The Oldbury Writing Group’s visit to a Local Graveyard

By Angela L. Garratt

As you know, going different places every now and again is something that the Oldbury Writing Group does on a regular basis. Our last visit was to a graveyard – yes, you read it right. Why? Well, history, plain and simple. A gravestone can tell a thousand stories. Who was this person? When did they die, how did they die, and whom did they leave behind?

A graveyard is a very peaceful place to be. It is both heart-breaking and fascinating. Each stone represents a person, and each person tells a story. Some may find it a little bit too weird, or even untactful going to a place like a graveyard for inspiration, but you have to remember, every letter carved into those stones was done so for people to read, to pay their respects, and to show the history of our town, one stone at a time. For instance, there is a graveyard in Wednesbury at St. Bartholomew’s church which has stones there from the 16th century.

Some of the graves had been vandalised, which made me feel angry, I have no idea why, or how anyone can do such things. I felt a real sadness for the wooden cross – this person had lived a life that none of us will ever know, and the only thing they have left is that solitary wooden cross to mark his or her grave. I wondered if the person who put the cross there had intentions of replacing it with a stone. I also wondered why that had never been done. The war graves made me feel particularly sad because they were just boys, 18 and 20. One was from the First World War and the other from the second. It is hard to comprehend the horrendous conditions they would have been in at the moment of their death. The sadness felt by those who loved them. You see, behind every feeling of sadness, every feeling of anger or wonder, there is a story. I just hope that every person buried in that graveyard is now at peace.

It didn’t surprise me that in the end, the last three members to continue looking, when everyone else had either left or gone back to the car, were the horror writers. I suppose, it does help to have a morbid curiosity when looking for inspiration in a graveyard.

Again, the OWG must thank Andy Lines (founding member) for taking us there and dropping us back. It was very generous of him, and one day, he’ll let us give him some petrol money.

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