Author discusses passion, relationship with mortality

first_imgKate Sweeney, author of “American Afterlife,” said she began her journey of writing about death when she heard about “green burial,” an ecologically friendly alternative to traditional burial.“Like so many Americans, I don’t have a comfortable relationship with the idea of death — it frightens me,” she said. “I didn’t know why I was writing the story. … I was writing the story because it was kind of interesting. I had never thought much about burial at all and now I’m at this place with ecological burial, and I ended up learning a lot about the conventional funeral industry.”Sweeney, who gave a reading of excerpts from her book as part of the Visiting Writers Series at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, said her initial story snowballed into an exploration of how Americans approach death and mourning.“I realized as I was writing that, to me, it was also about this horrible fear I have of death,” she said. “I’d love to be able to tell you that I overcame that because I met so many cool people while writing this book who aren’t afraid of death — like hospice workers and funeral chaplains and funeral directors who [think] it’s just a normal part of life — but I’m still terrified.”Sweeney has also worked as a reporter for National Public Radio and a writer for a blog and podcast.Radio, she said, forces reporters to be creative in different ways than print does. She said when interviewing someone for radio, there are other sounds that play a role in setting the scene, and it is up to the reporter to piece together those sounds to create a story.“You pick the sound that you want that is really wonderful and evocative, and you write around it,” Sweeney said. “With print, it’s a different kind of creativity, and it’s all about the language. You have more of a blank canvas. I think that audio — podcasting and the audio radio — can be very creative, but it’s a sonic creativity.”Sweeney said she loves writing creative nonfiction as opposed to straight journalism because it gives her the opportunity to acknowledge that she is not simply an “objective camera.”“You have a subjective viewpoint,” she said. “You’ve had certain experiences, which shape that viewpoint.”Sweeney said it’s important to allow subjectivity because true objectivity is not necessarily even possible as people are constantly shaped by their own lived experiences.“There is a notion that journalists are just these objective lenses writing down the story, when in reality our perspective on something is absolutely shaped by the experiences we’ve had, the amount of power we have in the world, and the kind of interactions we have with the world,” she said.“We need to question the possibility of real objectivity in journalism. What would happen if we acknowledged the different experiences we come from? How would that affect the writing that comes out, and how would that change the journalism that’s out there in the world and our relationship with the entity that is journalism?”Writing is important, Sweeney said, to understand other people’s perspectives in life.“Writing can force you to try to consider other human beings’ perspectives and the perspectives of other human beings who don’t walk in shoes that look like your own,” she said. “I feel like I have connected with other people and gotten to know their lives, and that has felt very powerful to me.”Sweeney said people who want to be writers should sit down and write. She said it is a common misconception that writers write perfect prose the first time they try and that it’s really a hard process. However, Sweeney said people who have a passion for writing should pursue that passion.“There is a lot in life that wants to distract you from your writing,” she said. “I was born with this thing that gives me deep joy, and that is my creative impulse. I don’t know if I was born with anything that is going to make me a million dollars or make me professionally known, but that is beside the point.“Whatever your creative passion is, there will be moments in which you get side-tracked from it, in which life will disrupt that part of yourself. Don’t berate yourself for that. Be gentle with yourself and forgiving of yourself, but don’t let life steal your creative self from you.”Tags: creativity, Death, Kate Sweeney, Visiting Writers serieslast_img read more

Breaking: Paedophiles who hid out in Donegal have been caught

first_imgTwo notorious paedophiles who were hiding out in Donegal recently have been arrested in the North.Child rapist James White, 48, and his pal Jason Lydiard, 26, roamed Donegal last weekend bringing fear to local communities.But tonight the two have been caught by the PSNI in Newry after an incident during which they were set upon in the Mullaghbawn area. It appears the men may have been attacked before being doused in cement.An angry mob shouted at the men before they were arrested by detectives from the PSNI.Sightings of the pair in various towns across Donegal last weekend sparked a social media frenzy.Pictures of the pair’s blue Peugeot car was posted online and shared extensively. The pair event tried to buy a new car in Ballybofey on Friday evening but were recognised by the car dealer.On Saturday morning they were chased from a car park close to the Poundland store in Strabane, Co Tyrone and again fled back to Donegal.On Saturday evening the duo contacted Gardai and were pictured at Trusk on the outskirts of Ballybofey receiving a Garda escort towards Castlederg in Co Tyrone.One local man who observed the pair being escorted towards the border said the sex offenders are not welcome locally.The pair were first spotted in Letterkenny on Friday morning and were loitering close to a circus in the town. Gardai in Letterkenny confirmed they had registered with them.Gardai have intelligence that the duo — both originally from the North and considered “high-risk sex offenders” — have been approaching children as part of a depraved double act.Although the pair served time in the North, they are still required to inform gardai of their whereabouts here.A Garda bulletin was sent to every station in the country to warn officers to be on the lookout for the pair. And Lydiard — who also uses the name Alexis Guesto and considers himself a Born-Again Christian — is also suspected of using a fake social media profile as part of his plans to identify potential victims.Investigators believe the pair became friends after Lydiard, originally from Co Down, was freed from custody in the North earlier this year.He had finished a seven-month sentence for ignoring a court order banning him from online dating sites.Although he has nine previous convictions for sexual assault, assaults causing harm and threats to kill, White is considered to be the more dangerous.Smith, who is originally from south Armagh, he was jailed here in 1998 for horrific attacks — two counts of buggery and five charges of sexual assault — on a teenage boy in Co Meath. He was freed in 2003.He once threatened to kill a social worker with a hammer, has 62 previous convictions in all, including sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and threats to kill.After completing his sentence here, he returned to the North in 2006 and was living in different areas across the border.Breaking: Paedophiles who hid out in Donegal have been caught was last modified: May 3rd, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:caughtdonegalNewrypaedophilesPSNIsex crimeslast_img read more