- Paperback: 148 pages
- Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (July 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1890132918
- ISBN-13: 978-1890132910
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,861,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Round-Trip to Deadsville: A Year in the Funeral Underground Paperback – July 1, 2002
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About the Author
Tim Matson is an award winning writer, photographer, and author of the best selling Earth Ponds series of books and videos. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and worked as an editor at a major publishing house in New York before moving to Vermont in the early Seventies. Mountain Brew, his first book, was one of the first to pioneer the craft beer movement, and his collection of dance photographs of the Pilobolus Dance Theatre, published by Random House, received two awards from the American Institute for Graphic Arts. Other books include Country Planet, and Round Trip to Deadsville.His fascination with ponds began not long after moving to Vermont and taking charge of an old farm with a leaky fish pond in need of restoration. Later he bought fifty acres of forestland to start a tree farm, and taught himself how to build both a house and a pond. His book about that design and excavation project, Earth Ponds, triggered an enthusiastic response, and the pond series was born. His series of pond building books and videos have sold over 100,000 copies, and his consulting service offers design and restoration services, and seminars, across the country."Pond building is a rural art, and you have to learn it in the field." Matson says. "That's what makes these books unique." The newest book, Landscaping Earth Ponds, features more than sixty of the author's color photographs, in addition to drawings and color plant photos.Matson is the father of two teenage girls, and lives in Strafford, Vermont. Visit his website at www.earthponds.com
Top customer reviews
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This is a clever and informative book that is a must read.
In the concluding paragaph of his chapter called "The Astrologer" Matson says: "I still don't want to know when I'm going to die. But it's comforting to think that if the day has already been determined, there's not a thing I can do about it."
With chapters named such things as "The Coffin Maker", "The Gravedigger" and "The Cremator" a reader might think that this small, 146-page book will be very depressing. It is not! Matson succeeds in introducing humour into this dreary subject by examining his own feelings as he educates his readers about life, death and what to do with one's body when life ends.
Toward the end of the book when he leaves the Cremator he tells us "I pull off the Interstate at the next exit, find a Quick Stop and buy a beer. The hardest part of this whole thing is giving up the attachment to my body. Making plans to drop my corpse in a hole in the ground or incinerate it in an oven feels like treason. Maybe I should think of it as if I'm being....fired. But it's a job I hate to lose."
Ten pages later the author comes to the conclusion that "As the Stone Carver said, the hard part's not the dying, it's the living. The fear of death I was hoping to overcome was part of a larger fear that had crept up on me, a fear of life. It was the weight of fifty years of hard living, booze, divorce, and dreams that would never come true....But I knew I hadn't felt so alive in years, making my funeral plans." It is that kind of honesty that makes the reader feel the value of this book.
This volume is a treasure to keep and pass on to your children. It will give them the wisdom to endure sad times with inner strength. But long before that time comes have them follow the advice Matson provides in the book's concluding chapter:
"But it's really a time of celebrating the astonishing fact of being alive, not dead, and bragging like hell about it. Forget the sanctimoniuos humility and the trembling fear of death. Get drunk, get laid, revel in being on the right side of the grass. As Ethan Allen said, 'Goddamn 'em, let the angels wait'."
As you close this tiny treasure enjoy the wonderful picture of Tim Matson on the inside back flap of the book's jacket. It is the craggy face of the writer framed by a mop of white hair. It reminds one of Clint Eastwood, after he got old enough to be sexy.
It was very instrumental in my changing careers and becoming a funeral director. It is quite an exciting journey and the author gives you an exiting ride to deadsville and back. The book needs an update and that is why there are only four stars. Several years ago it met my needs, and answered a lot of questions. It is a book I would still purchase today, but is not the first book on funerals I would recomend. It is very descriptive and I especially enjoyed the section on Casket making.
yourfuneralGuy, Funeral Director.