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Lakewood Cemetery Mausoleum, Minneapolis. Photo courtesy HGA Architects.

Lakewood Cemetery Mausoleum, Minneapolis. Photo courtesy HGA Architects.

The Minneapolis StarTribune named Joan Soranno, the architect who designed the new mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery, the 2012 Artist of the Year.

I have not yet seen the mausoleum, but this story makes me want to do so ASAP.

This is a fabulous story. I identified with Soranno, even though I am a writer and she is an architect. But I think those who put a creative spin upon death–whether in writing, music, architecture, dance, painting, etc.–share some commonalities.

For example, Susan Mundale, who wrote a history of Lakewood Cemetery, says of the mausoleum: “…instead of being dark and gloomy, it is full of light and so peaceful.”

My book, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down, is about death, but it, too, is not dark and gloomy. Even though I grew up in cemeteries, nothing seemed dark and gloomy about it. Instead, I see my book as filled with hope and light. It is my wish that readers will see that, too.

In the StarTribune article, Soranno talks about the process of designing the mausoleum, which sounded to me exactly the process a writer would undertake when writing about a topic. The article states: “…she read exhaustively on funerary architecture and identified things–light, textures, nature–that help to comfort and resolve grief.” Soranno “stuffed her brain” with information and then started to draw. You can see the result:

Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis. Photo courtesy HGA Architects.

Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis. Photo courtesy HGA Architects.

Have you been to this mausoleum?

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