dVerse Meeting the Bar: Bridging Southern Florida

Today’s dVerse poets prompt is a fun one. The challenge is to pick a line from two books then start your poem with one and end with the other. I just so happen to be reading  Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard and Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen. The first is set in Miami and the other in Key West. That should make for an interesting bridge.

Southern Florida Bridge

Always On The Grift

Sheepishly she displayed the razor
as she lowered her skirt

Flashing her wide whites and woollies
innocent as a lamb while

Hiding her black sheep, freshly shorn,
back into the fold

But he keeps visualizing
a fresh, pink clam

The wolf in sheep’s clothing
so well disguised

Even the shepherd was blinded
if only long enough for the crime

He follows her bleating
until he is fleeced

No apology or acting sheepish
about it, wanting to explain

She re-opens the straight blade
Just like that, back in the game

 

The first line, “Sheepishly she displayed the razor as she lowered her skirt,” was taken directly from Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen (pg. 43) and the lines, “No apology or acting sheepish about it, wanting to explain” and “Just like that, back in the game,” were taken from Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard (pgs. 143 and 144). I chose these lines to create my bridge because I found it interesting that two different authors in books separated by twenty-four years would choose “sheepish” to describe women who were committing crimes and in acts of deception.

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A great tool for research, inspiration and hours of fun

Cover of Roswell Daily Record from 1947

Sadly, I wasn’t able to lift images from Google News Archives. Here’s a pic of the original 1947 report of the Roswell Flying Saucer.

I recently received an email from nanowrimo nudging me to start preparing for this year’s novel. I have had my idea since April and decided to start doing some research. After coming up with very little on the internet, I found myself longing for easy access to world newspapers.

At my local library’s website, in the digital library section, I clicked on magazines and newspapers. In that list I found Google News Archive .  You do not need to be logged into the library to access the archive.

If you type a topic into the search bar at the top of the page, you get a list of related articles from their thousands of scanned newspapers.

This morning, I asked a friend what he wanted to read about and he wanted to see the original article about the flying disc found in Roswell, NM in 1947. I typed in 1947 flying disc and got a bunch of recent articles about debunking the Roswell find, so I tried again.

This time I only typed flying disc which brought up The Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida, Wednesday,  July 9, 1947. The headline read “‘Flying Disc’ in New Mexico Turns Out To Be Army Weather Device.”

After reading the article, my friend said, “After all these years, now I’m finally convinced.” Wink. Wink.

And the fun did not stop there. Just one column over, there was a small article about how UFO fever spread to Iran. Bright lights were seen in the sky that then exploded (secret weapons test?).

A blurb next to that said “Pennsylvanians Here” and went on to give the names of a couple and their children that came into town on the train and included the address where they would be staying. Next to that was another blurb entitled “No General Name” which informed me that the Tunguses of Siberia do not have a word for reindeer, but like the Eskimos and snow, have many words for specific types of reindeer like tame reindeer, wild reindeer and young reindeer.

I continued exploring this one day in 1947 and found:

  • Instructions on how to iron three different kinds of rayon
  • A wedding announcement for a couple married in Seattle
  • Lists of names of people staying at hotels and resorts
  • More announcements with names and addresses of people visiting
  • A picture of two girls at the piano with the headline “Cousins Enjoying Visit Together”
  • A fraternal order I had never heard of: the Knights of Pythias
  • the vitamins in cantaloupe are A and C
  • sauerkraut juice is good with dinner
  • The schedule for radio shows
  • Movie ads

Then I found “Husband Held in Los Angeles Silk Stocking Murder” that after talking about Mrs. Mondragon being strangled with a silk stocking lumps in the fact that she is the eighth woman brutally murdered in six months in LA including The Black Dalia. Honestly, this day in 1947 has everything.

I foraged only one day of one newspaper. Imagine what you can do with thousands of days of tens of thousands of newspapers. I hope you find this resource as exciting as I do.

Happy reading, writing and exploring!