Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not So Sentimental Journey

By Kelli

If you could go back to any period of time, which would it be and why?

Well, as of this writing I'd probably go back to the second before the Amazon finger (and we know which one) pushed the button last Friday and blacklisted all Macmillan authors.

Just kidding ... sort of. ;)

I've spent time in Rome and Greece -- when I served time in the Ivory Tower. Nice place to visit, and I love to write about the period, but I'm like Josh--I also enjoy modern amenities (like bourbon). Besides, anchovy sauce doesn't tickle my taste buds. ;)

The 30s and 40s, however, have always been a time in which I felt like I belonged. It was a passionate generation, people who believed in the power of political action, not just disengagement. Even in the bleakest financial sink hole in the history of our nation, there was still strong optimism in technology and progress and some sort of doctrine to pull us up and out.

Unfortunately, for some people that doctrine was fascism and national socialism--because it's always been easier to blame a group of people you can persecute than it is to blame politicians.

But it was still a time of political and cultural engagement, when opera was on the radio and Toscanini had an orchestra at NBC ... a time of world's fairs and hope for utopia ... a kind of optimism that seemed to die out in '63, with the assassination of JFK.

In 1939, America was still basically either rural and urban, without the encroaching ennui of suburbia that fills many a 50s film noir. New York had the Stork Club, the Cafe Rouge, where Glenn Miller played for NBC radio, and stockings were made of silk. Architecture--and design even in common objects--was beautiful. And you could buy an Action Comics #1 for 10 cents ...

I've spent a lot of time in 1940--February, 1940, for City of Dragons, and now May of 1940 for the sequel, which I have to really focus on as soon as the tour is done (I'm on my way from Seattle to Portland by the time you read this on Thursday). And I'd love to travel back, for a day, for a week ... looking for the lost beauty, braced for the ugliness behind it.

A sentimental journey without the sentiment ... which is what I tried to write in City of Dragons. And, of course, ten cents in my pocket for that Action Comics #1. :)

Thanks for reading!


Meredith Cole said...

I can't believe this whole Amazon thing hit the week of your debut! Darn them all!

Your book sounds wonderful--can't wait to read it!

Jen Forbus said...

Oh, I'm so behind this week. I'm reading all the posts this morning and can't help but think of a TV show I use to watch called VOYAGERS. Anyone remember that show? Josh?

As I was reading everyone's posts I thought they were all great; great things people would want to see and experience, but I don't know that I'd want to be anywhere but here. I know for sure I don't want to go back to the 1980s or 1990s. They were enough torture for me the first time around. But there's so much in the here and now that excites me: the United States has come far enough to consider both a woman and black man for our highest office...and we elected a black man. We're finally fighting for the unconditional rights of gay people. Science and medicine are beyond anything people would have imagined just 50 or 60 years ago.

And despite Josh's dislike for the technology, I love that the Internet has afforded me the ability to meet and befriend people across the country and in different countries. Something I never would have been able to do just 20 years ago.

Of course as a female, my options are far more plentiful in this day and age than any before it. And while that isn't true in every corner of the world, it is changing.

We're able to be so much more global now that at any time in the past. And while it doesn't make large atrocities impossible, it does decrease their opportunities.

I've never been happier or more in tune with the changes and advancements in science, art...humanity. Sadly, I doubt I will ever see World Peace, but I still hope for it and do my part to work toward it every day.

Hope you're having a blast, Kel!

Sophie Littlefield said...

hey Kelli! hope the travels are going well - sending good thoughts northbound...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Knock 'em dead in the Pacific Northwest, Kelli!

And, Jen, you raise a good point (as usual). As women, our options have always been more limited than now. Sure, there were always women who stood and took charge, but it was a lot harder in the past than now, I think. Not to mention all the medical improvements that help more of us to live through childbirth and raise our kids to adulthood.

Kelli Stanley said...

Thanks, Meredith! :)

It's been a roller-coaster, that's for sure. We Groundhog Day Macmillan writers need a support group to heal the scars! ;)


Kelli Stanley said...

Jen, what a beautiful post!!!

Thanks for reminding us how lucky we are in so many ways. :)

Wish I was coming East this trip ... but fingers crossed I will get to with the next book!


Kelli Stanley said...

Sophie, my love, thank you!!!

I said hi to everyone for you--and saw your friend Jordan from PW in Portland when I was braggin' on you to a wonderful blogger I met. :)


Kelli Stanley said...

Thanks a million, Beckster (and BRUCE ALEXANDER AWARD NOMINEE)!! :)

See you soon in Los Angeles!!