Today, we’re highlighting our very own Loren Rhoads! When Loren first contacted me to contribute to Scoutie Girl, I was intrigued by her work. I honestly had never considered cemeteries as something worth writing about, but I’ve since found myself discovering the history and culture behind cemetery travel. Let’s see what else Loren has up her sleeve…
- Do you consider yourself a visual artist, a literary artist, a combination of both, or something completely different? Why?
I don’t know if I’m literary. Or an artist, for that matter. I don’t know why I’m hesitant to claim that. I use words to paint pictures in my readers’ minds.
- What is one of your favorite creative projects you’ve worked on?
I’m really proud of my book Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. It’s a collection of essays about cemeteries I’ve visited on vacation, so in one sense, it’s a memoir. Beyond that, though, it advocates for people to pay attention to history, art, beauty, nature, and community by visiting graveyards. I think these fragile relics are in danger of vanishing if we don’t find a way to protect them. People protect what they love, so the book is part of my crusade to get people to visit cemeteries.
- How do you get inspired?
What a huge question! I push myself to try something new. Life is short and there are so many places I haven’t gone, foods I haven’t tried, and people I haven’t met.
- When you’re in a creative rut, what’s the best way for you to get inspired?
When I get stuck, I go for a walk, preferably in Golden Gate Park or out at the ocean. Going somewhere with a predominant color – green, blue, foggy white – helps my brain to slow down and my imagination to open up. The repetitive motion of walking helps, too.
- Do you have a favorite place to work?
I work in my messy little office. It’s really just a breakfast nook into which we’ve built a desk and drawers. I’m a paper packrat by nature, so there is always more stuff in my room than I can put away. Still, I’m comforted by having reminders of all the work I’ve finished and all the projects I have yet to complete around me.
- What’s your favorite city?
San Francisco. I’ve been here almost 30 years and I keep falling in love with it.
- Ahead-of-the-game or a procrastinator?
I feel like I’m always reeling from one deadline to the next. To me, It feels like procrastination, because I will never get through all the things there are to do. A dear friend, who was an executive at Apple, explained that that’s what being a professional means: there is always a new project looming behind the one you’re finishing. You will never get through them all until you quit. I don’t plan to quit any time soon.
- What’s the hardest part about being creative and always having ideas floating around?
Not feeling guilty when you’re not working. When you work for yourself, the work never stops feeling pressing. Still, it’s important to take downtime and to be present in the rest of your life, outside work. All work and no play burns you out.
- Anything else you’d like to share?
I have a short memoir called All You Need is Morbid. It’s about traveling with my husband to Japan, Paris, Prague, and Pompeii, poking into love hotels, medical museums, old graveyards, and hot new restaurants. It’s about love and death and traveling with the perfect companion – and you can read it for free!
A big, huge thank you to Loren for sharing her insight and stories with us! You can read all of Loren’s articles on Scoutie Girl, visit her personal website, her cemetery website, check her out on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or peek at her Pinterest boards.