The Good Funeral Guide Blog

No hiding place

Monday, 7 July 2008

It’s a ticklish business, if you’ve never done it before, launching a website.

Launch? That’s a big verb. It’s not what it felt like: no tarantara, no wild whooping, no champagne-dripping prow.

Nothing like that at all. Simply, Harry, my webmeister, emailed late one uneventful evening. “You’re live,” he said. I inhaled a deep breath of expectation and held it (as you do).

Nothing happened.

That suited me very well because I was then struck down by the sort of virus that has all the malignant force of an inept practical joke. It makes the world whirl nauseously, then moderates and settles down to conducting a guerrilla campaign against your sense of balance. You feel drunk all the time, but shabbily so. It’s called labyrinthitis. I hope you never get it.

While my world spun and I lurched, the bathos continued. I had supposed that people would eventually spot me, stroll up and have a chat. I felt vulnerable, of course, though this is the point of the exercise: to encourage collaboration. But I know (you too) that there are jealous, angry egos in the world of death and funerals; and we know, too, that there are also bedlamites in cyberspace ready to squeak and gibber at us in foam-flecked lower case in which even the plurals are unapostrophised. In these last days of passing unnoticed among strangers I have relished my anonymity, my peace and the decorum of my inbox.

I have broken cover. I have been talking to the well-connected blogger Zinnia Cyclamen, whose prose has that limpid quality which is the product of intellect, fastidiousness and rigour, and in whose presence one’s own punctuation and grammar reflexively adopt their best behaviour. Zinnia is a writer and a humanist funeral celebrant whose adventures are a must-read.

Zinnia has read a tranche of my text and critiqued it with an acuteness which has both enriched my thinking and exposed my prejuduces. Dammit, I’d meant to keep them tethered; I don’t want the Good Funeral Guide to be a manifesto. I must go straight to work and dig the me-ness out of it, especially in the section Creating the Ceremony. The process of evolution has begun.

Zinnia has also written about me on her blog and invited her e-chums to have a gander. You are very welcome.

I hope that, together, we can make something we are all proud of.

Oh heck, I’ve just checked my inbox. While I’ve been writing this, the first-ever comment has come in.

It’s nice. Thank you, Jan!

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