Although we’ve never met in person, I was introduced to Mary Rajotte through the Horror Writers Association several years ago. I really love her ability to spin a story. When I asked her to contribute an essay to Death’s Garden Revisited, I wasn’t sure what I would get.
“Ebb and Flow: Finding My Way Back to Family,” the essay Mary sent, is a touching meditation on the way that cemeteries can bring a family back together, flowing together and apart like waves on a shore. I cannot wait for you to read it.
Officially, Canadian author Mary Rajotte has a penchant for penning nightmarish tales of folk horror and paranormal suspense. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies and she is currently compiling her first collection. Sometimes camera-elusive but always coffee-fueled, you can find Mary at her website http://www.maryrajotte.com.
Are you a fan of nightmarish tales? Mary’s zine FRIGHTMARISH is your invitation to stories of a darker nature. Each quarterly issue contains short folklore-inspired fiction, Gothic poetry, puzzles, activity pages, and creative nonfiction. To find out more about Frightmarish: a Gothic LitZine, visit Mary’s blog.
Tell me about your favorite cemetery.
I’ve only been there once, but I was immediately smitten with Mount Royal Cemetery in Montréal when I visited there in 2016. The trek up the mountain really introduced me to the grand opulence of the iconic entrance gates of one of the oldest rural cemeteries in North America. Being able to see Montréal from the panoramic lookout was incredible and really offered such a stark contrast to the cemetery’s tree-lined trails and lush gardens filled with songbirds. It’s such a massive place but it’s very serene and welcoming. I didn’t see everything I wanted to, so I’m planning to go back in the near future so I can study the incredible mausoleums and statues more, and maybe even bring my oracle cards along to do some readings while I’m there.
What is your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?
I’ve been enamored with tarot and oracle cards for a long time, but only recently started to explore the medium more deeply. Although I don’t have any ancestors in nearby cemeteries, when I’m able to revisit their resting places again, I plan to take offerings and spend time sitting with each gravestone to reconnect with my long-lost family.
Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?
As an author of Gothic stories, sometimes set in the Victorian era, I’ve always wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery in London, particularly the Egyptian Avenue, the Terrace Catacombs, the elaborate sculptures, the natural setting that has inspired so many writers and artists. It seems like a place one can easily get lost. Its lush surroundings seem like the perfect place to inspire my next story.
If you have any say in the matter, what would your epitaph be?
I was dropped from moonbeams and sailed on shooting stars (one of my favorite sets of lyrics from Radiohead).
Do you have a favorite song about cemeteries or graveyards?
Little Grave by Chelsea Wolfe.
I made a Death’s Garden Revisited playlist on Spotify, if you’d like some cemetery songs to listen to.
Rajotte’s chosen epitaph is beautiful!