Just in time for Halloween, here’s a link to a CNN article about 10 of the most scenic cemeteries in the world. Enjoy!
Many of you have read my earlier posts on the Newcastle coal miner’s cemetery located just outside of Seattle. Here’s a link to a news video highlighting the site and the $9,500 grant given to help clean and restore the broken headstones. Congratulations, Newcastle!
How cool is this for ending up a week of hard work?
Joan Reginaldo, the sassy and fabulous author of Work in Progress, decided I needed a Liebster Award nomination. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I also live in the Bay Area. Although I would like to point out creativity does runs high here, what with all the entrepreneurs/geeks/engineers in the area.
So what’s a Liebster Award?
A Liebster is a nod from fellow bloggers (thanks, Joan!) that they like something you’re doing. It’s also a way of spreading the word about up and coming blogs and bloggers. Does it get any better than getting a pat on the back from your peers?
No, it does not.
- Post a Liebster Award image on your blog. There are several varieties. Google them and find the one you like the most.
- List 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/people who nominated you.
- Make up 11 questions for those to be nominated.
- Nominate 11 people to receive the award. They should have fewer than 200 followers on their blog.
- If you’re nominated, your name and/or link will appear at the bottom of this post. Just follow the same format and voila! you’re a recipient
So without further ado, Part I: 11 random facts about me.
- I think cemeteries are the best place for finding good mystery plots – no pun intended.
- I adore well done hash browns.
- I’m a Peets coffee fan.
- However, I do drink Yorkshire Gold English tea, but just in the mornings. Afternoons are reserved for Glengettie Welsh tea.
- Funkiest place I’ve ever visited: St. Gegard Monastery in Armenia.
- Favorite city: London.
- Writing office = modern, sleek, and with NO mess.
- I currently have two monitors and wish I had room for a third. One to display my draft, one to display the revision draft I’m currently reworking, and one for google research.
- Cat or dog? Right now, a cat that thinks he’s a dog
- Best editing project ever done: Editing music lyrics for Delusion Squared albums I and II.
- Best part about writing? Listening to people tell their stories.
Part II: 11 questions from Joan:
- What makes you cry? Sad movies like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
- What is your deepest fear - a fear you haven’t told anyone because you don’t want to appear foolish? Not being taken seriously in my work.
- Han or Luke? Luke’s an immature twit and Han’s an egotistical chauvinist so I gotta go with Chewy.
- How do you deal with criticism? Pretty good, actually. I try to take the useful while discarding the useless.
- What’s the best suggestion you have for new writers? Keep learning but also take a few things with a grain of salt.
- Plotter or Pantser? Planster.
- What short story has influenced your life (not necessarily writing life) the most? I can’t think of a short story but definitely, Women Who Run With the Wolves made quite an impact. The book is so marked up and dog-eared it’s almost unbelievable. And guys, don’t let the title scare you – it’s quite good.
- What current world event has made you disappointed in humanity? The brutal gang rape in India. And now the defendants are pleading not guilty.
- What current world event has made your proud of humanity? Too many to choose from. Here’s a list.
- Which of your bad writing habits do you wish you could break? Procrastination! Takes me too long to get started.
- What do you like best about your current project? My novel where I solve the mystery of a pit full of bones belonging to several young girls who died almost 100 years ago.
Part III: My 11 questions to my nominees:
- Cat or dog?
- Most remote place in the world you’ve ever been?
- Hardest thing about your job?
- Best thing about your job?
- What’s the one job you’d never like to do?
- What gives you peace?
- What makes you angry?
- What’s your favorite swear word?
- Carnivore or vegetarian?
- What’s one thing you regret not doing with your life?
- What are you doing about it?
Part IV: My nominees (Most of my faves already have tons of followers but I’m determined to find some more treasures out there).
Sabine Ludwig – world traveler extraordinaire
Issa Mas – single mom and smartass writer extraordinaire
I can’t believe it’s only been a year since I decided to stop posting. There have been some great questions and helpful comments–keep ‘em coming!
I’m so glad I decided to keep the blog live because I had no idea how useful it was. Many thanks to all my 16,000 + visitors in 2011 and yes, I will be around to answer questions if you have them.
And who knows? I might even get inspired to start posting again.
Happy New Year!
There are several reasons why but time is probably the biggest. Multiple new projects keep pushing me into various directions, severely limiting the time needed to research interesting new angles.
Good stories take a while to discover and develop.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m a believer in quality, not quantity. Far too many blogs and content sites seem more concerned with putting something out there, just anything, in order to keep the search engine spiders hitting. That’s not my style and I won’t insult readers by doing so.
General interest runs a close second.
Like most bloggers, I keep an eye on the stats to find out about the audience. Unfortunately, the past several months have attracted far more spammers than readers. I’m not sure whether this means spammers think cemeteries are the new hot thing or whether it simply proves their complete lack of awareness.
Regardless, the combination of the two has made me realize that this very interesting ride has finally come to an end.
What a privilege it’s been.
I’ve traveled to unique places like the early Christian catacombs and an old western ghost town, accessed one of the most fascinating research places in the world (Westminster Abbey), and had the good fortune of meeting dedicated volunteers whose work in these historic sites all too often, goes unnoticed.
My sincerest appreciation goes out to all those who supported the Beyond The Ghosts… efforts over these past three years—4Culture, the Newcastle Historical Society, Ruth Pickering, Karen Bouton, The Seattle Public Library genealogy experts, and many others who took time out of their busy day to point me in the right direction.
Last, but not least, thank you to all those who stopped by to read an article (or two) and offered their encouragement. I’ll still be around to respond if the muse moves you to comment on particular post.
It really has been quite a fun ride. Many thanks to you all.
This week’s guest post comes from Kristy Lommen whose website serves as a tribute to the Auburn area’s Japanese communities, both past and present. Over the past year, Ms. Lommen worked with Yoshiko Kato to decode as many of kanji stones as possible before they faded away. Here is one of their discoveries:
When Yoshiko Kato visited the cemetery to translate the kanji stones, I was particularly excited when she reached the fourth marker in the first row. Although the family surnames had been previously translated from most of the stones, this particular stone was marked on our transcript with only a mysterious, black question mark. We had, at that time, not even the least idea who might be buried in that grave.
Yoshiko kneeled in front of the marker, leaning forward and backward alternately in order to make sense of the nearly illegible marks. She resorted to using a finger to attempt to trace the kanji, gleaning by feel information that proved to be too faint to read by eye.
Homeowners wanting to purchase that historic 18th or 19th century farmhouse would do well to think it through before handing over the escrow down payment. Many of these lovely old places come with an unexpected little extra located in the far corners of the property—the family cemetery.
Finding out about these potential new neighbors generates mixed reactions. For some, it only enhances the overall attraction and connection to local history while for others it’s an immediate deal breaker – especially if it’s a cultural no-no.
This past April, the New York Times reported on one potential buyer who refused to even look at a $3 million dollar property because it was next to a cemetery while another discovered an 1812 marker in the front lawn after escrow closed. Figuring it was just part of owning a house constructed in the late 1600s, the owner shrugged and added the upkeep into his regular lawn maintenance duties.
Then there are those who feel they’ve hit the jackpot.
One Maine family was ecstatic to discover a late 18th century cemetery lurking in their backyard. After clearing out numerous piles of brush and tree branches, the cemetery was re-dedicated with a pretty little memorial plaque and even got its own website.
Old family cemeteries are a lot more common than most people realize and they’re not just found in the New England or mid-Atlantic areas. There are just as many private cemeteries located in the South. But let’s not forget the nation’s longest rural graveyard either; the Oregon Trail. A leisurely drive along the pastoral byways in all of these states will reveal any number of weathered headstones standing guard on a lonely hill.
Old cemeteries encountered rough times during the recent housing boom when developers pushed further out into previously rural areas. A 2006 Washington Post article highlighted the challenges some of these forgotten sites faced in Tennessee.
“State archaeologist Nick Fielder estimates that there are 20,000 family cemeteries in Tennessee, but there’s no way to know for sure. There’s no central inventory, and most documentation is done by historians and volunteers who scour records and trudge through meadows in search of graves.
Fielder says about 100 family cemeteries fall in the path of development in Tennessee each year, about two times as many as a decade ago. Under state law, he said, there’s nothing sacred about sites. Relatives of the deceased have no legal leverage over family plots they don’t own, and landowners who can pay to move a cemetery need only a judge’s approval.”
Thankfully, the lucky ones are removed to a new location while others, like Comet Lodge Cemetery in Seattle, get stuck in a very odd kind of limbo. Interestingly enough, this particular area is now home to many Asians who would consider it very unlucky to live near a cemetery.
So what happens if you buy that gorgeous fixer-upper and (gulp) find out there are a few more residents on the place than originally thought?
Well, the first thing to understand is that most states do not consider the abandoned family cemetery on your property to be yours, regardless of whether you hold the title. You cannot just simply up and move the bodies on your own. However, since rules governing this process vary around the country, it’s best to review cemetery laws at the state level. For example, here is commentary on Florida’s regulations, a link to New York State’s cemetery law manual, the friendly, Q&A styled version for Virginia, and an artistically presented handbook from South Carolina.
Barring that, there’s always the option of simply leaving the new neighbors alone. After all, it’s not very likely they’ll be throwing loud parties anytime soon.