C is for…Cemeteries

Why Cemeteries and Pajamas? Good question. Regular readers know I was on sabbatical last year. It was a dizzying, crazy, wonderful experience. I spent a lot of time in cemeteries, in part because I was gathering background info for my current manuscript.

But I was also pondering bigger questions, namely, what do I want my life to look like before I die?

This question – and my time pondering it while walking among the dead – has helped me clarify my life’s intentions and goals. I want to write novels. I also want to be intentional about how I live. I do not want to cause harm to others.

I wrote more about why I named the blog Cemeteries and Pajamas at “Why Cemeteries and Pajamas?” I wrote a related post during a particularly difficult time,  which includes some of the lessons I’ve gleaned from my cemetery walks: “Warning: Grief Ahead.”

Finally, if you really want to geek out over this blog,  I also wrote part of the answer to the above question at “A Brief Meditation on Death, Writing and Gratitude.”

14 thoughts on “C is for…Cemeteries

  1. I was drawn to this because I do family history and cemeteries tell great stories. You blog post did the same.

    I continue to be amazed at what other AtoZ Challenge bloggers write, and you did not disappoint.


    • Thanks! I agree – those stones can tell us so little sometimes, just a few dates and a name and not much about what happened in between birth & death. Some of the older ones in my area have more detail, but they’re often in Swedish or German, neither of which I read or speak. I’m going to go check out #590 soon, too!


  2. Hi, I’m Linda with Pam’s Unconventional Alliance! This is an awesome post. I have been interested in cemeteries for several years (I always make my husband pull over when we’re on vacation if I see something interesting!). Some of the best were in and near Gettysburg, PA. I really like out of the way, very old ones. There’s a word for that, can’t remember it right now.
    Anyway, this is great, will definitely be following along! Good luck with the Challenge!


    • Hi Linda! Glad you enjoyed the post. We are kindred spirits – whenever I see a cemetery while we’re driving, I’m craning my neck to see it and insisting we stop. (My husband’s version of this is golf courses.) Thanks for the tip about Gettysburg, PA – I have family who live there, so all the more reason for a visit.


      • Oh hey, if you are near Gettysburg, then you must check out the amazing little cemetery in Harpers Ferry VA, and there is also a tiny one in Sharpsburg that is pretty cool (it was abandoned by the church in the late 1800s but they’ve kept it up). It’s on a street just a block or two from the main street, right in the middle of town. Also, there is a teensy one just north of Houston if you are ever down there, off I-45 just before the Spring exit. It is a family called Wensche.


      • Thanks for the tips! I was in Harpers Ferry with my family years ago when I was a kid – we were doing all kinds of civil war stops. We almost never went to cemeteries, however! Time to rectify that. I’d love to get back to Harpers Ferry (and that entire area) also because 1) I’m reading James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird right now and 2) I took the train from the midwest to DC a few years ago – we stopped in Harpers Ferry around dusk and it was so gorgeous.


      • Will do! I’m a huge fan of your blog, by the way – I’m also a librarian and I am hugely interested in diversity in children’s books.


    • Thanks! I tend to creep myself out sometimes in cemeteries. I went to a local one with my son when he was about 4. I was getting him out of his carseat and he pointed to a grove of trees and said, “Mommy, are there ghosts there?” To which I replied, “WHY? WHAT DID YOU SEE!?!” šŸ™‚ Would love to get to Normandy someday – one of my colleagues has family who died there and he says it is a tremendously powerful experience.


  3. I always find cemetaries to be very peaceful places. My family was very into family history so I spent a lot of time as a child wandering around them. I think they’re perfect places to sit and reflect on things and wonder about the people who are buried there. šŸ™‚


    • What neat memories to have. I used to feel very uncomfortable in cemeteries and now I love to do exactly what you say – reflect on things & the people who are buried there.


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