Absolutely wonderful piece by Ray Sharp. Read more at raysharp.wordpress.com.
It was the kind of small town, and the kind of small-town newspaper, where people still read the obituaries. And he was the last real obituary writer; instead of replacing him, they turned the job over to funeral directors, who just filled in the basics — profession, church, hobby, survivors — a paint-by-numbers outline of a life.
But I’m already getting ahead of myself. He was the last, and he was the best. He wrote the best damned obits you’d ever hope to read. They were funny and sad and beautiful, suspenseful even, which was quite a trick when the title always gave away the ending.
And he was a real writer, to be sure, narrative arc and pacing, and, of course, character development, for what matters most after we are gone, for most of us good and ordinary folk, is not plot, but character. He had a…
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