talk about him because there’s ballads written about him and he’s very famous but whether it’s actually true or not is up for grabs. Of course Daniel Defoe wrote under many different pseudonyms, in fact he wrote for four different newspapers at the same time with four different opinions and he was imprisoned for not paying debts. He was a terrible character so even the life of Defoe is interesting.
Dr. Kent: So bring us into what was the setting back then in the 15th century. I mean it’s such a murky, we understand history back about to 1700 and 1600 and in this country people get a little nervous before that. What was happening around there, before we usually hear about?
Frieda Gates: I love research and I love history so I enjoy thoroughly going into all of this; actually 16th century and of course Mary Queen of Scots was executed at that time and monks were on the run and there was a whole thing about Catholicism, particularly in Scotland and Knox who was of course popular at that time so religion was a very important element and I had to of course include it in my story. In order to get to the story of Sonny Bean and the record that Defoe tells is about Sonny Bean being a lazy kid who has a disagreement with his father, steals his fathers’ money and runs off and hooks up with this prostitute.
Then they meet up with a knight and find themselves living in a cave on the coast of Galloway. Of course I get into the wars because the knight had just returned from all the wars the Scots and the English were having and the French were involved. So history plays a big part in my novel and as I say I am a history buff so I enjoyed it all. I would look up every thing like what kind of shoes they wore or when I talk about loot I wanted to know what the loot was that they stole from the people they killed. I had to work in how they became cannibals. Why they first decided to cook and eat the child and it gets a little bit weird. Finding out what people taste like and I found that out had to inject that into the story. So it was pretty fun doing the book really but friends didn’t really want to come here for dinner worried about what I was going to serve.
Dr. Kent: Go into the story itself here. It’s the abduction of Elspeth Cummings; Sawney Beane. Give us a nutshell.
Frieda Gates: Well the abduction is purely fabrication. I had to somehow explain Sonny Bean and how he got caught so the easiest way to do it was to dwell on the life of a young girl who is captured by the family and kept alive for awhile. So then since I got into that part of the story I had to backup and say how she came to be on the road where she was abducted so it all would tie together. That’s when I really had to do research into what Scotland was like at that time, what the architecture was like, what the trades people were in, everything; even the clothes they wore and what they ate so its really a history lesson.
Dr. Kent: What got you into this in the first place? Tell us a little about your background as a children’s author.
Frieda Gates: I started out in advertising and I was an art director and an illustrator. I illustrated a book that a friend had written. I was puppeteer at the time and I became very friendly with the editor who I was working with and she said to me why don’t you write a book on puppetry and I said well I’m really an illustrator and she said oh you can do it, I’ll help you. So I wrote a book on puppetry and before I knew it in ten years I had written nine other books. It just seemed like one followed the other.
Then I started teaching how to write and illustrate for children and I realized there was no textbook on the subject so I wrote a book called How to write, illustrate and design children’s books, which I am at the moment revising because now I have to put in all the computer stuff that wasn’t in it 25 years ago. So one book sort of led to another. My husband was also a writer of textbooks so I worked with him on several textbooks he wrote in the art field and the last book I wrote for children was an Indian legend called Allies and I have a whole collection of Indian creation stories because my father was a Mohawk Indian, which is another area I’d like to write about some day.
Dr. Kent: Your father was a Mohawk Indian? Tell us more about that before you go on!
Frieda Gates: Well he’s from kanawaka, which is a reservation on the other side of St. Lawrence and they were the first field workers when the Canadian company needed to put their bearings or whatever it is on the kanawaka’s land and the only way they could do it was if they employed the Indians there. The reason they were called Mohawks is because of the French Jesuits converted the Mohawks to Catholicism and when they got the reservation in kanawaka it was predominantly Mohawk although there were other Oneida and Quoi nations but Mohawk was the language that they adopted.
Anyway the Mohawks became these you know the lower kind of workers that would be carting materials around and they didn’t like that; they wanted to get out and become riveters, which they did. There was a letter written one time saying it was like putting ham with eggs. These Mohawks were just so great at it. So they helped build that bridge and before you know it, they came to New York and they were building sky scrapers. They started a community [...] so the Mohawk language, they had grocery stores where they would sell things like bear grease and the community was Mohawk and all the people working there were sky men. They had to fight for the right to live in Brooklyn because they came from Canada, and that’s a whole other story!
Dr. Kent: Wow, so you’re full of them!
Frieda Gates: A little bit yes. Well I’m a researcher.
Dr. Kent: Its really amusing speaking about all of these things. Lets talk about now how has this book been received in public? Back to the Sonny Bean, it’s a dark book but it’s great to read a dark book now and again. Its not something you want to read curled up ready for bed, its kind of spooky, but what was it like going through the experience of writing a dark book?
Frieda Gates: Well I’m fascinated by the macabre so it’s my cup of tea. I had some trouble with the ending of it, I won’t tell you how it ends but the first ending my agent didn’t like because it wasn’t what she felt the ending should be and she had me rewrite the ending. Then my editor with whom the book was finally being published said she didn’t like the ending and I said well that wasn’t my original ending, which I couldn’t find and had to rewrite it but then went back to the first ending, which my editor seemed to prefer and that’s what’s in the book. So it’s a matter of whether it should be upbeat ending or not – well, I don’t want to give the ending away!
Dr. Kent: Indeed not! It’s been a great honor speaking with Frieda Gates, she’s the author of many, many books and I’m excited to now see if I can find the children’s book to go with the Sawney Beane copy I have to see the great extent of work she’s done. This book is wonderful, put out by Cambridge House Press called Sawney Beane: The abduction of Elspeth Cummings. Thank you so much for chatting with us today.
Frieda Gates: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is going to be Bob Cesca; he’s the author of One Nation Under Fear: Fear Mongers in the Home of the Brave. We’re going to speak to him in one minute; come on back for that.
December 3, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. It is our Halloween show and my next guest is Ellie Cornell and she is a known horror actress and she’s known as the infamous Rachel Carruthers and she’s going to share some experiences as that icon and also as a producer and all of that. Welcome to the show.
Ellie Cornell: Hi Dr. Kent, thank you for having me.
Dr. Kent: I see that you are from Long Island.
Ellie Cornell: I am, I was born in Glencove. I lived there just when I was little and then we moved down to the mountains in North Carolina.
Dr. Kent: Well it’s beautiful out on Long Island today, that’s where I am.
Ellie Cornell: It is indeed.
Dr. Kent: Where are you talking to us from?
Ellie Cornell: I am in Los Angeles.
Dr. Kent: Your newest project, you made your directorial debut with this film Prank and also Halloween 4 and 5.
Ellie Cornell: I haven’t yet. We haven’t shot mine yet. Danielle Harris has shot her section and essentially its three short films that will be made into a full length feature, the wrap around story around all three stories. Heather Langencamp is directing the third one.
Dr. Kent: Tell me what is it like being in the genre of horror, doing these films. Now when you’re doing them do you kind of think this is funny? Or do you go home at night and you cant sleep and all of that.
Ellie Cornell: I would probably go with the second one. When I did Halloween I was pretty new in the business, I was very new actually and I mean it feels kind of tongue in cheek when your doing it and you certainly don’t have the luxury of the music and some of the CGI special effects, but I think to really for me as a performer to commit to those moments, you have to go there and just from an adrenaline standpoint especially with Halloween 4 where there is a lot of physical stuff. The only time we used the stunt woman was free fall off the roof but still all the roof top stuff with Danielle Harris on my back and sliding down and being chased by Michael Myers so that was all us and I think to get fired up for it you have to bring a certain amount of truth to it.
Playing my death the first time was really weird because that was in Halloween 5 and you’re all kind of wired up with blood tubes for the fake blood and the blood guys under the bed with the blood pump. It’s all very synthetic but the moment itself is strange; it’s strange and it’s spooky and the stuntman that played Michael Myers was physically enormous and really towered over me. So there was something kind of scary about playing that moment as well.
Dr. Kent: How about the whole genre of horror. Its funny, the guest I just spoke with was talking about cemeteries and its such a solemn place.
Ellie Cornell: She was fascinating!
Dr. Kent: Yeah and at the same time you’ve got what’s turned into this sort of macabre holiday where people want to watch ten horror movies in a row and dress up in crazy costumes. What is the fascination with horror?
Ellie Cornell: I don’t know, I think I relate mostly to its amazing how much horror films have changed since I did my Halloween’s. The whole industry has really gotten darker and really pushing the envelope in a different way but I think its still fun to be scared. I think obviously there’s a dark, edgy side to it but for most people it’s really fun to be scared and you know it’s fake. The next day the stuff gets put away and you keep living your life. But I do think it’s a day where people can kind of go a little bonkers but horror films today are a different breed for sure.
Dr. Kent: You’ve done quite a bit of acting in television shows and things outside of horror. What makes you always come back to horror? Is it the fact that you’re well known in the genre?
Ellie Cornell: I’m just really lucky, no I’m kidding. My husband Mark Gottwald is a producer and his production company I mean he doesn’t, when he had a production company we did quite a bit of horror and I was lucky. They would say do you want to be in this one? And here’s the role you’re going to play. It was great and I don’t like to say no to work and I did it. I found that each experience I’ve never played the bimbo.
I just got to keep playing strong characters. I had really cool weapons that I got to learn to use and whether it was getting weapons training or pyrotechnic effects; blood bags exploding its just a fascinating way to go to work. There’s such a dichotomy. I remember when I was making House of the Dead up in the woods in Vancouver I had this enormous Mossberg gun; it’s really army used and with a laser scope on it. I would go do that from Monday through Thursday and I would go back to my home in Los Angeles and I was in this women’s club. I thought if these women only knew what I did during the week. It was such a kooky way to live. But its fun! I can’t complain.
Dr. Kent: You use the word kooky. Wasn’t that the tagline for the Addams Family, right?
Ellie Cornell: Well it is! There’s no other way to describe it. It’s just a whole cultural phenomenon and I know sci-fi fans are the same way but when you meet these folks, they love this stuff. They love the blood and the gore and I mean I’m pretty lucky. My stuff has been pretty tame and I like it that way. I’m not into going too crazy with my work but yeah, kooky is the only word that comes to mind to describe it, or nutty – take your pick.
Dr. Kent: Talk about your original character Rachel Carruthers and why was she so popular?
Ellie Cornell: Talk about getting lucky. I remember getting the script and when they tapped me for Halloween 4. I think she was kind of the girl next door and thought that was unusual about her and especially in hindsight because I didn’t really understand what she meant during the time but I do now looking back. I think she was one of those characters that broke the mold in general in terms of she wasn’t a bimbo, she wasn’t the popular cheerleader but you kind of rooted for her and she gave Michael Myers a run for his money the whole way through it and the fact that she lived, that’s my claim to fame.
I lived through a whole film without getting it. Obviously I got it in the first 12 minutes of Halloween 5 and I knew that was coming too when I got the script. I knew it was going to be in there somewhere and the writers had written Halloween 5 that Rachel was to get scissors shoved down her throat and I said, “No way. She’s too smart for that. No, that’s not how she’s going to go.” So they rewrote it and made it a little tamer and a little more dignified. I don’t know, I think they related to her because she was the girl next door. She didn’t even really get the guy. Brady ended up with the bimbo. People could relate to her, they wanted her to win.
Dr. Kent: How about today? You have two daughters, what does Halloween mean for your family?
Ellie Cornell: Oh, they get such a kick out of it. Like if I get recognized or whatever. I let them see Halloween finally pretty recently and it really scared them. It’s a really scary movie without being too over the top. It’s not scarring but it’s still a good fright. They think it’s really cool to be on it, they think it’s great. My husband loves horror films. We showed them Invasion of the Body Snatchers and that almost scarred them for life; the whole pod thing. It freaked them out but that’s not where their interest lies in terms of the films they go see with their buddies but like The Ring; there’s certain horror films. And I liked Disturbia, I thought it was great because it was more along the lines of Hitchcock where they really lead you along. They don’t need the in your face stuff.
Dr. Kent: I remember as a kid seeing Night of the Living Dead one day when my folks were away and I snuck down to the TV and watched it and then snuck back up to my room in the dark when they came home and man I didn’t sleep that night!
Ellie Cornell: My daughter I know one of them has seen that with my husband and that is really yeah. That kind of started it all; those old ones really hold their own for the most part.
Dr. Kent: What do you think? Do you enjoy all kinds of these horror movies or do some turn you off? Like the spoofs of horror movies, what’s your favorite?
Ellie Cornell: I think those are funny but I like things that are really fresh, that haven’t been done over and over again. I’m not that into the whole sequel thing. I don’t go to a lot of the sequel stuff but like I thought the Ring was really original. I still love Hitchcock, I think I always find something new and I think these films most of them are really smart in their own way. I think there’s a whole bunch of bad ones but the ones that are good, they stay classics and hold their own and stand the test of time. I really liked Halloween 4 for what it was, the writing and Dwight Little was a great director and it was simple. It wasn’t a complicated story.
Dr. Kent: Tell us a little about your upcoming film Prank and then what else you’re working on nowadays?
Ellie Cornell: Prank hopefully will happen after the New Year. Danielle’s already shot her segment and essentially I’m going to shoot a six day shoot which is fast and furious just perfect for me. I get to have a hand in all the casting and location scouting. Essentially it’s about three pranks. Each of our shorts are about three completely different stories. It’s a female character that drives all three stories, three different females. Mine is called Cassidy and it’s about pranks that go horrifically wrong.
So it’ll be a directorial boot camp for me, I’ve never done it and was thrilled to have the opportunity and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully that will be January or February at the latest so that will take up a lot of my time in prepping and getting that ready. I’m psyched to cast it. When I’m meeting actors now I’m thinking where can I put you in? And I have a big cast and I did an elevator stunt and there was a cat and I said take the kitty cat out of there, I tried to keep it simple and keep the budget down so that it’s not too overwhelming.
We’ll see but I’ve seen clips of Danielle’s and she did a superb job. I’ll see her this weekend and she was my costar and little sister in the Halloween films. She played Jamie, but I’ll see Danielle Harris this weekend at the 30 years of terror thing in Pasadena. The original Halloween is 30, isn’t that unbelievable? Time flies.
Dr. Kent: Wow. 30 Years of Terror in Pasadena. We can go check out Ellie Cornell and its been a blast speaking with you. Happy Halloween.
Ellie Cornell: You’re so sweet Dr. Kent, thank you for having me.
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is Paul Mullen. He’s going to read from his book about Creeper and His Fake Eye and we’ll come on back for that.
December 2, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome to Sound Authors. Today is Friday, October 31st (also known as Halloween). It used to be a spooky day but now it’s just a day to represent capitalism and little kids going out greedy for candy, but isn’t that truly American also? I’ve got four guests on the show today. The first guest will be Marilyn Yalom and her book is called the American Resting Place: 400 Years of History through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds. My second guest is Ellie Cornell. She’s also known as the infamous Rachel Carruthers from the horror film series Halloween. My third guest is Paul Mullins, the acclaimed author of The Day I Hit a Homerun, which is going out to ballparks across the country. He has a spooky chapter to read. And my last guest on the show is the American singer/songwriter in Germany, Marybeth Damico and she has a couple tunes from her album, Heaven, Hell, Sin and Redemption. My first guest on this Halloween show is Marilyn Yalom and she’s written the book American Resting Place: 400 Years of History through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds. Welcome to the show.
Marilyn Yalom: Hello!
Dr. Kent: So tell me, how on earth did you come across this idea in the first place? To write a book about cemeteries and burial grounds in this American history.
Marilyn Yalom: Well it came after the death of my mother and my visit to her cemetery. I noticed the changing of seasons and the different offerings that people would bring. I got very interested in the lore of cemeteries.
Dr. Kent: You’ve written books before, several books that have done very well, including Blood Sisters, History of the Wife, History of the Breasts, and Birth of the Chest Cream. How did this differ from the other books?
Marilyn Yalom: The other books were clearly female focused whereas this encompasses all of humanity and the amazing thing was the diversity of religions and ethnicities that you find in this country and that are inscribed in stone.
Dr. Kent: Wow. Before we get into talking about cemeteries, since you talk about diversity, what do you think about the possibility of a black president here on Tuesday?
Marilyn Yalom: I think that the possibility of a man who is half black and half white is definitely a good thing for this nation. I could say more about that but then I’m so disenchanted with what we have had during the past eight years that the thought of a continuation makes me sick.
Dr. Kent: Let’s go away from that and talk about Halloween. It’s a nice departure for this one day to have a great American holiday. Most people think of death and cemeteries as morbid and taboo, but actually on Halloween it’s the day where people bring them out and celebrate them. How do you look at American history through the lens of this sort of morbid topic?
Marilyn Yalom: If you think of Halloween and then all souls day, which is the day of the dead in Mexico, preceded by All Saints Day on November 1, so you’ve got a trilogy of Halloween, all saints day, all souls day and this is essentially the belief that this is the time of the year when the dead return to earth. Some are afraid of that phenomenon and some welcome it. The Latino population makes it a celebration instead of a weekend of mourning. So if you visit and we have a Mexican-American cemetery in San Antonio, it looks like a huge festival with flowers and pictures and people come out with food. It’s the day in which even if you don’t believe that the dead return literally to the earth, you remember them, you encompass them once again in the tragic consequence of life.
Dr. Kent: What did you find them, you talked about diversity and I find that fascinating. In every election, for example right now it’s oh well, he might be a Muslim. I don’t have any trouble with Muslims, Jews or Christians or other religions as long as they’re good people. What did you find in these cemeteries?
Marilyn Yalom: It’s so interesting to see how people bring their religions and bring their languages and bring their ethnic customs to this country from everywhere; Europe, Africa, Asia, now from Latin America and the death rituals, the burial rituals, the mourning rituals are very conservative. They hang on a long time. One, two, three generations sometimes indefinitely. So if you go as we have done, my photographer son and I to 250 cemeteries throughout the country you will find the history of immigration written in stone and you will find this enormous diversity. Either people buried with their own so to speak, the Japanese with the Japanese and the Chinese with the Chinese in Hawaii.
Or you get ecumenical cemeteries, municipal cemeteries, with a variety and of course you mentioned the possibility of a black president. Blacks were buried separately for the most part not only in the south but also in the north and it took a law in the 50s in California to make it illegal to refuse burial to blacks in what was a predominantly white cemetery. Also you find discrimination in cemeteries along the lines of race and along socioeconomic lines and also as I write my book, the customs in the past were different for women than burial for men.
It was common to see a man with his first wife who had died and then a second wife on the other side. But that never pertained for women. For women, they were always buried next to the man who had been the last husband and whenever a woman was buried in the past you had her identified as wife, daughter, whereas that was much, much less common for men. So cemeteries are stone archives of our past. I learned more about American history visiting cemeteries than I had in my whole life before.
Dr. Kent: I’ve done a little bit of genealogical work when I was doing research on a musician. What significance to cemeteries have in our folk lore and in our chronicling of people, you know our biographies in our country?
Marilyn Yalom: Well they’re very useful in tracking down names, dates of birth and death, even when the records have been burned or destroyed. Paper records very often have but the stone continues to stand and is more or less legible depending upon the condition of the stone, which brings up another issue. I’m hoping that tomorrow in the New York Times there will be a picture by my son of the deterioration that takes place in cemeteries because of vandalism and because of the elements and acid rain. So even though we like to think that these are permanent markers, they can be whittled away and destroyed unless we do something about it.
There is an army of preservation that work today in this country; volunteers who go to cemeteries and record the inscriptions, repatch stones. The boy scouts have been very good at that.
Dr. Kent: One funny thing when you start talking about epitaphs I get two sort of images in my head. One is sort of the very serious solemn thing that I remember, but then there’s this other half which is the sort of comic epitaphs that have come through history. Did you find any comical epitaphs on the gravestones?
Marilyn Yalom: Yes, but not as many as one would think from the anthology of comic epitaphs that one can read but things like “I told you I was sick”, but it’s pretty uncommon. Usually you get “Rest in Peace” or you’ll get common epitaphs for women, “She did what she could”, talk about a self effacing epitaph, that’s one. One that I like is quite beautiful, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die” and that brings up a wistful note. The hopes that we will be remembered, which is of course the main reason that people put up tombstones. After all those are for the living rather than for the dead.
Dr. Kent: You said you visited 250 cemeteries across the country. How did you go about coming up with that plan? How did you go about it?
Marilyn Yalom: I did a lot of research, library research to begin with. There are a few other very substantial books on the subject differing from mine in that they are limited to a certain period or a certain region. So I am a scholar and a former professor so I did my homework reading whatever books there were before we sat upon this so I knew where to go. With a son who is adventuresome, we also made many discoveries that I couldn’t have done on my own because he’s sort of an intuitive person and I might be looking for something in the cemetery and he’d be off in another part of it following the light and come upon something that I would not have seen. So we were a good team and we did go everywhere.
As I said, 250 cemeteries, but there are 250,000 cemeteries in this country and it was a hard choice to go to New England and the south for the early American history. The Midwest and St. Louis, Chicago for the early 18th and 19th century, mostly 19th century. And then Texas, California and Hawaii. So we were really tracing the path of our immigrant ancestors and focusing on different ethnic groups. The Latino population in south Texas, the Japanese and Chinese population in Hawaii, not to mention the earlier immigrants; Anglos and Puritans in new England, also Irish and polish in Chicago; the French in New Orleans and St. Louis, so it really is a microcosm in the entire united states.
Dr. Kent: I have a couple more questions for you and one of them is what was the most beautiful cemetery that you found in all of your travels?
Marilyn Yalom: There are so many beautiful cemeteries and each one has its own aura. People say that Bonaventure in Savannah, Georgia is most beautiful; that’s the one that John Barren writes about in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That’s a very beautiful cemetery; Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is the first garden cemetery in the United States. That’s a very beautiful cemetery. We loved a very quiet, small cemetery, Amish cemetery in Lancaster County in Bird in Hand.
It’s so difficult to pick any one; Alsatians cemetery founded by Alsatian pioneers in Castroville, Texas. So I recommend that anyone who has a love for nature and particularly a love for the past, find your way to your nearest cemetery and find out if the dead need you. There may be stones that need to be cleaned up and patched and trash to be carried away. So this is going on all over the United States.
Dr. Kent: What changes do you see in today’s cemeteries and where do you think this will bring us?
Marilyn Yalom: I believe that we will think of the cemeteries that we’ve had in this country for 400 years as artifacts from the past. We are seeing an increase in cremation; about 1/3 to ½ of the population in this country depending on the region are choosing cremation. And the new movement is what we call a green burial, in which people are buried in biodegradable materials and some have just planted a tree or a bush over the grave and that is part of the new ecological movement with an emphasis on the planet rather than on using resources that can pollute the air. So I see a future in which our traditional cemetery will be something to be preserved but probably nothing that will be expanded.
Dr. Kent: What a fascinating discussion to have on Halloween. It’s not a book that’s gruesome and scary. It’s a beautiful narrative of American history called The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds by Marilyn Yalom. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Marilyn Yalom: I enjoyed it, thank you.
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is Ellie Cornell a different side to Halloween. The entertainment side of it where people dress up and get crazy and she is Rachel Carruthers from the horror film series Halloween and she’s going to share some of her experiences coming up. Be back for that.
November 9, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Paul Michael Mullen was born in 1960 and is the youngest boy in a family of six. He was heavily influenced by his father to begin his career in engineering. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology, he left the United States Air Force as an E-5 and worked at Rockwell as an engineer on the B-1B Bomber in Palmdale, California.He continued working in industry and continued attending evening school receiving his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan in 1984. After receipt of his master’s degree, he accepted his first management position at The Miller Group in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, manufacturer of T-shirts and sweatshirts.
While on sabbatical at Indiana University and attending his summer internship for his doctorate’s degree n business management, he received a vision believing God had a more important mission for him, and so he wrote SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY – a self-help guide still available for sale on the used book market.
In 1993 a synopsis of his doctoral thesis on the effectiveness of employee monetary systems used in industry as an employee motivator was published in Industrial Management and his research on motivational theory serves as a model and still used in industry and in management research today.
Dr. Mullen continued working in industry rising to an executive staff position as operation’s manager for United Air Specialists and Armor Metal. And yet within himself, he knew his chosen career path wasn’t manufacturing.
After resigning his post at United Air Specialist, he took the opportunity to teach struggling eighth-grade readers at Hardee Junior High School in Wauchula, Florida where he discovered his true calling as a writer/educator. In 2007, THE DAY I HIT A HOME RUN AT GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK was published and the author is currently touring the Midwest promoting health and family literacy and teaching students how to become more effective readers.
Dr. Mullen and his wife, Sharlene, have two college-educated children, and live on a small organic farm in Oxford, Ohio where they raise steer, chickens, and horses.
To live without hope is to die a little more each day