I wrote my 100th Cemetery Travel post last week, so it feels like a good time for reflection. I was fascinated to discover Tripbase’s My 7 Links Project, in which bloggers look back over their posts and highlight their favorites in seven categories. I had a good time reading through the last six months’ worth of cemeteries. My favorites follow. Hope you enjoy them!
My most beautiful post: Sky
I’ve had a great time participating in WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Each weekend, Erica Johnson proposes a one-word topic and hundreds of bloggers respond. It’s been fun for me to think about cemeteries in a visual way and a good excuse to sort through my cemetery photographs. I considered my posts for Red and Lines, but Sky is the loveliest. Plus, that was a fun and unexpected cemetery excursion.
My most popular post: the Capuchin Catacombs
I’m not sure why it’s true, but far and above all the others, my piece about the Capuchin Catacombs in Rome has gotten way more hits. Are a lot of people going to Rome this summer? Did I hit the SEO lottery? I love the Catacombs and would encourage anyone to visit, but this post doesn’t even feature one of my photos, since cameras weren’t allowed. I don’t know what’s drawn more people to read this one than any other.
My most controversial post: Cemetery Antiques
None of my posts have been particularly controversial, but this one felt riskiest to write. I really don’t know about the legality of cemetery pieces being sold in California antique stores — and I don’t know how to find out what the laws are. Consequently, I haven’t done anything about the pieces I’ve found. It always makes me feel sick, though, when I come across a headstone out of place. The cemeteries are so defenseless and records in most historic places are so bad that the chance of a tombstone being returned are very slim. In effect, that person’s name has been stolen and they will never be identified again.
My most helpful post: How to Be Safe in the Cemetery
Stumbling across a very long snakeskin in the Pescadero Cemetery inspired this post. It was really fun to write. I polled cemetery aficionados on Facebook about what they pack and was startled to hear horror stories about feral dogs, wild pigs, and bears. I haven’t had an opportunity to write too many posts that were over-the-top and funny, but I’m really proud of this one.
A post whose success surprised me: Mission Dolores Cemetery
The problem in this case is that I have way too much information about the Mission Dolores graveyard to distill into less than 1000 words. I’ve been visiting this cemetery for 20 years, watching it change. I worked hard on the piece and was really pleased to hear from Guire Cleary, who served as curator at the Mission early this century. He said, “Yours is one of the best written and factually accurate descriptions I have seen to date. Great work and well done!” I can’t imagine a better measure of success than the praise of someone you respect.
A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: Curiosity and the Cat
My first visit to a graveyard in Japan was a lesson in restraint. I had a million questions, which my generous hosts struggled to answer. I’m very proud of the essay, but almost no one has read it. I’m not sure if the length is prohibitive or what. If you do read it, could you let me know what you think?
The post I am most proud of: A Strange Case of Taphophilia
Some days, the writing feels really good. I was on fire when I wrote about the names cemetery explorers choose for themselves. I am really happy with how the essay turned out — except that I managed to misspell taphophilia in the title, so the typo is enshrined forever in the link. Humility is a good thing, right?
The final step of the My 7 Links process is that the blogger gets to nominate up to 5 more bloggers to take part. I wanted to shine a light on some of the cemetery blogs I enjoy. Here are my nominations:
And I have some thanks to pass along. I found out about My 7 Links by reading 500 Places with Kids: Turning Kids into Travelers, One Experience at a Time. Here‘s the link that started me down this road.
Cemetery Travel was nominated twice to participate in the project: first by Lainie Liberti in her amazing blog, Raising Miro, and then by Nathalie in her beautiful, thoughtful blog The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in Galicia. I’m so grateful for their help in participating!