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Picturing a World

Valentine’s Day, 1908

When I ran across this image at Costume History last September, it jumped out at me for three reasons: First, the real Jeanette worked at McCall's Magazine in her later life. Second, my work-in-progress, ANONYMITY, is set in 1908. And third, I'm always on the lookout for pictures I can use for this blog. Naturally, I saved it. So Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
 
Now that I've re-opened it, however, I'm also struck by its ambiguity. What is that pensive woman thinking?

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Vogue 1921

I thought of posting this yesterday for New Year's Day 2021 because it suggests mysterious possibilities and because I like to give readers a valuable takeaway—in this case, a link to the Vogue magazine archives. Yesterday's insouciant skaters seemed more fun, but, now imagine them on their way back, where? What to make of those shoes in the snow? Graphically, I love the cocker spaniel at the bottom. Does he fit into the story?

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New Year 2021

Happy New Year! May we all soon be as insouciant (if not quite so elegant or athletically accomplished) as these two ladies!

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Sphere 1951

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, what fun! Father Christmas calling down the reindeer in a more natural version of his ice palace. This is obviously not the North Pole; but, after all, why not imagine his workshop somewhere in the North Woods? Or take the picture literally and see it as the backdrop for a theatrical production. I'm devouring it like a bon-bon, but if we play this year's story-generating game, there are already three possibilities: a story about Santa Claus, a story about a staged show, a story about a 1951 magazine.

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Jeanette at McCall’s Magazine

After the death of her husband in 1904, the real Jeanette had a career in journalism, first at the Chattanooga Daily Times and then, from 1911–1921, at McCall's Magazine in New York City, where she was an associate editor. I believe she was an art editor; in any case, she would have known the art department at 236 W. 37th St. and would, I think, have been pleased with the self-possessed look on this reader's face. The lap robe and tea cup appeal to me, too; and I'm happy to imagine my fictional heroine Mattie settling down with this issue four years after the conclusion of ANONYMITY.

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August creativity

The All-Story, cover (August 1909)

Well, maybe not our image of women artists or ourselves as storytellers, but, hey! it's summer. Have fun with your own painting or writing. Happy August.

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Valentine’s Day, 2019

The real Jeanette published a short story in the December 1915 Young's Magazine. In trying to run it down, I came across this image. 1908? Pulp fiction? Perfect for my fictional Mattie and for Valentine's Day!

 

Aubrey Lanston, a graduate of Georgetown University and member of the bar in the state of Washington, wrote historical fiction. He called The Harvesters "My first accepted, but by no means my first seriously intended novel." (See The Book News Monthly, Volume 22 (1904), p. 319) We'll assume he was more than happy to have A Roman Holiday appear in this breezier format. And don't most of us writers know about those unpublished novels in the drawer!

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New look

My website is hosted by the Author's Guild, which this month revamped its design templates, the better to fit cellphones and other screens. To celebrate the new, I'm posting a glimpse of the past. For a writer of historical fiction, a magazine cover from the year about which she is writing, which itself illustrates an earlier period, seems about right. Besides, I love textiles.

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Christmas commerce and celebration

I was looking for a seasonal image and found this “Christmas gifts” issue of Vogue for 1918. A hundred years later, it reminds us of the joyous and tattered end of World War I. And it’s by an American woman artist! Helen Dryden. Born in Baltimore in 1882, she moved to New York in 1909 to sell artwork to magazines—just about the time that ANONYMITY’s Mattie would have known her. Perfect. Read More 

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Nappy New Year

I was planning to skip a post today. Then I saw this The Saturday Evening Post cover at Lines and Colors. And THEN I mistyped Nappy for Happy and decided, yup, it has to stay. Here's to chuckles as well as tears in 2018! Read More 
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