Archive for December, 2008

She can’t afford to make movies…or even go to them…Is her dream dead?

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Dear Cemetery Mary,

I am in a position where I am deciding whether or not to bury my dream or continue pressing forward, despite how hopeless it seems at the moment. I, too, had grandiose dreams of greatness, but mine were of directing and the lifestyle that comes with such a position. Since college, I have declined a full time job and remained freelancing, living “hand to mouth” in order to have time to devote to shooting film projects, which were not just time-consuming, and required the non-stop begging of favors of fellow collaborators, but expensive as well, despite receiving said favors.  I juggled freelancing, working simply “to make money” in order to spend that remaining time shooting and directing, and what I thought at the time, “investing” that money in myself and my “dream”. I received many positive accolades for my work, but yet, have not yet been able to get signed with representation that would make me viable for the commercial jobs I dreamt of directing ever since I stepped foot onto a film set. 

For the last few years, I was always the girl with no money. Always looking for the least expensive item on the menu. Thinking twice when meeting up with friends, even with simple things like going to a movie. Always parking my beat up car around the block, avoiding any sort of doctor or dentists office. And for awhile, I felt like those things were part of my bigger cause. This past year, in an effort to take a big leap and “play a bigger game,” I was accepted into a small (in number of participants) but recognized program in the industry I have been trying to break into. After spending pretty much what I had in hopes of that big “reel” that I expected to bring with it representation and open doors into the world of commercial directing, I find myself right now in a downward spiral of depression. My inbox is empty and my cell phone sits silent on top of my desk. Maybe I haven’t given it everything I have, and maybe I need to continue. 

But I feel spent. I am ready for a more balanced lifestyle, one without the constant worry and anguish.  After weeks of sitting in my apartment, alternating between the desk, my phone, and my bed, I am finally bringing myself to write about my reflections on what is happening. I truly appreciate what you did with your book burial ceremony, and the website, and the articles, and I just felt you were such an appropriate person to share my story with. I would love to figure out how to turn some of the ideas you mentioned in your article “What the hell? The Secret Didn’t Work,” into something tangible and concrete for my every day life in order to move on, such as “let[ting] go of your idea about how something was supposed to happen to give it a real chance to succeed.” Even accepting that ““Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.  How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” 

Its hard to imagine that I’m supposed to be sitting here, hopeless, despair, feeling like a loser..etc. But I think I am ready to find out what’s next. How to move on and forward. How to get to the life I was meant to live. 

Director Seeking Direction


Beloved Director,

WOW, you’ve done a lot to pursue your dream. And then, while wildly twisting in the sheets of your own pity party, you had the wherewithal to seek help. Plus, you had the good sense to come to me, the Empress of all Pity Partiers (Did I not throw myself a funeral?) Let’s take a moment to give you a big attagirl.


Okay. Let’s get to work. Your dream sounds lovely, fascinating, intriguing. But I want to check something. You said that you wanted to pursue “directing and the lifestyle that comes with such a position.” That was the little nugget that caught my attention and I offer it back to you to chew on for awhile. Which part of you wants to pursue this dream to express yourself at the deepest level of your soul, and which part of you is into this “lifestyle.” I ask only because Cemetery Mary believes we are here to bring forth great creations (much like our good Mother Nature) that will make the world a more enchanting experience, and to enjoy ourselves while doing it (not that some sacrifice and crap work won’t be required). But I’ve spent enough time with my own ego, that I know it sometimes takes over and yearns for the things that I think my success will “get me.” I would spend some time meditating on how you feel when you do the work that is required of your dream, and really decide if the passion is there for the pleasure and purpose of the work side more so than the results and payoff side. (Not that I have anything against big payoffs, but at my age/stage of life, having fun or feeling satisfied with work is the place I put my attention.)

That said, dang girl, you’ve worked hard so — as they say at my cool Oakland church — don’t quit before the miracle. You might be two seconds from the finish line and not be able to see it because of your disappointment is blocking the view. It may be time to make some adjustments, but my assessment is that it is too soon to bury your dream. Instead, bury the worry and anguish, hopelessness and despair. Have a full on ceremony to let those vampires go and when you hear them yammering on in your mind at any time, just blow them kisses. They are big blowhards and don’t deserve to take up too much of your time.

How to get rid of these pests worry and anguish? Well certainly you’ve got to take care of yourself better financially because you deserve to go to the doctor and dentist and a movie once in awhile. Google Maslov’s hierarchy of needs and make sure you have the ones at the foundation and, FYI, it does include sex, which I think is mighty cool. Starting now you need to eat fresh healthy food, exercise, find a decent paying job and pour yourself and all the creativity you have into this work — what ever it turns out to be. Working jobs just to make money strangles the meaning out of life–or at least has us believing life must be postponed until…until what? No matter what job you take, use every moment of your working life to express yourself to the best of your ability (ie; you can’t hide behind the idea that what ever you are doing isn’t your “real job” thus you don’t have to be fully present.)

Delight in your well paid job, get your teeth cleaned, walk in the sunshine, have a laugh with a friend, and sex with someone cute (or something with batteries) and continue to pursue your dream, even if at a different pace. I don’t know what that pace is, as I also did the “throw myself completely into the project technique” and it led me to create the cemetery of dead dreams (meanwhile I also picked up a great job I never expected or planned for and it supports me and leaves time for funeral planning and answering advice requests.)

Are you supposed to be depressed? OF COURSE YOU ARE. Things have to get pretty nasty for us to actually take a large enough risk to really change our lives. (Did we not just see that in our political arena? How ridiculous would things have to be for this country to have the strength to elect Obama?) 

You are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be. You are composting. And decomposing is not painless or easy, just ask the caterpillar before he gets to be that great big beautiful flying winged thing. 

Your homework is to go out every day and pay attention to nature. It is winter. The sky pours out the tears, the landscape looks empty and desolate, but meanwhile there is much important work going on that is simply not obvious to the eye.

Don’t be stressin’ about a little depression. 

Good luck and check in next spring to tell me how you are flowering.

Rest in peace and joy, 

Cemetery Mary


And what to do with the dead dreams of my guests…?

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Dearest readers:

I’ve had a chance to lovingly pour through the casket of dead dreams that sat at the front of my dead dream funeral last Saturday, and LAWD HAVE MERCY, what a collection of eccentric dead dreams. Comic books, dancing shoes, silk scarves, love poems and letters, and lots and lots of currency for those who are giving up attachment to material things. All of these items are being stored in a safe box, surrounded by candles, incense and protective love — until we burn them to smithereens at the next important ceremony: The Cremation.

Yes, Reverand Rai, Song Mistress Lisa, and I have discussed that it is important that none of your dead dreams, dashed hopes, or disappointments get left in the world. Our deadline is New Year’s Eve 08. You will be purified. We all will be purified. And congratulations to those of you who GET IT. That you are just giving up on things turning out the way you thought they were supposed to, and opening yourself up INSTEAD to new love, new surprises, and new ways to realize your dreams. As it is said, We Plan, God Laughs. Let it all go. We will enjoy watching everyone, including ourselves, rise from the ashes in 2009. Stay tuned for updates about the cremation event. Should be hot.

In other, more self-promotional news, this is the best blog review of event: Silkstone – Open Salon

Rest in peace, love, and a hot bath full of lavender,

Cemetery Mary

The Funeral Reviews Are In…

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Dear Fellow Mourners,

The reviews from the funeral are coming in fast and furiously and they make me believe that we aren’t as afraid of death and loss and letting go as we all act…that maybe we really can and want to get over ourselves…

Handsome pallbearers enter with coffin.

Handsome pallbearers enter with coffin.

NOW, may the reviews of my book be so positive…

Rest in Peace & Joy,

Cemetery Mary



I am speechless. What an event, I was thrilled to be a part of it!!! Everyone, and I mean everyone who participated (your daughter, singers, speakers…) were all amazing! I can’t stop talking about it!!!

Wow! The funeral was spectacular. You (and the Reverend) did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the event, including the serious parts. Someone I know was there because he read about it in the paper. He’s a story teller (and published author, the bastard!). He was blown away and came over to me as soon as it ended to say that he thought it would make a great movie or play. He couldn’t stop raving about the concept, the execution, the whimsy and the serious content.

Oh,my– what an amazing event!  It was a blast and such a wonderful combination of humor and inspiration.  It was like being part of live theater. I’ve never been to anything like this, Mary, and I’ll never forget it. I bought a couple of copies [of the book and} read the first ten pages... last night.  Those retarded publishing companies!  The book, the way you put it together, is marvelous.  I hope you sold lots of copies. But then, I'm also reminding myself of what your pastor said -- that we are valuable for who we are,  and not for our accomplishments.  I hope to remind myself of this daily.
All I can say is that Saturday afternoon was a wonderfully creative, empowering, goose bumping, affirming, spirit lifting, joy-full noise making, celebratory testament to the power of letting go.   YES IT WAS!!!!!  Amazingly, you provided the refuge, the safe haven within which we could release our pain on buoyantly floating waves of positivity.   YES YOU DID!!!!!!

Author adding up cost of tasty funeral snack buffet.

Author adding up cost of tasty funeral snack buffet.

I had no idea what to expect and so was pretty much a blank canvass when I walked up to the Chapel.  However, as I approached the building I heard the vocal swells of some woman filling the night air and cloaking the space between me and the door.  I knew that something huge and unusual was going on.  Couldn’t wait to go in and experience what was happening on the other side….

What a fabulous funeral! I expected to go and have fun and to laugh.  It was much more than that.  I actually threw some old baggage into that coffin, and felt lighter and better for the whole experience. The music was amazing.  Who is that woman singer?  What a voice!  At one point when she was singing “Climb Every Mountain” I thought that every window in the Chapel of the Chimes might shatter. There were so many high points….certainly one of them was when the audience yelled NO to tossing the diploma into the coffin.

Just wanted to thank you…[the funeral] was just what I needed to do for myself. As a fellow writer, I sympathized with Mary. It was standing room only for this wonderful event. More people should do this for any reason whatsoever.

I can’t even properly describe how fun it was to be there…

And this blog entry from The Mysterious Funeral Parlour Lady

What on earth is she reading?

What on earth is she reading?

Today is the day! My funeral at last…I’m off to prepare my body.

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

But read about it here…

Oakland Tribune