At the Garden

I was reading an article about jazz in the Time-Life special edition on the Roaring Twenties [1] that I recently purchased when I read about a band in Chicago that was tantamount to the rise of that particular music genre.

Of course, that got me thinking about my W-I-P, as all things related to that era do, and my character Charlie Brockway.

You’ve seen Charlie in some previous posts [2], but he is still a relatively unknown character for me. I know he’s originally from Chicago; that’s there’s some big secret in his life; and that he’s a musician. But this Time-Life article got Charlie talking about his past a bit.

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Give me rhubarb…

I have a thing about rhubarb pie.

It’s deep-seeded, to be sure, since I haven’t had a bite of that particular pastry since I was a child. My paternal grandmother made them. She died when I was ten. [1]

So when the LitForum‘s Writer’s Exercise [2] for March was to “write a scene in which the emphasis is on the consumption of food. Make use of the senses of taste and smell. Complement those senses by also drawing on sight, feel and mood. The MC [3] in this scene has stopped whatever he/she has been doing before and is pausing for a moment,” I knew immediately mine would be about rhubarb pie. 

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Writers’ Games

Sometimes, when words are hard to find, my writing group plays a little game. We spin for prompts, which are just words or phrases that have been plucked from various sources and added to a numbered list, and then see what we can write that includes one or all of the prompts.

Occasionally, the resulting scene is actually relevant to the work-in-progress; other times it just serves to open the floodgates and remind you that you can still write.

Regardless of outcome, the games are always fun. And writing is supposed to be that, isn’t it!

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House Parties… and promises

Harold and Rose have been time-traveling.

They just returned from a trip aboard the Titanic, the latest of House Party settings at the writers’ forum I frequent. 1

House Parties are an interesting phenomenon. Multiple writers throw characters from their many WIPs 2 into a particular setting and while characters of different backgrounds, time periods, and genres interact, the writers not only have fun but often witness epiphanies.

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The Dirty Work of Illumination

We take lighting for granted.

The sun goes down; we flip a switch. Instant illumination. Sure, sometimes the power goes off and we have to “rough it.” Candles or hurricane lamps for a few hours, a couple of days, sometimes longer if you live on the Gulf Coast and it’s hurricane season (there’s a reason they’re called hurricane lamps).

And while urban America was almost completely electrified (eek! that sounds painful) by 1929, it would be well into the mid-30s, and even the early 40s, before electric power found its way to the farms.

So poor Rose

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Boogie Shoes

Yikes! That’s not from the 1930s!!!

And yet, that first line expresses Harold’s sentiments perfectly.

In the late twenties and early thirties, there seemed to be two main pastimes: dancing and going to the pictures (and even the picture shows featured dancing). Practically every little town hosted a Friday or Saturday night dance… in the armory, in a barn, at a local church, wherever space allowed.

Imagine how that would be for a fella with two left feet! Especially since Rose loves to dance. Poor Harold. Even the “simple” dances of the era–foxtrot, waltz, castle walk–were challenging. But that didn’t stop him. If dancing was what Rose wanted, well… Continue reading