Fear in Writing: The Book and The City

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Book and The City

How beautiful this city is.  Monday, my father took me on a driving tour of the more historic aspects of Nashville.  We only covered a small portion of the city, but we found a lot of interesting places for people to die suspiciously.  And my filled-with-facts father imparted tons of knowledge to me.

Here's one for you:  did you know the term 'music city' does not refer to the modern country and Christian music for which Nashville is famous, but rather for the Fisk Jubilee Singers who, following the Civil War, toured in order to earn money for the University?  This nine-student, all-black ensemble performed for President Grant at the White House and for Queen Victoria in England, among others.  Even though these amazingly talented students were earning hundreds of thousands for their university and great acclaim for their hometown, their "strength was failing under the ill treatment at hotels, on railroads, poorly attended concerts, and ridicule" (Ella Sheppard, original Jubliee singer).

I also took some photographs today.  They aren't amazing in terms of art, but I was able to capture some great locations and research material for my book.  It felt great to walk in the steps of my characters, to see what works and what doesn't.  Here are a few:

I've spoken of the Parthenon before.  Nashville's is the only to-scale replica in the world, built in 1897 for Tennesee's centennial celebration.  This was the last picture I took of the place.  I was literally walking to my car and turned back for one last look, only to find this perfect angle.

Classical Greek architecture casts art deco shadows...Just caught my eye.

Columns soar upward and draw the eye to blue pieces of the sky captured in Athena's ceiling.

The path of research is interesting.  The past is sad (the way we treated others, like the Jubilee Singers just because of their color) and yet rich.  Literature is the same way.


  1. You are fortunate to have such a father who would take you on such a journey of exploration. The images and stories you share here are testimony to that.

  2. Thanks for sharing that bit of history and photos about Nashville. Makes one wonder how many little tidbits of history have been lost over the years because no one repeated it or worse, no one listened when they did. Your research looks like it's going well.

  3. Ooh! I'll be in Nashville in March for a conference. I'll have to check the Parthenon out, for sure. Thanks!

  4. I haven't seen that side of Nashville--thanks for sharing some info about it!

    Glad your research is going so well...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Great photos - love the ceiling view! Nothing quite like doing hands-on research is there? Love it :)

  6. I grew up in Nashville. I KNOW Nashville. And yet the city continues to surprise me. I hope I can capture that in my book. I hope I have chosen the right genre and I am the correct writer for the job.

    We shall see.

  7. I love historical facts like that. And beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing!

    Thanks so much for coming by Write in the Way, Michelle! I look forward to getting to know you!

  8. Those are wonderful pictures. I've never been to Nashville, but would love to go. Your father sounds like a treasure. I hope your recording some of his stories!

    Straight From Hel

  9. Kristen- Welcome and you're welcome. Love meeting new-to-me writers.

    Helen- Nashville is a place worth writing about. I hope to take you there in a book someday.
    I received a digital recorder for Christmas and used it on our tour yesterday! Great minds and all that...The reporter in me kicked in! Brilliant gift from my mother.

  10. My husband has been to Nashville many times, I have not. You make me want to go. I'm glad things have changed in America, although we have a long way to go.

  11. Suspicious places to die sounds useful--what a great father you have! These posts are making me want to visit Nashville.