“The Woven Tale Press”

This post, titled Euphemistically Dead, was published in The Woven Tale Press

I liked their presentation and the layout of the piece.

The online magazine features great work from some very talented artists.

I appreciate their including this post and featuring it in one of their

Weekly Peeks.

A warm thank you to Sandra Tyler and to the rest of the staff!


Humans have a real problem with dead.

Euphemisms abound to describe the state in humans.

We don’t refer to other dead things with quite the same measure of delicacy, however.


As long as stuff stays stuck to the thing it died on, it’s dead.

When we chop it off, stick it in a vase, and bring it indoors,

Dead-as-a-Door-Nail stuff magically becomes Dried.


I am fairly certain I never heard anybody say of a dried flower arrangement,

What lovely dead flowers!  

These roses are the newest of the dead stuff.


I kept a fair number of dead things for years.

I still have this Yucca fruit.

Most of them got too dusty and were thrown out, however.

The oldest dead thing I have now is an open cotton boll.


It looks exactly as it did the day I broke it off in the field

Some twenty years ago

I figure I saved it from a rather inglorious end

 In Q-Tipdom.


And, of course, there is the seed pod sarcophagus.

The mummy inside is a bit fragile

But the empty sarcophagus will survive for years

Assuming that some over-zealous housekeeper

Doesn’t mistake it for rubbish.

(I chuckle to think of the comparison to archaeologist-grave-robbers, fancy coffins, and dried corpses)


A friend gave me this little Silkie chicken egg.

I kept it in the refrigerator for several years.

One day, I discovered that the chick inside had apparently mummified.

Now, when I shake it, the inside rolls around like a large marble.


These stamens probably won’t dry into anything recognizable

But, unlike all the fuss surrounding Napoleon’s shriveled part,

Nobody will care one whit.

This post was inspired by a book I am reading that chronicles

The misadventures of famous dried, uh, dead people.

Rest in Pieces, The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

By Bess Lovejoy



35 Comments on ““The Woven Tale Press”

  1. I, too, have a real problem with people who have an aversion to embracing death for what it is. I am extremely accepting of most quirks and oddities and even perversions, but why do some people insist on not speaking of death in terms that truly describe it? I am afraid my “aversion” turned into a real hatred after my son was killed in a car accident. My son died. He did not “pass”. You pass a test; you pass a car; you pass the fried chicken; and you pass gas. None of those things has anything to do with death. Even if you are talking about the progression to heaven, the word “pass” is just totally inappropriate. Neither do you “expire” when all your bodily functions cease and your soul leaves the body. Again….Your credit card, driver’s license, and subscription to the newspaper all “expire”. People don’t expire. I really think “expire” is even more offensive than “pass”….such a trite word…a term of dismissal…..as though God waves his hand and, rolling his eyes, says, “Away with you…you have ‘expired'”. People are killed, or murdered, or die. These words are in no way offensive since they are accurate and true. Oh George…bless you…you happened upon something that jerks my chain and I have had to respond in my usual overdone verbose manner. Ii do love you dearly sweet woman.


    • What a beautifully written description, Sue! You said it far better than I could. I find those avoidance comments offensive too. Dean absolutely refused to listen to them. During the entire time I knew him, he never went to a funeral or to a wedding. He thought both were superficial and meant nothing. He asked me to let him die without a word. I did everything he asked except that I allowed the notice to be in the newspaper for Kelli’s sake. So she wouldn’t have to repeatedly explain that he died when people asked for him at the office. He thought folks ought to say their goodbyes to their families and friends and leave. He was as strange as I am. 🙂 We didn’t sugarcoat anything between us. He was the most optimistic guy I ever knew up to the very end. You would have been amused to hear him ask if I thought there was existence on another plane after you died. Of course, I said I simply didn’t know, but I figured he’d find out. We both laughed. He was never remotely interested in the abstract and thought worrying about stuff you couldn’t know or do anything about was a waste of energy.

      The thing that strikes me true about what you said is “a term of dismissal”. That is precisely what all of the euphemisms are. A denial of death. I always thought that was so hurtful. I can’t imagine having to repeatedly thank people for dismissing the person who just died. I often wonder if it isn’t easier to deny now that the bodies are not brought home to lie in the parlor in the midst of everybody? I am old enough to remember when the funeral directors still asked if the family wanted a home wake. I think people back then accepted death as a part of life far better than they do now.

      Thank you for being your usual kind and clear-eyed self. For contributing to my message to Charlie. I am going to add your comment to the post for him. Bless you, Sue.


  2. Oh George, you and I have talked about our societies’ attitudes to – and unease with – death before. And I seem to recall a quote of your’s, reproduced in that book I sent, about something living being in a brief interlude from being, and being again, stardust – how true!

    And here, yes, always dried flowers; and we put our beloved animals to sleep, never killing them. And you and I will pass away or pass on, we will never manage to actually die, at least in the eyes of our loved ones. I talked about my death to my daughter recently, and it was as if I’d introduced a topic in very bad taste. I agree with you totally, my friend >>> and I also think these images terrific >>> no wonder they were published!

    Take good care of yourself! Adrian


    • Richard, I’ve thought about what you said for several days. Knowing your background, your abilities, and your knowledge of art and photography, it is significant to me. What is “to die for” is your ability to render the essence of your subjects, and in the process, reveal a great deal about yourself. The cliche that I use to describe your work is that it has “soul”. An artist’s soul. That is rare, delights me, and is a fascinating thing to watch. You’ve elevated street photography. Nobody else in the world does what you do. I think they simply could not do it. That absolutely makes me chuckle every time I see a new portrait. I am so happy that you like my BW photos. Thank you.


  3. Good for you: dead plants can be fascinating, as you show here. It has always struck me as strange that people avoid the word die and substitute euphemisms like pass away, which now often gets shortened to pass. For me pass is something I do to slow drivers or that students do to classes.


    • Well, Steve, folks who avoid the word for dead think you and I are uncivilized. I refuse to use the euphemisms. We are so fearful of death that we refuse to acknowledge that it happened and will happen to every one of us. We are masters of denial, I think. My husband was at the ending days of his life. He was sitting on his porch eating banana pudding. He looked up at the nurse who stayed with us and said, “If a man’s got to die, he ought to do it eating banana pudding”. He hated the pretense associated with death and funerals and the whole thing. He wanted to simply disappear. And that’s essentially what he did, much to the consternation of a great many folks… Chuckle…


      • That’s a great quotation from your husband, although I might substitute ice cream. As the French say, Chacun à son goût, Each to his own goo.


    • Thank you, Jo Nell. I was pleased that they asked to publish the post. It’s not a big deal, of course, but every little bit encourages an amateur, you know. 🙂 Hey, it’s hot here already. Dang! I knew I’d be sorry that I complained about the cold! 🙂


  4. Do I remember seeing this posted here some time ago? Well … I still like it very much! Also … totally love the new Gravatar. D


    • Yes, I posted it as “Euphemistically Dead”. I was pleased that accomplished artists like the people there chose to publish my post. I’m glad you like my Gravatar. Thanks.


    • Thanks, Susan. I was very pleased that the e-zine asked to publish it. I’m glad you like the photos. I enjoyed putting them together. 🙂


  5. This is incredibly well done with great photos and very entertaining words!!! I loved it!!


  6. I really enjoy your dead things too, and the fun of switching my mind around between dead and dried, enjoying the new view like a kaleidoscope shifting and changing … thanks George 🙂


    • Thank you, Christine! I’m happy that you enjoyed it. My water lily didn’t make it. :-/ The directions said to soak it in “pond water” for several days, which I didn’t do. Maybe I’ll try again in the early spring, which is the correct planting time.


  7. Fantastic black & white set. The cotton is wonderful… and I love the “dead flowers” rendering. Wonderful stuff.


      • I enjoy your pictures of them George. In her later years my mother was a keeper of ‘dead’ flowers and I’m afraid I was the custodian of all that dust! 🙂


        • Ha! I would have loved your mother! It was only when I got old that I began to pause long enough to really look at things like that. It has been the most exciting part of not having to work twenty-four hours a day! When you are in business for yourself, there is no down time. Now, I wander around doing what I always imagined I would do, should I live long enough to do it. If you asked me what I wish for all people, it would be that they can grow old and be able to stop. To sit still. To see. Thank you, Meredith. You have encouraged me along the way when I thought my photographs were really worthless. I appreciate that very much.


    • Thanks, Lynn. I saw your piece on using free photo effects in the Dec. issue of The Woven Tale Press. Beautifully illustrated with easy to follow instructions. 🙂



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