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Gang Roundup – September 2019

Hold on! Wait! Where has August gone? I swear it had just started and now it’s gone and I’ve done nothing of what I wanted to do!!
It is so frustrating. I had three weeks off work over August. I had a pile of things to do (this blog alone would require quite a bit of work), and now the weeks are gone, and I feel like I’ve done nothing.
I hate it when this happens.
On the other end, September is usually one of my most productive months. I feel as I’m just resurging after the summer, this year particularly (I don’t know where you live, but here in Italy it was crazily hot this summer, and it’s not over yet). I do mean to be more productive. I just need to.

So, first off, here’s the new roundup.

Diaries and letters of WWI nurses tell of the horrors and bravery of women who volunteered

This is actually a show, though I could only have access to the article, which is interesting in itself, anyway.
I like it that in these last years the role of the nurses in WWI is coming to the surface. The real nurses, the ones that were in the field hospitals, that worked with little supplies, that suffered and died under the shells. The ones that drove ambulances on the fields. Not the nice, pin-up red-cross nurse, who never existed but was so popular in the war years – and not only.
I’d love to see the show. Diaries are fascinating because they speak of true people, of their life. That’s the kind of history that I like.
Anyone saw it?

Tamara de Lempicka, La dormiente 1931-1932The Rollercoaster Life of an Iconic Art Deco Painter Known as “The Baroness with a Brush”

I loved Tamara De Lempicka’s art even before I knew who she was. She has such a clean, vibrant style. It conquered me the first time that I saw it (I think it was on the cover of a book).
But even today I don’t know much about her. This article is very essential, but it gives an idea of her life, which was, unsurprisingly, quite eventful, and I’d say a bit messy. But I suppose all great artists have such a life. It goes with their inner flame.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Flying Aircraft Carriers

There was a moment between the two World Wars where it seemed that reality and fantasy (as we perceive them today) merged and nobody thought anything of it. The first time I read about the projects of some of these aircraft was on the blog of a friend who is also interested in the 1920s. Her article was a ran-through of a scientific magazine that presented many of these huge aircraft that were supposed to transport people and goods.
Today, we consider it Science Fiction, but back then they thought it might be possible to build them.
Even when I visited the Art Deco exhibit here in Italy, a couple of years ago, I sow projects (in that case of buildings) that were impossible to build. Still, there were architects who planned them. Besides in the years of WWI, even scientists believed that communication with the dead might be possible.
It’s an interesting thing, this mix of science and reality. 

Bare straps in Cutex nail advertisement 1920sEvening Gowns Held up with Straps, 1920

The more I learn about the 1920s, the more I realise how cutting edge they were. How daring and bold they were in comparison to who came after them for at least a few decades. It was particularly apparent in fashion.

This article explores the strap gown, using only illustrations from the magazines of the time. It is maybe surprising to see how these ladies of 100 years ago revealed their body. Besides, we just have to watch silent films from the 1920s and it is soon apparent that women especially didn’t fear to bare their legs or even their shoulders. When I first watched Our Dancing Daughter, I was totally shocked by Anita Page’s look because she didn’t look at all like a woman of 100 years ago. She wore dresses with deep cleavages and didn’t even wear a brass. An look at her hair!

Photographs of Paris by Pierre-Yves Petit aka ‘Yvon’ (1920)

Can I ever resist a collection of vintage photos? Arguably. This is a small but beautiful collection of pictures by photographer Jean Pierre Yves Petit, all from 1920s

GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.


Sarah Plugues Her Own Stuff

But it’s not true that I did nothing in August, though I certainly didn’t do as much as I wanted.

I started writing for Medium again, and this time, I mean to be more consistent – though my day job has already ruined my routine.

I’ve created my own publication, The Cogs and Gears Storyteller, where I want to write about things I’m passionate about but don’t really belong to this blog. I want to write about writing, for example. I know there’s a lot of people out there doing a fantastic job of it, but I’d like to add my little voice to it. I love talking about writing, and I think I have something to share, so why not? I’ll also write about being a reader, and especially a Tolkien reader (I’m sorry, I know I’ve already jammed this blog with Tolkien stuff that doesn’t really belong here, but it’s never enough for me!).

The Medium staff choose the best articles every day so to be able to promote them specially. My articles have already been chosen twice in the month I’ve been writing for Medium. The first time was an article about Tolkien and I couldn’t believe it!

I know it will be hard because my hectic schedule at work seriously gets in the way of establishing a writing routine, but I want to do this.

I hope you’ll have time to have a look at the publication. Remember that if you’d like to keep updated, you can subscribe to the publication with the ‘follow’ button on the right, up there. You’ll receive notifications every time I post a new article.

THE COGS AND GEARS STORYTELLERS Storytelling as an experience for writers and readers - Sarah Zama's publication on Medium

I was hoping to finish revising The Frozen Maze over August. Didn’t happen. I’m still struggling with the new episode. It’s killing me. But I’ll conquer it, I’m sure. I just need to find a little time to concentrate and write it down.
But I did manage to read through the entire novel and realise it is actually not too bad and in any case, it seems to make some sense. I’m still hoping to send it out at beta readers at the end of September in hope to start posting it here in November. I’m crossing my fingers and look hard to find the time to write.

#AestheticWIPup August 2019 - The Frozen Maze

In the meantime, I took part in a visual challenge on Instagram.

Well, first of all, I had a ton of fun. I liked creating aesthetics for the challenge and talk about The Frozen Maze. It is always fun, especially because every time I discover something I didn’t know about my characters and the situation they find themselves in. But it was so much work! I never expected it would take me so much work and time (we were supposed to post every day, and I did). I don’t regret it, mind you, but I don’t think I’ll do anything such again any time soon.

I will use that material on this blog, I’m sure of it. But in the meantime, if you’re curious, you can have a look at my Instagram profile. If you do, please let me know what you think of the story. I’d be curious to know.

And so, this is it for this month.

I’m working like a slave at the bookshop these days because we are renovating the shop. You have no idea! I’m working all day long, going up and down the latter, moving books about, moving furniture about. I get home at night and all I want to see is my bed!

But hey! I love my job. I’m doing it happily.

GANG ROUNDUP (September 2019) A monthly collection of links about the 1920s and adjetent decades. About WWI, and women's fascion. Also some 1920s book news


    Posted September 4, 2019 at 05:30

    Many thanks for this, Sarah. All the Never Was Magazine articles are interesting, but the flying aircraft carrier one particularly fascinates me.

    My own Work-in-progress is a Dieselpunk trilogy with a WW2-era aircraft-carrier that flies itself using anti-gravity, a fleet of biplane-carrying airships like the Akron and Macon but even bigger, and entire cities of flying skyscrapers! I never do things by halves..
    Now I must check out Cogs and Gears…

    • Post Author
      Posted September 11, 2019 at 11:09

      That sounds like so much Dieselpunk. I’m not really the kind of author who write it, but I love reading it :-)

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