In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prohibition: A Vermont Tradition

Locations listed on this handbill surround my writing territory today.
"Prohibition," short for "prohibition of alcohol," is often thought of as the time period when the U.S. federal government, through a Constitutional amendment, banned booze. Here's the actual text of the 18th Amendment:
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. 
Both crime and social ills flowerd in spite of, or even because of, this well-meant piece of social legislation. The hopes of decades of Americans, especially women who experienced the ills of drunkenness at home, were crushed by the side-effects of this law. It stayed in place from 1920 to 1933, when it was repealed, and this 13-year segment is the time period we call Prohibition.

But there were many places in the United States that got serious about banning "intoxicating liquors" both before and after that time. A collection at the Bailey-Howe Library at the University of Vermont highlights Vermont's experience with such legislation: From 1850 to 1902, the state created its own Green Mountain "prohibition" years. (See details here; the exhibit took place in 2009, but the materials are still available.)

This is a great challenge for both an investigator of history and a novelist. After all, if the federal banning of alcohol use encouraged organized crime and also the Jazz Age, what did the state version encourage?