Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blues-ing it Up and in Search of a Literary Legacy

imagesI’m heading to Memphis today.  In fact, by the time this gets posted, I should already be on the road.  If I screwed something up, it’ll just have to sit here like an unzipped fly until I can check in tonight.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask?  Well actually, I’m going down there to cover a story for my paper.  A local band won a Chicago-wide blues contest, and they’re playing in a national showcase on Beale Street.  At least that’s the impetus.  The wife and I need a getaway, especially since the doggy chastity belt didn’t work, and we’re probably going to be ushering six to eight more puppies next week.  Joy.

Not that I blog consistently enough for it to matter anyway, but I’ll likely be out of commission the next three days or so.  Unless something really strikes me in the meantime.

The way I want to really tie this into writing, is that Memphis is above all else a music town.  Tourism revolves around that.  There are several other obvious music towns: Nashville (country), New Orleans (Jazz), Seattle (Grunge/Indie), Chicago (blues, again) and a lot more I can’t think of right now.  And of course, London, Berlin, Liverpool, and just about every other major city in Europe.  But where are the Literary towns in the US?  The ones whose legacy revolves around great literature rather than great music?  Where in America are the London of the 1800’s or the Paris of the 1920’s?  Where were the hotbeds of literary genius in America’s past?  Where would you go as a literary tourist?

There really isn’t any place that comes to mind.  Outside of New York, which is always a center for something, I can’t really think of anything.  Perhaps I’m missing something, since I’m not as up on my literary history as I should be.  Help a wanderer out: where’s a good spot to explore America’s literary past?


  1. I can't really think of any. I am not sure there are any. Though I read somewhere Seattle has more bookstores than any other American city.

  2. At least you got to travel AFTER the snowstorm!!

    Oddly enough, a lot of YA authors seem to come from Utah lately. Although, no, I'm not sure where a legacy could be found. Hemingway's house is a tourist attraction (in Florida, I think) if that counts.

  3. Not sure, as I am not from America, but I do think that a lot of Prohibition era books and stories are set in Chicago...

    I'd love to go there, anyway.


  4. I already live in a mecca of writers. I think every other person I meet in Oregon is a writer.

    Lyrics are writing. Yes? I find I'm attracted to some singers because of the lyrics. Enjoy your trip.

  5. Misha - I live just south of Chicago, and you're right, they've got a lot of Prohibition-era, Al Capone related landmarks.

    M Pax - Back when I was buying a lot of writing books, I bought three in a row whose authors lived in Portland. Might have to look into paramedic jobs in the Pacific Northwest...

  6. I wonder, also, what people will be saying in 200 years about now. There are so many fantastic authors all over the world, and for the first time they can reach a worldwide audience without a formal publishing contract. I wonder whether there really are places where there are more great authors than others.

  7. I've been thinking about you lately. Wondering how your writing/query journey is going? You are still querying, right?

    I saw erica and christy's comment above. Love those girls, however, I'm from Utah and regardless of how many writers (i.e., Elana Johnson, etc.) are from this area, there is nothing to see in the way of writing if you go there. I know for sure because I've been traveling back and forth there for my mom. Haha! Now, if you are interested in seeing the Mormon temple, or the vast amount of Pagan's and Pagan stores in this area then go for it.

    However, I did a little search for you online and found this guy:

    He might be able to answer your literary traveler questions. If not, there is always Forks, Washington where Twilight is from. Haha!