Aug 022017
 

Recently, I visited The American Writers Museum in Chicago and brought my son along for the ride.

One of the first exhibits we saw was the Children’s Literature Gallery. There is a beautiful mural painted on one of the walls along with ample seating and a bookshelf filled with children’s books. There is also an area where you can listen to Langston Hughes’ poems.

There is also an area dedicated to L.M. Alcott’s, Little Women.

Across from the Children’s Gallery is a room filled with plants! This temporary exhibit is called Palm: All Awake in the Darkness. It is dedicated to the life and work of poet W.S. Merwin. At the end of the exhibit, there is a pile of blank, white paper and pencils with a sign urging each patron to write a note. These notes are to be sent to Merwin to be planted underneath newly planted palm trees in his Hawaiian garden. This made my son and I feel connected to both nature and Merwin’s work. We wondered if a palm tree would be grown from our words. We loved this exhibit.

Afterward, we entered a room with a long hallway. There were interactive, glowing, rectangle tiles aligned on a wall. This exhibit was called the Surprise Bookshelf. My son was immediately drawn to the wall and began turning the tiles. Some were filled with more information, while others smelled like food. It was very interesting.

On the opposite side, there were portraits of writers. When you turned the tile, one could read more information about each writer including an excerpt from their work. One could spend hours here.

Here is something that has crossed my mind more than once:

Most artists find process fascinating mainly because we all do it differently and writers are no different. This area of the museum is dedicated to the mind of a writer. It is genius.

It’s been a long time since I used a typewriter, but when I sat down, I remembered how to set the paper and the margins. My son was fascinated by these ancient typing machines. He even requested one! It’s true what they say, everything old becomes new again.

I love this quote:

I found The American Writers Museum both interesting and well-put-together, which is why I recently purchased a membership. I urge you to all check it out if you live in Chicago or are in the Chicago area. It is fantastic!

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May 032017
 

For Spring Break, my family and I made our way out of Chicago and down to Key West, Florida. The weather did not disappoint as it was gorgeous!

While there, we stopped at the famous Hemingway House, which quickly became my favorite author house after the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion in Salem, the home made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables. You can check out more information about our visit here: http://jr-williams.com/blog/?p=659.

As we walked through the Hemingway house with our fantastic tour guide, I couldn’t help, but feel Hemingway’s energy. Everything from the furniture to the typewriters, to the chandeliers, to the porch, to the cats screamed beauty and excitement. Check out some of my photos below:

Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer really loved the house and it was evident throughout each room and the grounds, but the pièce de résistance was Hemingway’s writing room. I wanted to rummage through his books, sit in his chair, and type a letter on his typewriter, but I wasn’t the only one because the entrance was closed off by wrought-iron doors.

All in all, I found Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer’s home incredible. It’s definitely worth touring if you make it down to Key West.

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