Kutná Hora and a Church Decorated with Human Bones

I’ve been devoting most of my blogging time in the last month to my new blog about Czech beer (http://ceskepivo.wordpress.com). In doing so, I find myself reminiscing about last year. I also realized, going through this blog, that I had said many months ago I would post photos from my visit to Kutná Hora but I never did.

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This is the first sight you see after walking past the train station in Sedlec. When you walk a little farther, you arrive at the Sedlec Ossuary, which is what goth and metalhead kids on Tumblr seem to be obsessed with. You see pictures of the inside of the ossuary quite often, it being decorated with the bones of people who were once buried, but were removed because with all the plagues, there was simply no room to bury the new dead. Many of the remains of the people who make up the decor of the church had died from the plague or from wars. But, very rarely do you get to see pictures from the modest graveyard around it. My roommate, Ilayda, and I walked around the cemetery, finding all sorts of unique tombstones, many having photos of the people who were buried there, as they were in their lives. Exploring a village’s cemetery in Central Europe is a very good way to learn about its inhabitants, both past and present.

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After we had explored the snow-buried cemetery, as more snow fell around us, we went into the church. We took our time on the stairs down so that we wouldn’t slip, paid our way in, and collected our laminated handouts in English that told about the history of the church.

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If you are ever in Prague to visit, I strongly suggest making the day trip to Kutná Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary for yourself, along with the rest of the city. It’s also a great village to find nice, Czech blown glass.

Why is so MUCH of Literary Fiction about Old People Dying?

I  understand that aging is one of those things that distinguishes someone as “experienced”, or so many people think. But I am so tired of reading stories about old people. I flipped through two lit mags yesterday at Barnes and Noble on my break from work and both mags had at least one story about an elderly person dying. I am searching for lit mags to send three of my literary fiction pieces to, reading the current and back issues and archives that are available, and it seems on every website I visit, the first story I read is about an elderly person dying. Is this what defines a story as literary fiction? Have I been misled about what literary fiction is?

But I know that I am an audience member who appreciates most literary fiction (such as a story about a fire swallower I read in Camera Obscura a few weeks ago–that story was bad-ass and different). I don’t mind reading about death and growing old every once in a while. BUT THE AMOUNT OF STORIES ABOUT DEATH AND DYING I COME ACROSS IN LITERARY FICTION IS FUCKING OBSCENE!!! Lit mags, the next time I send you some of my writing, please consider it, because it is absolutely not about old people dying and I think I speak for many when I say that this subject in lit. fic. is much overdone. Or maybe I am just bitter because I’ve had about 150 rejections in-counting since I first submitted something to publishers six years ago.