Why You’re Not You When You’re Not Writing

Some of us must write to feel human 🙂

A Writer's Path

writing tea

by Meg Dowell

For the first week of 2017, because of the new year, I did not write any articles. Clients either weren’t ready to assign them yet or they were having me work on other projects (because being a content creator means you get to write marketing emails too).

For many of you, this probably doesn’t sound like that big a deal. But you have to understand that the nature of my work resulted in me writing over 500 articles last year – that doesn’t include these blog posts. I write articles. It is what people pay me to do. And having already taken a week off of work between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, enduring another week without producing an article was like going without food: it was unbearable.

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20 Works of Historical Fiction You Should Read Right Now


Historical fiction is not necessarily a “new” genre, but  many of the authors below have painstakingly recreated the past through years of academic and on-location research. As a window into the past, historical fiction is a healthy way to remove modern prejudices that affect our judgement of the olden days. Sometimes, it is easy to think that everybody was once simple-minded, brutish and downright inhumane, but these intimate portraits set in unfamiliar eras allow us to think otherwise.
This selection includes many skilled authors who boast many other quality works that should also be considered. At Qwiklit, we are merely showing you how certain authors have approached certain periods of time, and we are well aware there are dozens of other great selections worth looking at. Some recreate entire cities from the ground up, while others take conventional histories and turn  them on their head. Either way, the past can…

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Sitting by the Fireside: African American History, Women’s History, and Food

Circulating Now

Circulating Now welcomes guest blogger, Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD. Dr. Williams-Forson is an associate professor and chair, Department of American Studies, University of Maryland-College Park and the guest curator of NLM’s exhibition, Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America.

A detail from a painting showing a black woman carrying a tray between buildings.Leaving the month of February, when we celebrate Black History Month, and entering March, when we highlight the achievements of women, seems a fitting time to discuss Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America. The exhibition recognizes the ways in which meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes. Food, as an object or set of objects, reveals a great deal about who we are, and some of the life experiences that we have and have had.

Only in the last several decades have food and cooking as a cultural process, been given serious attention. Prior…

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The Ghosts in Our Walls: History and Tales from the Haunted South

Kristen Twardowski

There are ghosts in the walls of old houses. They roam abandoned plantations. They float down the side streets of southern cities on sticky, sultry summer nights.

Tales from the Haunted South.jpgThat is what the dark tourism industry would have us believe at any rate. Dark tourism is travel that is steeped in suffering of one sort or another. In the American South, this industry overlaps with the ghost tourism industry in which people investigate potential hauntings. Historian Tiya Miles explores these ideas along with the historical memory of slavery in Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era.

In the book, Miles focuses on ghost tours to help understand how people reinterpret the Civil War era. The narrative follows her as she travels to places like Charleston, New Orleans, and Savannah as well as more rural plantations. Histories can often be dry texts, but Tales…

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Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to those the fault,
If memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

–Thomas Gray.

Family Saga Friday

Courtesy Hollywood Spy

VICTORIA: THE CROWN AFTER BREXIT “Historical fiction is always about contemporary life.”

HOMEGOING by YAA GYASI: “Spanning two continents and nine generations, Yaa Gyasi unfolds a family saga that is by turns thrilling, heartbreaking and inspiring. This is no ordinary family but one divided by the vicissitudes of colonialism and slavery. While one branch of the family remains in Africa, the other is transported into slavery in the United States.”

SUNDOWN AT SUNRISE: The story of a popular young farmer who ax murders his wife and children.

The family saga chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families. The typical novel follows the generations of a family through a period of time to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.

Each Friday I’ll share a little on this genre (and sagas in general) & family history  (also, if anyone would like to share a piece of their own family saga, memoir or just plain old family memories let me know and we can work on posting it here).

And remember weekends are the perfect time to read family saga fiction!

Happy Friday,