while researching my book, Into the Beautiful New
This blog is a grab bag of some of the odd tidbits of fact I’ve
found while researching my novel, Into the Beautiful New. The book tells the tale of two
eccentric writers, Vachel Lindsay and Sara Teasdale — real people who lived from the
turn of the century through the Great Depression. My project began as
nonfiction, but has since evolved into a historically-based novel that adopts
the viewpoints of these two writers and follows them through the upheavals of
the day. Vachel Lindsay was what we’d now dub a performance poet, becoming
famous in the modern sense, touring on the road to make his living. He was a
polarizing figure among fellow writers and among, well, everyone else he knew.
(Along with his poems he wrote the first book of movie criticism and some
on-the-road-tramping sagas.) Sara Teasdale, his friend (and almost-fiancee),
was as reclusive as Vachel was exuberant; she nevertheless led a life that put
her up against the sexual and emotional challenges presented to well-off women
of that time. Along the way, both of them met fascinating people, famous and
not, from all social strata, from all around the country.
Vachel and Sara were pulled between older Victorian beliefs and
the wildly changing newly modern world around them; and this is why I
chose to write about them. The period, with its upheavals, its rapid
technological changes, is much like our own.
What this book delves into: actors, drug addiction, hoboes,
labor union uprisings, lesbianism, mental health ìtreatmentsî (including early
shock therapy), mother issues, movie stars, music, playwrights and poets,
Prohibition, race relations, religion, seances, sideshows, silent movies,
suicide, and World War I. Crazy people in crazy times.
My book Into the Beautiful New is in its revision
stage, meaning that it’s moving closer to a bookshelf near you. For more
information, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.