I sing at funerals. That scares me sometimes because it reminds me of my hometown wakes and funerals when the same old ladies would put on their black dresses and show up. It was kind of a joke in our Irish-American community. My mother called them crepe hangers. It was, we thought, their one social activity—except for weekly Mass, of course. Wouldn’t it be funny if, in fact, they were having raging affairs no one knew about?
Uhhh…I don’t think so. But for their sakes, I hope so.
But anyway, I like to sing at funerals. Well, I just like to sing in general, but not enough to join the regular choir which rehearses every Wednesday night. As a funeral singer, you just show up an hour before it starts and you’re good to go.
As I was driving to the church yesterday for a funeral, for no reason whatsoever, I got the heebie jeebies about my novel, Shanty Gold.
What if it sucks? What if no one likes it? What if I’ve been kidding myself, my agent, and my publisher about its quality?
Don’t ask me why I do this. I just do.
After the funeral, I stopped to speak to an ancient Sister of Mercy. She has opened and operated all the Mercy Urgent Care Centers where I live, and they’re magnificent. I interviewed her once several years ago. I respect her talent without qualification.
She asked, “Still writing?”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact, my novel Shanty Gold will be published in 2015.”
“Then why do you look dejected?”
“Oh, Sister, I’m just in my old self doubt mode, questioning my talent.”
She looked at me kindly. Her old face was completely without wrinkles, lines, or rancor.
“You’ve done your best,” she said. “Turn the rest over to the Lord.”
Of course! Why is it so hard to do that?