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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A Nice Place to Visit, But... ( #IWSG )

 

     "There's no place like home"  was the advice given to Dorothy in the movie The Wizard of Oz.  Pretty good advice I'd say.   The nice thing about traveling to a fictional book world is that it's easy to get back home and one doesn't even need ruby slippers to get there...



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Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

The co-hosts for the July 6 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!



July 6 question - If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

      I enjoy reading in order to escape the reality in which I exist.  The nice thing about this is that I can enjoy the escape without enduing hardship or inconvenience of that reality offers and easily close the pages to return to the reality from which I came.  In thinking this question through I came to the conclusion that there are no book worlds that I'd particularly like to live in.

       Many of the fiction books I tend to read have settings that are apocalyptic or rather dark and gritty so those are not places where I'd want to live.  I also don't especially want to live in a sci-fi type future world because often those stories don't end up all that well.  Give me the here and now that I know or something similar.

        So with that in mind I'm going with a couple of books that take place in the same time era of early World War Two, but are set in New York City.  It's a time before my birth, but with indoor plumbing still a common thing and many of the conveniences I can recognize.

        E.L. Doctorow's Worlds Fair is a beautiful nostalgic depiction of the magic of 1939 New York City that culminates in a visit to the New York Worlds Fair.  Despite the turmoil going on in the rest of the world, 1939 New York seems like a nice place to be.

        Likewise,  Philip Roth's Nemesis depicts life around Newark New Jersey in 1944.  Close enough to the New York of the Worlds Fair world for me to hang out in New York if I were living in Roth's world.

          Even though the threat of war was ever present, it was a time that seems exciting to me.  The cars, the night clubs, the shows on Broadway, and a rapidly changing America as it careens toward a post World War era.  I think I could stand that time.  It was pretty much like things were when I was born and those seemed like good years in many ways.

         Oh sure, lots of bad things were happening in the United States at that time, but there was a lot that I would liked to have experienced first hand.  Sure beats trudging through some apocalyptic landscape battling monsters and mutants.  That stuff is fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.


    Are you happy having lived in the times in which you have lived?   If you romanticize times prior to the 20th century, do you take into consideration modern things like indoor plumbing?    What major historical event would you have most liked to have witnessed?


        

39 comments:

  1. Apocalyptic landscapes hold no interest for me either. In Mad Max's world, I'd be dead in five minutes.

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    1. Alex, I wouldn't likely survive a Mad Max world either, but the way things are going we might want to get used to the idea.

      Lee

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  2. No apocalyptic visits for me. Besides that, I'm not going anywhere I'd have to wear a corset!

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    1. Same! I complain enough about being expected to wear a bra.

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    2. Liza, watching some of those period piece films I'm not sure I'd like to dress like some of those foppish men in their breeches and powdered wigs. People today have much more comfortable dress options.

      Lee

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  3. It would be interesting to visit the past--and the time period you mention is intriguing because of all that was happening--but I'm not excited to live in any time period without modern civil rights, modern medicine, or indoor plumbing. I'm such a party pooper :-)

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    1. Janet, any other place but my own would probably be nicer to visit that to live in. However I'd probably do okay if I were to be transported permanently back to the 1970s or 80s.

      Lee

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  4. leighcaron@gmail.comJuly 6, 2022 at 7:25 AM

    For me the funnest world to live in is - up in my head.

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    1. Leigh, that's pretty much where we all live when we're not dealing with the reality of every day and that's fine with me too.

      Lee

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  5. You post reminded me how much I enjoyed Devil in the White City, about the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Wouldn't it be grand to visit such a spectacular event? Happy writing in July.

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    1. Sadira, those older historic World's Fairs would have been amazing as have the more recent ones. The Chicago Fair would have been a very cool event based on documentaries I've seen about it.

      Lee

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  6. That would be a beautiful time. Think of the boardwalk amusement parks.

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    1. L.Diane, my mother used to talk about going to New York & Coney Island when she was a teen in the mid-forties. Her stories left such an impression on me when I was a child.

      Lee

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  7. Yes, that is the problem with many great stories--the conflict that make them great might also make for a terrible place to live. I would like to check out some of the past times, but I wouldn't want to live there either.

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    1. Loni, give me a time machine so I can visit for a while and then come back when I'm ready.

      Lee

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  8. If I'd been born a few years sooner I might have enjoyed more of the "collective sigh of relief" Americans were experiencing in the 50s. Things were much more positive, thinking we'd survived the worst. Hope was literally an operative word. Seems like you only get that now in works of fiction.
    Many descriptions I see here, including yours, sound exactly like how my dad described growing up in New York ;-)

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    1. Diedre, those who had gone through the WW2 years might have been sighing collectively in relief, but the kids of my generation were often wondering when the A bomb was going to drop on us. Not that I was worried about it. The idea sounded like an adventure with all of the resulting monsters and mutants.

      Lee

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  9. Seems like we’re all saying the same sort of thing, Arlee, that is that book world is a wonderful place to be because you can enjoy the good bits without the bad bits.

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    1. Anon, I think most of us appreciate our home world and the era in which we live. It's what we know best.

      Lee

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  10. I was born in the late 50s. I have seen the world progress so much that it is both a horror and a joy to me.

    But, as we head towards an information breakthrough, the bottom has dropped out. We might be at the edge of an apocalypse, it was just announced that the biggest killer of kids and teens is gun violence.

    The problem with getting close to an information age is the disinformation that can get through and be believed.

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    1. Craig, early fifties for me and you are so right about the changes since that time. The world has become so bizarre in many ways and in other ways it's more of the same old same old.

      Lee

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  11. I don't worry too much about the world. One thing I know is being worried is not going to change much. After my dad and one of my brothers passed, the country had major events which I did feel some relief they did not have to worry through. For dad, it was 9/11, for Eugene, it was Covid and all the mumble jumble with politics. For the most part, I feel blessed.

    My taste is in the here and now. When I was young, I liked sci-fi and fantasy.

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    1. Ann, I'm in agreement with you about not worrying. Like Jesus said, worry is not going to add any days to your life and science has shown that worry can be detrimental to ones physical and mental health. If I can't do anything to make change then there is not much point in my worrying about it.

      IN my younger days I also liked sci-fi, but now I'm more inclined toward relatable stories of reality or reading non-fiction. I guess some of us tend to grow up.

      Lee

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    1. Tanza, it was a cool story that was well told, but it was somewhat depressing in the end.

      Lee

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  13. I'm not overly happy with my time period at the moment, nor was I happy with it in my earliest years. Thinking about writing about that next month.
    I would maybe go back a thousand some years to meet my tribe before the Vikings reached would-be-Canada (or 500 years later when other Europeans got to would-be-America's east coast). I've heard stories of what life was like back then, but they're handed down stories told only by mouth because writings were destroyed and outlawed. There are so many things I've read that are in direct conflict with our oral history. I'd like to go back to see the life for myself. But definitely get out before the enslavement, betrayals, pox blankets, and all that. Unless... unless I can take some modern weapons? One submarine with torpedoes... come on... 😂

    For the IWSG July prompt asking which book world I would live in, I narrowed it down to three choices.
    One is a short-story I published. One is from a popular series. And one is better known from television, but there are books. It's all on my blog.
    "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett
    Over at Operation Awesome, our Pass or Pages query contest is open this week with July's family saga genre. Know any writers who might want to enter?


    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

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    1. J, oral histories give an interesting impressionistic view of the past, but the detailed reality is usually missing so that we get a idealized perspective of what some might call "the good old days". Also there is the implicit bias of those handing down the stories. I love hearing the oral histories of various cultures, but I don't always take them at face value. And one needs to look at the sum of all the parts of the bigger picture and not judge according to current values.

      Looking back is much different than being in an actual moment.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  14. "Worlds Fair" would definitely be a world I'd like to visit. A life full of intrigue and magic :D

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    1. Damyanti, the actual fair would be such fun to visit, but also the street life of the city and all that is going on in that world of NYC as the world is erupting into turmoil of war. It was a time of such innovation intertwined with horrors and uncertainty and the ever present hope and aspiration of the human spirit.

      Lee

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  15. I don't do dystopian fiction. I have enough of that in my real world. I haven't read World's Fair, but the period would be interesting--just after the crash and just before WWII.

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    1. C.Lee, 1939 was such a transitional year in world events as well as culture here in the U.S. So many great films came out that year! Imaginations were likely running rampant in that time.

      Lee

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  16. I think it would be best if we could pop in and out -- in for the good stuff, out for the bad. :)

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    1. HR, Definitely the pop-in pop-out would be better than stuck in a time we decide we don't like after all. It's like traveling the world but then coming home.

      Lee

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  17. I'm not crazy about post-apocalyptic stories, either. Or times of war. I want a world of peace and prosperity.

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    1. Diane, I don't mind reading about these things, but I'd prefer not to live through them.

      Lee

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  18. Until recently a lot of us who were born around the end of WWII in the USA or Canada have lived a life of unusual peace, prosperity, and opportunity compared with many others around the world. That sense of security and predictability has disappeared for me. I hope our country can find a way to come back together again. This is a good time to escape into a good book. Have a happy July, Arlee!

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    1. Blue, I still feel pretty much like I'm leading a decent life, but there is so much weirdness threatening our peace and sanity. But I feel confident that everything is going to turn out fine. First we'll have some bad stuff to deal with.

      A book escape sounds like the place for me these days.

      Lee

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  19. I think it would be cool to pop into the past and see what it was really like but wouldn't want to live there

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    1. Jo-Anne, yeah, I'm all for the pop-in and get out when I'm ready to come back home.

      Lee

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