Monday, January 9, 2012

Unexpected - Guest Blogger

Emmy's Note: I can't tell you how I know "Alice" because she is an anonymous blogger. However, I can tell you that she is fantastic and I am so glad she volunteered to contribute to this month's topic. You are going to love her. She blogs at The Rabbit Hole of Alice and Tweets at The Rabbit Alice.

There are all sorts of cliches. 
That’s to be expected.
But sometimes...sometimes it comes from the most unexpected of places.
Such was the case for me in college. 
One fall, I took a women’s history class. I had to write a term paper for said class. I could write on any topic my little heart desired. So far, so good.
In that moment, my inner smart ass was inspired. I made my appointment like we were required  told my professor that I wanted to write about... 
wait for it... 
wait for it...

Prostitutes in Puritan New England.
Yes, you read that right. My game plan was to research and write about whores in Salem. Take that Abigail Williams.
My professor was very gracious about the whole thing, but pretty much told me that was an impossibility. Not so much because of the topic, but rather it would be impossible to research since there would be little to no record of prostitution. He then suggested that I research prostitution in another setting, or that I pick another topic to do with Puritan New England.
What was a girl to do? The choice was obvious. Prostitution.
After looking though different texts, I came across the the photography of E.J. Bellocq. Nothing has been the same since.
In the early 1900s, Bellocq took pictures of the women living in Storyville, New Orleans’ red light district.  These photographs are some of the most beautiful pictures that I have laid eyes on. He found a way to capture these women so that well over a hundred years later, their personalities and stories still shine through. 
He, too, found inspiration in the old fashioned harlot.
There is a woman raising her glass of rye to the camera, her striped stocking legs delicately crossed.
There is a girl, laying on an ironing board, prim and proper in her white dress, playing with her puppy.
Another is sitting in a window, looking out the window, her body somehow gracefully on display.
Then, there is my favorite. She appears to be in her underthings, her hair piled high on her head. On her legs are black stockings, finished off by a pair of black heels. Her hips are full, and her hands are behind her. The bed, with it’s lace coverings, barely flits into the edge. Her back is pressed against a door, and she just... looks at you with the most knowing look. She is, without a doubt, the most stunning woman that I have ever seen. 
I wish I knew her name. I wish I knew her story. I want to take her out of coffee and find out where she came from and where she ended up. I want to ask her a million questions and then a million more.
This kick of inspiration didn’t wear off. Truth be told it still hasn’t completely worn off. It has taken me places that I didn’t even think I could go. I’ve presented my research at a few university conferences, and even had a proposal accepted by the National Women’s Studies Association. Even now, there are days when I itch to get back to my research, pour over books and documents, gleaning as much as I can.
Sometimes it comes in crazy forms.
Sometimes the unexpected is the best.

So what's your unusual inspiration? I want to know! Visit the Contribute Page for details on how.

Also, please check out Mingle Monday!

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  1. Visiting from Mingle Monday, interesting post but I like it when people find inspiration in different things, thanks for sharing!

  2. I like the choice of topic! Obviously, who would choose Puritan New England over prostitution?

  3. Hi, there! I'm visiting from Mingle Monday. What an awesome post, and an awesome blog! I love to read things that are outside of the box. I enjoyed visiting today and will be sure to come back! =)


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