This is my 500th post on Cemetery Travel. That blows my mind. When I first started this blog in February 2011, I was looking to impress my agent, so she could find a publisher for my collection of cemetery travel essays.
As much as she liked the proposal I sent her, she wasn’t able to find a publisher for it. I despaired, even as the blog itself took on a life of its own.
To my surprise and pleasure, a friend in the horror community offered me a book deal. Western Legends published Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel in April 2013.
At first I saw the blog as an appendage of the book, adding essential details to the essays. Eventually, the Cemeteries of the Week progressed beyond to 50-some graveyards in the book. I wanted to direct travelers to the cemeteries and burial sites I hadn’t visited yet. Some of those posts have been my most popular, hinting at how much cemetery travel information is needed.
My most popular post on the blog, by far, is the one about Martin Luther King Jr.’s gravesite, followed by Elvis Presley’s grave, and Wyatt Earp’s. The other 143 Cemeteries of the Week still draw a lot of traffic, too. I’d like to continue adding to that list someday.
In the meantime, I continue to travel to visit graveyards. On Memorial Day, I hiked through Madison, Wisconsin to see the native mounds at Forest Hill Cemetery. Earlier in the month, I spent a glorious day with Emerian Rich, exploring the cemeteries of Contra Costa County, California. I’m looking forward to revisiting Highgate Cemetery soon, seeing the Pantheon in Paris, and finding the Kiss of Death sculpture in Barcelona’s Pobleno Cemetery. I have so many more cemeteries to see.
I’m excited to continue the Death’s Garden series of essays. 33 authors have joined the blog so far, some more than once. They have written about the graves of family members, celebrities, and paupers. They’ve described famous statuary and forgotten monuments. They’ve visited cemeteries far from home and just around the corner. They’ve explored fame and memory and the sense of indescribable peace that comes from being surrounded by acres of tombstones.
The contributors have been cemetery bloggers, tour guides, theater directors, horror writers, and more. They’ve advocated for restoration. They’ve arranged cemetery cleanup crews. They’ve dressed in costume, researched historic inhabitants, and rescued people from being forgotten. They’ve also told some pretty good ghost stories.
I’m excited to see where Cemetery Travel will take us next. I’m working toward a book called Death’s Garden Revisited, which will collect the best of the Death’s Garden essays, along with gorgeous photography. I’d like to do a second edition of Wish You Were Here, updating where necessary and adding an index to make it more useful for researchers. And I’m continuing to chip away at the Historic Cemeteries of the San Francisco Bay Area.
This year I’ve gotten one novel out, to be followed by its sequel in November. I think 2017 may be the year to bring my cemetery projects into the world.
Thank you for coming along on my journey.