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10 most popular posts on The Old Shelter in 2017

The end of the year is the perfect moment to have a look at how our endeavours are fairing, and since this blog is one of my chief endeavours, I thought I should have a look at how it’s doing.
It had never occurred to me so far, you know, to have a look at Google Analytics and celebrate the posts that are doing better. Since this is the first time I’m doing it, I had a look at the posts that are doing better, regardless of when they were published, so you’ll find both posts from this year and past years.

Plotting your novel as a panters - Confession: I’m definitely a planner after I’ve written the first draft, but before I write it? I’m an hopeless pantser

Plotting Your Novel as a Pantser

This is a post from last year, which I wrote in preparation of NaNoWriMo. There is always a debate over the month leading to NaNo, whether it is better to plan it or to pants it, and so whether planners fair better or pantsers.
All of us writers are a bit of both, I lelieve. It is certainly true of myself, with one or the other personality taking over depending on the stage of the process I find myself in. I need to plan a story to start writing it, but then I let my panster personality take over, to the point my plans are often completely rewritten.
Here are some of the resources I use to get reading to be an effective pantser.

Dating in the 1920s - In the 1920s, dating had become commonplace. Young people now had unlimited possibility to meet at social events at dance halls, speakeasies and bars, skating rinks, movie theatres, sports courts, places where man and women could freely mixed in a socially acceptable environment. In these conditions, dating ceased to be specifically a search for a mate and became a means for casual social entertainment.The Freedom to Choose

This wasn’t a surprise. Maybe it’s because this post appears on the frontpage. Maybe it’s because the subject is one of particular interest. Anyway I knew before checking the stats this was one of my most visited posts. Always been since I posted it last Saint Valentine Day.
This is one of my favourite topics. How young people felt about themselves and behaved in response to it is so similar to what young people do today. But the reasons why they do it’s not the same.
I also feel that there is a lot of misunderstanding on how and why flappers had a certain attitude. As I’ve often seen, a lot of people (both readers and – unfortunately – authors too) give flappers reasons that don’t belong to the world of 100 years ago. That’s a complete miss on our parts. Understanding the true reasons why something happened 100 years ago can tell us a lot more about ourselves today than forcing our reasons over characters of 100 years ago will ever do.

The 1920s were intoxicating - Interview with Pilitzer Prize Finalist Margaret Verble. Heavily inspired by her own family hsitory, "Maud's Line" is a made up story that might have been trueThe 1920s Were Intoxicating

This wasn’t a surprise either. This is an interview I made with author Margaret Verble a couple of years ago, when her book Maud’s Line came out. But it picked last year when the book shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. Since then, this post has received visits almost daily and I discovered that it ranks even better than Margaret’s own page!
I had a lovely correspondence with Margaret in that period, both while reading the book, afterward as we discussed my impressions and her reasons and then as we devised the interview. She’s a lovely woman and it was a pleasure to ‘meet’ her, if only on the internet.

Stories Are All About Magic - Smoke Signals as a storyteller's film - Is storytelling a lie or the truth at is strongest? It all depends on the perspective and the opennes of heart and mindStories Are All About Magic

This was a surprise instead. It is one of my oldest posts. I do know that it is often hit, if not regularly, but I can’t figure out why this is so popular. I suppose Sherman Alexie is popular enough.
This is one of the articles I posted on my first March of blogging, when I celebrated my birthday by celebrating one of my favourite authors. This particular post is my take at the film Smoke Signals, with references and parallels to the short stories that inspired it.
To me, this is a true compendium to Alexie’s idea of what stories are and should be about. Took me a lot of time and thinking to write, because some things I discovered while writing and trying to make sense of the plot and characters. It was a fascinating journey.

ROARING TWENTIES AtoZ - Black-and-Tan - When we think to the 1920s black-and-tan speakeasies today, where races could mix with varying degrees of freedom, we think they were among the first of integretad public places. But was it truly so?

B in for Black-and-Tan

This is part of my first AtoZ Challenge (The Roaring Twenties) and it’s popularity is a mystery to me. I knew it was one of my most hit posts, but I didn’t it expect to be in the top 10.
It isn’t a particularly in-depth article (that year I was trying to stay inside the recommended 500 words). There’d be lots more to say about this topic. I wonder whether the subject (race, discrimination, and still the possibility to meet in a ‘neutral’ space) is what attracts most readers.
It may also be that not much of the info in here are available online. I certainly didn’t rely on online resources to write this article, but rather on book resources.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017 - Ennio Trivellin isn’t a Jew. He was interned in the concentration camp because of his political activity in Verona. But I’d like to speak about what he told us that night because he’s still a living memory of what happened in those places

International Holocaust Day 2017

I don’t know what happened to this post last January when I posted it, but it became crazy popular. For a couple of weeks, I had a massive number of visits. I still didn’t expect it to be in the top 10, I hadn’t realise it had been this crazy popular.
But I’m happy, because it’s a story of my own town Verona, but also a story belonging to all of humanity. I had the possibility to hear with my own ears this survivor of Mauthausen speak and I’m so grateful I had this opportunity. It was such an emotional and meaningful experience.
And I’m happy because I can offer my tiny help to pass down a memory we must never forget.

Flapper Jane Goes Shopping for Make-up (The New Woman's New Look) The 1920s were the best of time for a girl to experiment with cosmetics. After having been dangerous and uncomfortable to wear for many decades, in the 1910s and more so in the 1920s, cosmetics (they weren’t called make-up yet) evolved into a true weapon of seductionFlapper Jane Goes Shopping for Make-Up

This belongs to my The New Woman’s New Look series and I’m very proud to see it in the top 10. That was a very popular series on my blog and I had a lot of fun writing it.
Once again, this series tries to explore 1920s women’s circumstances without trying to transform them into us. The 1920s is a particularly interesting time with regard to women’s life and feelings. This is the time when so many things we now take for granted first appeared and were accepted. Make-up is one of these things.
I’s fascinated how so many products we use everyday first became available. How both women who used them and the society that criticized those women received them. Many things I didn’t expect, but made a lot of sense once I dug a little bit.
This series helped me understand where we come from as women of today… and it isn’t always the place we would expect.

Nelson Mandela Day 2017

I love sharing quotes. True, sometimes they may be misleading when taken out of context, but most of times they are so poignant and meaningful that may truly inspire us.
This from Nelson Mandela is one such quote.

Fredom (Nelson Mandela) "For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others"

New Woman's New Look 5 - Flapper: the Boyish Body of the Sexy Vamp - The way flappers chose to look like was a reflection of women's place in society and the way they wanted it to changeFlapper: The Boyish Body of the Sexy Vamp

Another post from The New Woman’s New Look series. This was a fun one because it explore something that may sound very much like it is today but it’s in fact a very different matter.
This post in particular explores the ways women started to think about their own body and how they started to ‘use’ it with more awareness. It addresses the matter of sex-appeal  and seduction and many of the behaviours explored here reflects what we now do today. But the reasons why they happened in the 1920s are quite different from similar behavious today.
I was particularly interested in the reasons why the androgen flapper look was considered attractive by men. In fact here resides my entire idea for the series that the flapper’s look was far from being a fashion matter.

What about you? Is there a post you liked this year but you don’t see here? I’d love to hear about it.


Pinterest pin. The text reads, "10 Most Popular Posts on The Old Shelter 2017 ". The picture shows an explosion of colourful fireworks against a night sky.

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