“I followed him through an arched doorway into a chapel which smelled musty and old. The illumination came from sunlight filtered through a stained glass ceiling.” (Cable, pg. 58). I really found this passage from The Last Stop to be very descriptive. I immediately had a vision in my mind’s eye from past experiences with funeral homes, unfortunately to many for my liking.
The description of the chapel to me was very vivid. I could smell the must in the air. I could see the sunlight shining through the stained glass window. I could see the dust floating through the air in between the beams of sunlight.
I’ve done the same walk that the author spoke of. Meeting in the office with the funeral director. Discussing final arrangements, what the deceased wanted to take place during the service. The soft music playing in the background as you waited. I remember the walk to the “showroom” where all the coffins and urns and trinkets used by different faiths were on display. Even the little jokes to ease the tension. I always thought that if I am going to spend that much money on a coffin, I want to be able to be able to use it now. Set it up for Halloween. Use it as an extra bed when those unexpected guests come over. It would make a great conversational piece. Use it as a buffet table. Pimp up the casket use some lights, music, that would be me!
It’s amazing how that one passage brought all that to the forefront of my mind. But a good author can instill memories and thoughts that bring you to a certain time and place. It is a true talent of description, like music that brings us back, makes you remember.
Axelrod, Rise B., Cooper Charles Raymond (2002). The Last Stop. Cable, Brian. The Concise Guide to Writing, pg. 57-60.