Meals: A Big Part of the CCC Day

Food. Fuel, pleasure, and sometimes one more key helpful in unlocking a character’s life. Writing Hitch, I’d have missed something important if I hadn’t considered it. This is a story set during the hungry years of the Great Depression, and for young men signing up for hitches in the Civilian Conservation Corps, food–the three regular meals a day that were a staple of CCC life—was a big deal. In a folder at the National Archives regional facility … Read More

Heirlooms Can be Key in Unlocking Characters

The key into a character can be as simple as a sewing basket that goes unnoticed until something causes me to remember why I’ve kept it.  It belonged to my mother.  Her mother made it. Memories flood in—hours in fabric departments. Mom laying out a pattern.  Cutting, matching notches, pinning, fitting. Machine stitching. Marking the hem—Stand still!  Finishing and pressing.  Here!  Try it on! What do you think? Mom poured all of her talent—and love—into the things she made for … Read More

For Photo Surprises, Check the Picture This Blog

Returning to resources — the Library of Congress Picture This Blog brings wonderful surprises, as well as researching inspiration.  A recent post by LOC librarian Kristi Finefield explains how details in this photo led her to discover what a 1908 student was doing—using stereo images to study geography—and to find the textbook that guided her. The time-traveling image plopped down into the middle of my very different life, and in the way that unexpected pictures often do, this one got me thinking about how … Read More