GUESTS

04-29 Laurie Alice Eakes - Writing Blind Characters

Monday, July 25, 2016

My favorite time

By Courtney Pierce

The era of the 1920s pushes my buttons for so many reasons. A time that unleashed a visual feast propelled by free-spirited attitudes. Hemlines rose to meet a new generation. Necklines plunged to strip away austerity. Gauzy, fringed dresses shimmered over gyrating sin. Untaxed money flowed with the bathtub gin.

Freedom flows in generational waves, usually born from repression. The same pent-up emotion released from baby boomers in the 1960s in the form of free love, political rebellion, rock music, equal rights, and recreational inebriates. But I digress.

The Algonquin Round Table
Inspiration became an art form in the 1920s. When I travel to New York, I make a point of strolling into the Algonquin Hotel, a former haven for writers, actors, and critics between 1919 and 1929. Insurgence had class and an air of romance in this place. Members of this exclusive club were known as the Algonquin Round Table, with an insider’s group called the "Vicious Circle". Under a haze of smoke, the Circle's luncheons launched a whirlwind of wisecracks, wordplay, and witticisms made famous in newspapers across the country. Women wore suits and ties and cursed; men sported slicked-back hair and silk scarves and laughed with wild abandon. What a thrill to sit down with Dorothy Parker, poet, writer, critic, and screenwriter. No doubt, Harpo Marx sat next to her in carnivorous discussion about the ruthless movie business. I would've been happy to be at a far table just to eavesdrop on the birth of a new American culture.

I often ponder over whether globalization is a good thing or not, but I always circle back to the obvious erosion it's had on culture. Geographic differences and local history make us, as people, unique and interesting. We celebrate between wars that were fought to preserve a way of life. Culture in our DNA. French flair is French. English stoicism is English. And right or wrong, Americans tell it like it is―very American.

Elevator doors-Empire State Bldg.
In the 1920s, the world celebrated cultural expression in all its forms. Even something as simple as an advertisement became a work of art, an image to tuck away or frame. Nothing was mass consumed or thrown away. New-found freedom left its mark in books, music, paintings, prints. Think D.H. Lawrence, Irving Berlin, Pablo Picasso, and Leonetto Cappiello. 

Architecture became art in ’20s. One only needs to marvel at the elevator doors in Empire State Building, or to sit on the built-in furniture of a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Creative expression transformed simple functionality by design. Even telling time ticked toward the label of object d’art.

Heirloom Deco Clock
The romantic in me appreciates these things every day. The family history behind the heirlooms from my grandparents enriches their meaning. Funny, though, that I write for baby boomers. I live in a mid-century modern home that’s pretty darned cool. Music of the Rat Pack still swirls around the blond brick, triangle-shaped clerestory windows, and over its bamboo floors. I live in atomic and love the 1920s. We all have two sides.


Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon. She writes for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. After a 20-year executive career in the Broadway entertainment business, Courtney had new stories to tell. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, She Writes, and Sisters in Crime. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:


The Dushane Sisters are back with Courtney's latest release of Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's latest trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in early 2017. Stay tuned!

3 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Interesting post, Courtney. I hadn't really considered globalization a threat to a country's culture but I can see that it could be if individuals don't value their own family history.

Courtney Pierce said...

Interesting isn't it? As technology advances at lightning speed, we must stop and consider what unravels in its wake. Human beings need to slow down to preserve what makes our heritage so rich. That's what drives our moral fiber. Because we "can" do amazing technical things doesn't mean we necessarily "should".

Sarah Raplee said...

"We all have two sides." Also true of change. We must be careful not to discard the valuable to make way for the new.