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what the forest holds, and a gift from Charles Dickens

Once upon a time the renowned British author Charles Dickens visited the United States. While his visit ultimately did not leave him with positive thoughts for our country, he did perform one act that to this day remains a mystery.

During his journey across the United States he made his way to Virginia around February or March in 1842. It is documented well that Dickens left with a distaste of Virginia because of its dependency on slavery. However, when a request is made of him, something that ultimately will align Virginia with the only evidence of his visit to the United States, he complies.

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Charles Dickens

Deep in the thickets of Cumberland State Forest remains the unique literary gift that Charles Dickens bestowed upon a grieving family. On March 12, 1842, thirteen month old Charles Irving Thornton died and upon the request of a family friend, (thought to be American writer, Washington Irving) Dickens inscribed the epitaph that now rests quietly on the aging tombstone that remains hidden from the world.

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the conditions of the area where the tombstone rests

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To find it is no easy task as the forest likes to keep its treasures however with careful steps and patience, I was able to find the Thornton Family Cemetery where it remains and is quite literally deep in the shadows of the woods. Without the help of technology by way of my smart compass, I doubt I would have been able to uncover its hiding place.

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As you can see from the images I was able to capture, it shows its age, the writing barely legible in some places and the tombstone itself suffering a full horizontal crack along its base. The following is the epitaph that Dickens inscribed upon it:

“THIS IS THE GRAVE

of a Little Child whom God in his goodness Called to a Bright Eternity when he was very young. Hard as it is for Human Affection to reconcile itself to Death In any shape (and most of all, perhaps First In This)

HIS PARENTS can even now believe That it will be a Consolation to them Throughout their lives and when they shall have grown old and grey always to think of him as a Child IN HEAVEN and Jesus Called a little Child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. He was the son of ANTHONY and M.I. THORNTON Called CHARLES IRVING. He was born on the 20 th day of January 1841, and he died on the 12 th day of March 1842. Having lived only 13 months and 19 days.”

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in the foreground the home thought to be that of the Thornton’s. In the backdrop the woods where remnants of the family cemetery remains
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plaque that hides off to the right of the tombstone honoring its commemoration into National Historic Places

While it was commemorated in the Virginia Landmarks Register and in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, its remembrance thrives only with the trees within the forest. The family cemetery as a whole which seemed to be about five visible headstones, in its nearly two hundred year old existence has been taken over by nature. It’s significance, however is still very much prominent. This literary gift remains the only one of its kind in the United States and one of only two of existence in the world, the other belonging to that of Dickens’ sister-in-law.

It was a rewarding experience to actually find it albeit sad to see the lack of its upkeep. Its literary significance shall remain and the gift it became to a grieving family shall never die.

 

 

 

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to write or not to write, that should never be a question…

Because I find comfort in reading others writing journeys with all their trials and tribulations, I decided to share a monster moment of my own. I can laugh about it now, but seven years ago when I started this journey, not so much.

Always with me it seems I go big or go home. This memory is no exception to that. Seven years ago after having the courage to break open a notebook again and listen to those voices in my head, something I hadn’t done since high school, I wrote out my first rough draft of what would later become my first novel, Shifting Gears.

Mind you working full time, a Mom to two kids and a wife, I had my hands full. I would spend my lunch hours huddled in the corner of our lunch room at work with my ear buds in scribbling away like a mad woman to the story that unfolded between my main characters Holt and Niki. I would stay up after everyone else had gone to bed in those coffee induced “magic” midnight hours nightly.

Six weeks later I had the roughest rough draft ever but I was proud. Oh so proud. I was certain I’d just written a best selling novel and as soon as any publishing house got their hands on it I’d be offered a deal of a lifetime, being able to quit my job and go on a world book tour.

Oh Jenny

Well I think you might have already surmised that this didn’t happen based on the fact that I’ve already led you to believe that this is a funny story. Sigh. In my pursuits of getting my work seen but not having a clue as to how and where and when and who even to send my manuscript to, I began searching online.

Ultimately I was geared off in another direction (this always seems to happen when I’m researching while I’m writing too…eeek). I discovered a writing group that was only a couple hours driving distance from my home that happened to be hosting a guest editor. You could not only pitch your story but they would also proof your manuscript if you were brave enough to send it in before the group session. Of COURSE I jumped on the opportunity because I just knew I was sitting on a diamond mine just waiting to explode.

Oh Jenny

Fast forward to the day of the session which I’ll add now this writing group was a chapter of Romance Writers Of America which I later became a member of. Walking in that day however I was clueless. I’d never heard of the organization before, nor had I ever heard of the guest editor.

Oh Jenny…you skimmer you….

So because I was so excited at the opportunity to let my diamond in the rough out of its bag, I stopped reading after “send your manuscript” “established editor will proof.” I missed the most valuable piece of information that this particular editor was not only from an extremely successful publishing house but also was well known for her hard core no filter give it to them straight mentality.

Gulp.

When she was introduced that day I can remember feeling my heart not only stop but that it quite literally jumped out of my body and went to hide in the janitor’s closet. Here I sat having NEVER let anyone read my stories, outside of family over the years and obviously teachers. I found myself now surrounded by other hopeful writers, none seemingly having that same just kill me now look on their faces as they gawked at Ms. Cutthroat.

It was totally too late to back out and mind you I seriously was contemplating that day just casually going to the bathroom and not returning. Like ever.

While I’ll not reveal her name, I will reveal the publishing house. Harlequin.

Gasp. Gasp. Gasp.

For those of you that write in the romance genre you know this house is the mansion lined in gold with timed doves flying in the courtyard daily. So much has changed with genres and what is acceptable and quite frankly what’s sought after, but they remain, at least in my opinion, the foundation and backbone to the romance genre.

In case you haven’t already guessed, I literally wanted to die. Yet still I somehow held on with a sliver of hope that I was right, that my story line would blow even her away. Yeah, well, it didn’t. Oh boy did it not.

This is where I will add that I was thankful that she had no clue whose words she was slaying when she stabbed manuscript after manuscript. Only the writer knew. Sigh. I wish I had a poker face. At least I didn’t cry.

I learned two very valuable lessons that day and they might not be what you expect. Firstly, don’t ever be afraid to share your work. It was scary and truly I was mortified walking away that day and drove the whole way home saying to myself you suck. Did you really think you could write?  It was bad. Two months would pass before I would even consider opening up my laptop to look at my now dusty diamond. But you know what? I did.

Her words to me that day were extremely blunt but after pushing aside my hurt, my complete feeling of failure and that very brief moment of wanting to find out where she lived (lets just leave that at that), I realized her words were critical but precisely what I needed to hear as a writer.

The second lesson I learned is do your research! Did you think my horror from that day was over? Oh no. So after being told your manuscript basically could kick rocks, what would be the odds of someone in the room being in the same profession as your main character? Me. Hello. Me. Go big or go home Jenny over here.

So Niki, my main character is a veterinarian. It would seem I did not do my research effectively enough in determining the required time of education in order to get your license to practice. What are the odds of a vet being in the room?

Oh Jenny

Just another blow to my world tour that had already taken off in a hot air balloon before it checked to make sure it had enough gas.

I am so guilty even now with being such a pantster but I still stand firmly behind that it’s not a bad thing. To a degree. To get your reader into your world, it can’t just be about the descriptive words you use, your story has to actually be fairly believable too. I say fairly because obviously if you are writing fantasy it’s a free for all as long as you remember all the facts of your fictitious world.

I look back and cringe at some of the dialogue I’ve written of an alpha male character that totally doesn’t sell with his demeanor as I’ve written him. We must as writers do our research when building a world. Those tiny little details trust me, readers hone in on. I learned my lesson the hard way but learned it I did.

Being a writer is hard work. It’s filled with hours and hours of writing and rewriting followed by the fear of letting someone actually read your words followed by potentially someone slicing and dicing all your hard work, all your “little darlings” leaving you with a sense of failure.

It didn’t take me long to realize I knew I was destined to self publish and if I had it to do over again, I would not change my decision. The purpose of this write however is not to promote self publishing because I recognize some writers feel a traditional publishing house is the right fit for them and I support that wholeheartedly.

I simply wanted to share this memory with you to make you laugh and to remind you that you aren’t alone in this journey wherever it takes you and that we all get our dreams pooped on. It’s making that decision to wipe the poop off after examining it of course and to keep going. If that keep going is a year later, fine. If that keep going has you writing simply for medicinal purposes and in private, fine.

Everyone has an opinion, an agenda and most importantly a voice. When you find yours if you haven’t already, hold on to it. I’m always struggling with my own because doubt is a huge monster. But if you can, embrace it. Ask yourself why you write and say to yourself if you write it, they’ll come. (Yeah that was cheesy..but it’s true)

Thanks for reading AND if you are a romance reader I’m offering my first novel Shifting Gears for .99 on Amazon right now. Click on the book cover below to get your copy.

Thanks for visiting and may we all continue to find joy in writing and reading and to remember the importance of uplifting those other writers among us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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with pen and paper

Once upon a time I had aspirations to become a photo journalist. I began taking journalism classes and found my instructor to be one of the most non-filtered, open minded and courageous people I’ve ever met. My love of photography was shortly thereafter born through the art of sharing facts and telling a story through the lens. The ability to capture emotion and tell a story through a single image was incredibly impressive to me. Writing and photography I thought then and still think now, can be such a powerhouse to bring the truth with no filter, no judgement, no opinion, just hard straight in your face facts.

I started then from scratch. The basics. With a notebook and pencil I took to being a sleuth Nancy Drew writing for my school newspaper.  I took a class in shorthand so I could make notes quicker. No computer. No smart phone. I took photography classes and fell in love with clicking away and then mixing chemicals and preparing the lab to develop what became the rawest of images free of any possible digital technology to alter or manipulate them to what I wanted.  They were what they were.

My first real “adulting” job was for the government, filming, developing and preparing 16mm and 35mm microfilm reels full of legal documents for the public. I often think back about that job now and giggle thinking how tedious it was, most days my eyes crossing from filming document after document and the daily smell of filming chemicals on my hands that I could never get rid of. But, I had my own dark room and it was cool.

The coolness of my microfilming tech job is not the purpose of this write however but instead the reminder of the times, the hard copy of documents in my hands and the simplicity of the time of investigative journalism back then in comparison to what it is today.

I have been on a investigative journalism film kick recently in attempts to escape the chaos of today’s world maybe only to trade it for yesterday’s chaos some may say but truly to regain faith that not everything, not everyone is corrupt and has the ability to think for themselves and not follow the herd. That writers and journalists still exist that refuse to accept what everyone else is reporting and writing simply because someone of authority told them so.

Journalism used to be raw. It was facts. It was countless hours of research and interviewing to gain the guts of a story, not the opinion of one, followed by the courage to share it with what sometimes could be an opposite collective belief.

I just recently watched a few films, all based on true stories, that I found insightful and took me back to that twenty year old with a camera and steno notebook hungry for the truth. I’m including them below if you’d like to watch. While I’ve never desired to be a movie critic, I will say that these films were particularly profound in that they brought the reminder of the courage to think and live outside the box. The journalists featured in these films paved themselves a hard road simply for seeking and writing the truth.

There are countless more films if you simply do a Google search and undoubtedly journalists still paving that difficult road for themselves today for even more journalists to walk tomorrow.

When it comes to my own writing today I fill my steno notebook and busy my pen by writing fiction and poetry. I write with no outline and no regard of any particular style unless I feel like the words I’m writing require it. I write what I see, what I feel, what comes to me with the freedom of an imagination. It is here where such a thing should and can thrive. Unlike in journalism where channeling bits and pieces of opinions and perspectives does not belong.

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defining poetry

I’ve been reading different thoughts towards the various styles of poetry here recently and even more recently a certain opinion about the definition of a poet, down to even the choice and repetition of words used. This has sparked a nerve in me that I simply needed to express my frustration about. What better an outlet than here, where like minded writers, poets, photographers, simply artists as a collective, live.

Poetry is defined as a type of literature that conveys a thought, describes a scene or tells a story in a concentrated, lyrical arrangement of words. For starters, can we truly put a label on poetry? Sometimes they rhyme. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are short, sometimes long. Okay yes sure, one can write in a certain structure such as sonnets or haiku’s. But even still, there is no “wrong” way to write poetry.

For myself, I’m a free verse lover. Just like my fictional writing, I’m a panster. I plan NOTHING. I just write and just as when I was a child with coloring, almost always outside of the lines. I once read somewhere, a good writer is one that doesn’t feel the need to edit their words written in the middle of the night. Can’t help but think that’s where the true heart of a writer lives.

I’m personally a huge fan of this tagged title now of “micro” poetry, which brings me to the largest debate. It would seem those of us that write “short and sweet” are being shamed for our lack of true length of what poetry should be.  (I invite you to reread the definition of poetry as I cited up there with emphasis on that lovely word straight out of the dictionary, concentrated.)  I mean please, tell me, is their a guidebook out there somewhere that recites a word count to the true definition of what equates to a poem? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah. thought so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge lover of the classics. My God Edgar Allan is a rockstar and that Keats and Thoreau…more please. But does that mean the “micro” writer like myself is any less phenomenal? I don’t think so. If anything I think it becomes even more a talent, an art, to be able to move someone in such a way in as few words as possible.  Just today a coworker came up to me, after having read my latest poetry book which contains poems of only ten words, and said to me how do you manage to pack such a punch in so few words! Of course I was beaming. Any writer would react the same at such praise. I often think of this piece by Ernest Hemingway when I adapt to this logic:

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or a slightly longer piece:

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Secondly, shame on those that even judge and ridicule another writer in the first place. Perhaps they themselves are feeling slightly insecure within their own writing (news flash we all feel this way about our writing) that they feel the need to lash out at another. Or maybe they are just that old fart sitting in the corner bemoaning how us young folks got it all wrong. (Sorry to all you old farts I do love the ones in the corner rooting us young folks on)

Speaking of young folks. I’ve recently taken to utilizing my Instagram site for more than just a gallery of my photography, as I discovered quite the community of poets and writers alike over there. I have been in awe over and over and over again at the words I’m reading, passionately so by the likes of teens and twenty somethings.  This is where I must admit to eating crow upon talking one night to a fellow writer of my discovery and pegging Instagram as the “young crowd” and seemingly “angsty”. I ate my own words not long after that upon discovering these talented young souls that write both in quick snippets and long passages.

Lastly, I think it is imperative for us to embrace one another within whatever writing community we find ourselves in. We are a unique lot. We strive to be our own voice. Whether that’s in short waves or long cruise ship journeys, it makes no difference. As long as we continue to be true to ourselves, even if that puts us out there by ourselves amongst the Emily’s and Poe’s of the world. Don’t be afraid to be a Hemingway. Do you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re simply writing in a “trend” If so, it’s the longest damn trend I’ve seen still going strong.

I’d love to hear your opinions or if you want to share that you’ve experienced this. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Be kind to each other.

 

j

 

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crow

I almost didn’t include this here for its meaning was somehow taken in a negative context when from its inception it was to lend strength to the fact that we all have setbacks in healing. I refuse to always write fluffy (mind you I adore fluffy) because we aren’t always walking around pooping rainbows riding unicorns.

Whether it be from abuse, addiction, heartbreak, depression. Part of the growth comes from the fall. Those peripherals can often be silent little daggers just waiting as we walk along the path we pave for ourselves with every intent to travel cautiously and wisely. We can’t avoid them but we can arm ourselves with the tools and the recognition of knowing when the daggers are there in order to help us stitch the wounds if they find enough strength to hit dead center.

The courage to recognize that we have stumbled can be the biggest crow of all (on a side note I personally find crows majestic but just like everything else in life, society has programmed us to believe they are demonic and depressing so for that reason I turn to them for expression)

We aren’t perfect. And when you feel as if your family, your friends, your children, your spouse, your coworkers all have eyes on you it can perhaps be difficult to admit failure. That’s where shame and guilt struggle taking a back seat and that’s when the recognition of just how imperative it is to have your own personal arsenal of cheerleaders shines like a beacon in the night.

As we approach a new year, a new decade, I thank you for taking the time to read this and i hope this finds you well and offers comfort and a reminder this is a dirty pretty world we live in. We are all walking each other home.

always looking for my ray of light

-J

~holiday~

let us take holiday on the moon 

whilst the sun serenades eyes heavy 

floating to a magician’s tune 

won’t you build me a swing 

slowly sing to me 

that song you like to sing 

for then we shall fly 

collecting constellations 

barefoot in a night sky 

whisper sweetly like you do 

as the stars giggle 

when my cheeks change hue 

let us take holiday on the moon 

with no thoughts 

of ever returning soon 

~the path most traveled~

that trip you find

as you close your eyes,

the one that needs not a map

nor latest trendy technology,

but simply a heart that adores

the one where the path naturally soars

beyond rocky crags and tree-lines

to the river that flows below

that place where a heart

simply knows its glow

hints of laughter filled clouds

floating between chocolate kisses

to bygone gestures

in a gentleman’s chivalry

to cordial wishes

given in exclusively

that trip you find

as you close your eyes

the one where courage

sinks below the whys

for spaces silent know the way

of two lovers traveled

never cognizant or of ability to betray

current

you didn’t make this me 

it was hiding beneath 

wandering, drowning 

in my own self made ocean 

swimming dipping 

some days floating along this unknown current 

that I let take me 

content with the not knowing 

of what should be 

losing faith 

after hope fell between 

fingertips to ashes 

whispering now to trees 

some days as if mocking a memory 

yet this one fine day 

when a rebellious current came 

the herons flew 

in perfect symmetry 

as this something shifted beneath me 

swirling ever slowly 

until I found myself 

turned to you 

a something new 

but no not really 

it seemed you’d just taken a breath 

and found another way 

to call to my heart 

your words

like a chorus of rain 

within the enchanted forest 

I’ve now come to find my way to  

along the riverbed 

where my heart rewinds 

set to play 

as new chapters bear our names 

through your quill I find 

my new current….

Cameras, Coffee and Cold Spots

The following is an offering from my journal of paranormal experiences. I hope you enjoy and as always conversation and opinion is always welcome.

J

The Witching Hour…..June, 26, 2016

 

Most nights I find myself writing in the solitude of the darkness. A time when for me is most magicial. It is as if my mind unwinds, releases every qualm of the day and lets me invade the world in which my imagination takes hold. The words just seem to flow with ease during the hours of midnight leading up to three am. This particular night however did not find me under the covers tapping away on my keyboard. I instead was sleeping, that is until my eight year old son woke me up.

 

Unlike my daughter, my son since the age of four has suffered from growing pains. It was around two thirty in the morning when he comes into my room, limping and crying that his legs hurt. It didn’t alarm me as I have been accustomed to it and so I pulled the sheets back, patting the bed for him to climb in beside me. I began my usual routine of rubbing his knees and legs until his tears begin to subside. Within a couple minutes however he begins complaining of his stomach hurting. I ask him if he thinks he needs to go poop and he nods his head saying maybe. I encourage him then to get out the bed and try to go to the bathroom. As I’m saying this I look out to our hallway where the light from the bathroom spills into, and I see, quite clearly a white mass of a figure “float” past, coming from the bathroom heading towards my living room. I say float because I couldn’t see a connection with it and the floor and while it was the size of a person, it was not in the shape of a person. While it was a very quick vision, i saw it within a moderate pace. Imagine as if someone were trying to walk slowly, as to not make a sound but walking confidently, as if they belonged but not wanting to be seen. eah. That’s about the best way to describe its speed.

 

With every experience I still remain skeptical and this instance was no different. I instinctively brush it off as my eyes playing tricks on me, and not wanting to scare my son, I remained silent and continued pulling the covers back, watching him climb out of my bed. I did find it odd that as he walked towards the doorway he kept tilting his head as if peeking around the corner, peering out into the hallway.

 

Within a few minutes he returned. I pulled the covers back for him to climb back into the bed and once nestled in beside me he whispered. “Hey Mommy.”

“Yes baby,” I say.

“Remember when I told you it felt like I had to go to the bathroom?”

“Yes?”

“Well when I looked out in the hallway i saw this white thing walking by.”

Yeah…my heart stopped.

I had at no time even remotely told him I’d seen something. Still, as to not scare him, I brushed his hair and said “it’s late baby, it’s probably just your eyes playing tricks on you.”

 

His words, in what he saw, matching my own, convinced me of what I’d seen and no one could convince me otherwise. The fact that we’d independently seen the same thing, yeah. It spoke volumes to me.

 

So naturally I set out to figure out what it could have been. The obvious of course, a spirit. But what kind? My intrigue in the paranormal world had been just that and aside from my group experiences with CVP, and with my father when my son was born, I’d not had any personal experiences so I had no clue what a white cloudy mass meant. Yeah insert Casper here.

 

Upon researching it seems what we saw that night might have very well been a benevolent apparition. An entity of a protective nature. One that I believe was a family member, specifically that of my paternal grandmother who raised me. Perhaps upon hearing my son crying, coming to watch over him, protect him as was her nature.

 

Whatever it was, and as uneventul and “non movie material” this night was, it was real. It was real for both me and my son whom I’m certain will never forget it. I know I won’t.

Poe Places: An historical East Coast journey in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe: Baltimore

It’s taken me over three years thus far to travel up and down the East Coast in search of the places entwined with the history of poet and writer, Edgar Allan Poe. His works have been such an inspiration to my own pen muse and he birthed my love of poetry. And since I’m OCD about everything, it makes perfect sense to divulge in every place Mr. Poe once lived, visited or has some historical tie to. Right? Right.

Edgar was born in Boston, Massachusetts to David and Elizabeth Poe. He had two siblings, older brother Henry and sister Rosalie. The children at a young age found themselves parentless as their father abandoned them and at the age of three, Edgar’s mother, a then actress in Richmond, Virginia, died of tuberculosis. The children were then separated. Henry was sent to live with his paternal grandparents in Boston, Rosalie to the McKenzie’s of Richmond and Edgar was adopted by John and Frances Allan, also of Richmond, Virginia.

While the places I have visited thus far are all of importance and have their own individual connection to Poe, they are not in historical order and notably the states of New York and Massachusetts I have yet to be visited which I hope to do in the future.

This stop brings me to the home of the Ravens…Baltimore, Maryland. Poe left quite a legacy to this bustling city so much so they honor his memory by naming their NFL team after one of his most popular poems. Poe spent a lot of his life here and fate it seemed was deemed the place for him to die.

My first stop had to be the most notable place that Baltimore offers. His grave.

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What more fitting a place for Poe’s final resting place than that of Westminster Hall, a converted gothic style church built above Westminster Burying Ground, creating catacombs. Upon discovering them I was disappointed that time wasn’t allowing me the opportunity to take one of the tours that the church offers.

Not only is Poe buried here but his wife Virginia and her mother Maria Clemm as well. Historically however Poe originally was buried in the back of the church grounds in an unmarked grave that today has a stone memorializing his original resting place. However just like all things Poe, rumors grew of the accuracy of the move. To read more about it, check out http://www.eapoe.org.

Because I’m a geek when it comes to Poe, I already knew this upon entering the church yard and knew exactly where to go hunting for the original memorial. Some other fans that happened to be there at the same time as myself, clearly weren’t as obsessed….errrr prepared as I was and didn’t have this little tid bit of information so naturally I offered to show them. My daughter took a picture of me guiding the tourists so as to memorialize my Poe geek status reaching its all time high. And no, I will not share it. Grrrrr. But I will show you where I took them.

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Because I have a natural love for cemeteries, not only was I snapping multiple pictures of the grounds but I found words brewing and wrote this as I came upon this corner with the broken stones.

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The church and the grounds were quite lovely and offered a moment of solitude amidst the extremely busy streets of downtown Baltimore that pretty much nearly swallow it.

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Located on the same street as the church just a short drive up the road is what is left of the home that Edgar lived in along with his Aunt and wife while in Baltimore.

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Operating now as a museum by the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, the home was built around 1830 and was originally rented by Edgar’s aunt, Maria Clemm along with her mother, her daughter Virginia and Edgar. Poe left his family here however around August of 1835 moving to Richmond, Virginia where he’d been taken on as editor for the Southern Literary Messenger. Around this same time Ms. Clemm’s mother died resulting in a shortage of money and the family was faced with being unable to cover rent. Another family member having heard of their circumstances offered to take her and Virginia in but Edgar hearing the news and perhaps fearing he would lose his family, wrote a heartfelt letter proposing to Virginia at which she accepted and the family was rejoined in Richmond. Check out the emotional letters here. Good stuff. You won’t be disappointed.

http://www.eapoe.org/works/letters/p3508290.htm

The tour of the house includes poems and short stories that Poe wrote while in Baltimore, facts about his life and death and features Poe’s chair, lap desk and telescope. The room in which the items are set up is thought to be the room that he would have slept in so yeah of course, I was needing my salts. To think I was in the same room as the macabre master had once laid his head and no doubt dreamt up who knows how many of his short stories humbled me. It was surreal. Well, for me. And yeah, I stood there for a bit soaking the moment in.

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Upon leaving his home I went next to the Edgar Allan Poe Room at The Enoch Pratt Free Library and to say I was blown away by the appearance of the library itself is an understatement. The architecture geek in me was bleeding a smile. But I’ll refrain from getting sidetracked and sharing the gazillion pictures I took once inside.

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Dedicated to Poe on the 125th anniversary of his birth, The Edgar Allan Poe Room is in essence an exhibit of letters, memorabilia, and a copy of a daguerreotype of Poe by Thomas Corner. It is used as a meeting room and this is where my OCD kicked in when upon arriving I discovered it remained locked unless it was being used and was not typically open to the public. Obviously that wasn’t acceptable. I mean hello. So the determined five foot three inches Poe fiend went searching until I found the biggest security guard I’d ever seen. I smiled and told him without using said words such as geek or stalking or obsessed that I would like to see inside the Poe Room. He gave me a look over, grinned and said “for a just few minutes, follow me.” Ahhhhh and the rebel wins again!

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After snapping pictures like a bat out of hell and speed rushing through my oooooh’s and ahhhhh’s I thanked the very kind giant and continued my journey. I couldn’t help but think he was probably saying “another crazy white girl.” under his breath. I giggled. Yep. No doubt I fit that bill.

Although Poe lived quite some time in Baltimore, many of the places that had a connection with him have over the years been demolished, so those places I skipped this trip as their quite a few. But I got them written down in my trusty notebook aka Poe app. Yes. Poe app. Nevermind that. So lots of pictures of what now might be Taco Bell’s and laundry mats is in my future next trip.

I saved the saddest for last. The site where he died. Such a shame I didn’t have any of my paranormal investigation tools back then. Just saying. At his time this was the location of Washington College Hospital where he was brought after being found near dead on a street nearby. Four days later he was dead. Many stories surround the hospital including kidnapping and body snatching. Of course. You can read an in-depth article about it here. http://www.eapoe.org/balt/poechh.htm

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Thanks so much for reading and please make sure to check out my other write ups as I journey up and down the East Coast to feed my need. The struggle is real…

J

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