Contemporary Times and the 1920s

Undoubtedly, the most fascinating aspect of the 1920s for me has been how similar contemporary times and the 1920s are.

“What did this man want?” – Tagline from the cover of Babbitt

From everything I’ve been reading, it feels like the 1920s is where “American” society came from. All the extremes, the attitudes, the swings of the pendulum, the craziness… (Granted, when you look at other countries and their dictatorships and cults of personality, it isn’t really that crazy. But it’s crazy for a bunch of upstart Protestants from the wilds of England… Right?)

I really feel like most of our attitudes, the way our society thinks, feels, and reacts–they’ve all honed themselves from this one significant decade. It all seems so familiar now. Not just right now, but in everything that’s happened since the 1920s.

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Alley Life in Washington DC

In another post that I wrote about Washington DC maps from the 1920s, I featured a plate from a survey atlas that showed Blagden Alley and Shepherd Alley. This time I’ve chosen to explore more about alley life in Washington DC in the 1920s.

Alley Life in Washington DC Blind Alleys, 1920s

Blagden Alley was one of the most infamous of the “blind” alleys. This means that it had dark corners and dead ends in which nefarious activities could take place, and typically only had one way in and out. Social workers and the government focused mainly on the “blind” alleys when Washington DC tried to reform alley life in the early 1900s. The featured photo (and others that I found on the very cool Shorpy blog) gives you a good idea of what it must have been like. Compared to the wider streets and grand avenues of Washington, the alleys are narrow and confining.
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Willamette Writers Conference 2016

Registration for the Willamette Writers Conference 2016 is now open!

And I want to tell you that this is the best conference ever. I know I say that every year, but, honestly, every year gets better, so I feel like I’m not lying.

I also know that as current president of Willamette Writers, I’m biased, but really. It’s one of the best and biggest writing conferences around. It’s completely worth your time and effort if you want to find inspiration, motivation, and publication for your writing.
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“…I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creating aren’t compatible…my basic belief about the making of the stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow…”
Stephen King, On Writing

Stories Need a Place to Grow



A Modern Jester (from the 80s…)

This is from back in the day when it was OK to mock the “other” party without fear of causing a crazy breakdown in government or death threats. (Yes. It’s true. I’m calling forth the good ol’ days.) But considering this is what the jester did in his (her!) traditional role, it’s not all that crazy OR back in the day.

Michael Davis is a modern jester who makes fun of a high ranking senator, Ronald Reagan’s policy, and jokes about disarmament during the middle of the Cold War, all while still keeping on the good side of the caesar and not getting his head chopped off… It’s brilliant. Exactly what a jester is supposed to do, and he pulls it off perfectly. And all the while with egg (literally) on his face.

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