Saturday, September 25

Epitaphs, Funeral Readings & Deathbed Books

What would you want to be the epitaph on your tombstone? What would you desire read aloud at your funeral?

A couple of years ago we talked about the book we would pick to continue reading our deathbed. I thought it might be fun to resurrect (ugh) that question to see if any of our responses have actually altered– mine has!– in addition to dig (ugh) a little deeper and discuss the literature that might play a role after you … leave your deathbed.

In 2015 we did a micro fiction contest using the words “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt,” a line from Kurt Vonneguts Slaughterhouse-Five when Billy Pilgrim envisions the words he d like to appear on his gravestone.

Your Epitaph

Thats an epitaph. In some cases an epitaph includes details about the person (” cherished mother,” for instance), but often theyre drawn from literature, poetry in specific. And thats what were searching for here: Some words from a poem or a novel/story, or from anything youve checked out– or composed!– that you d like to see on your tombstone.

What would be your epitaph, and why?


A lot of us plan/hope to not be buried and have a stone. If thats you, you can either pick to play along anyway or you can respond to a different concern: What would you wish to be checked out aloud at your funeral service, and why?

Your Funeral.

And just for enjoyable, how about a tune while youre being carried out?

As for deathbed reading, the rules from the very first time still use.

If you desire to choose a spiritual text, do not be shy about saying so. And be equally non-shy about choosing a book you wrote! Possibly you want your final reading experience to consist of the characters you created and care about?


Your Deathbed.

What book would you select to continue reading your deathbed, and why?

What would you desire to be the epitaph on your tombstone? What would you want check out aloud at your funeral? A few years ago we talked about the book we would pick to read on our deathbed. If you desire to choose a religious text, dont be shy about stating so. Perhaps you want your final reading experience to include the characters you developed and care about?

WriteByNight writing coach and co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has composed about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

I dont have my epitaph or funeral reading. In the initial deathbed reading post, I picked Johnny Tremain, my youth favorite. In the deathbed reading episode of Yak Babies, I selected Ed Abbeys The Fools Progress. What will I pick this time? I have no idea! Thats the coolest part: We do not have to choose, till were resting on it


WriteByNight is a writers service devoted to assisting you reach your imaginative capacity. We work with writers of all experience levels operating in all genres. Search our book training, manuscript assessment, publication assistance services, and register for your complimentary writing assessment today


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