Postcards Turn Into Writing Projects

I used to write in a monthly blog hop – The Insecure Writers Support Group. One month they asked the question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

I had to laugh as I read that month’s question. They were asking me? The self-proclaimed Queen of the Antique Stores? The one who can’t always afford to buy the coveted treasures she sees displayed on the shelves and counters?

Ah, but never fear…I can afford to buy photographs and postcards, and thus have filled up my own coffers with these wondrous paper delights. Some of these photographs, and many of the postcards, have been making their way into my Vintage Daze Short Stories. Although many tales are still in the ‘In Progress’ status, and some in the done–but-editing-phase, a few short stories completed and published.

Dear Arlie began with some postcards I inherited from Pauline, an elderly woman that I grew up next door to. The postcards she sent to a friend from 1907-1911 kicked off the story, but then I added vintage photographs from her companion, Bea’s, scrapbook to embellish Dear Arlie.

Another postcard that I discovered in an antique store on one of my jaunts inspired the beginning of a story, The Grotto. The Grotto is a magnificent creation in Iowa that is still in existence. On this story, I had many snippets of Iowa history that I wanted to include, but they were from a wide range of time. Wanting to stay within a short story length and not have a full saga, on this story I created a current day woman visiting her grandmother that suffers from dementia. This way the different periods of time come out in varying memories through their visits. This story is only about halfway completed. It got pushed aside last year so I could start working on some Christmas short stories and I haven’t returned to it yet.

I have a feeling that many authors reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement about the ‘never returned to it yet’ phrase.

Although, I have to share that this postcard in a round about way started off my Christmas book from last year – The POW’s Legacy. During my research for this story, I discovered another fascinating tidbit from northern Iowa, not too far from the grotto. During World War II, a POW camp in Algona housed German soldiers. One man, with a few helpers, created a nativity scene from native materials. It was so well liked that the camp commander asked him about making a larger scene for the next year. Over 75-years later, this nativity scene is still displayed each Christmas. (Up until 2020, when for the first time Covid shut down the display.)

When I was talking to a friend about writing, a friend that happened to come from Iowa, I found out that not only had she visited the Grotto – many times – she’d also seen the nativity scene. She shared a booklet with me that had many stories from the WW2 days, including one from her aunt – and The POW’S Legacy was born.

So many postcards. So many stories I can tell from the many vintage postcards I own. So little time…

Christmas Ornament On A Tree In Front Of The Blue Sea

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. melodiemillerdavis
    Apr 24, 2022 @ 12:45:12

    How you take a tiny tidbit and make a story, is pretty amazing. Love it! I’ll keep some things rolling in my head. And you’ve never lived in Iowa?

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Apr 24, 2022 @ 14:23:33

      Thank you Melodie!
      No, I’ve never lived in Iowa. My brother did, until his death in 1995. And I seem to be making lots of connections to Iowa, but have never lived there myself.

      Reply

  2. Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    Apr 25, 2022 @ 11:16:51

    I remember that question! Yeah, the closest to art I get is looking at it online 🙂

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: P

    Reply

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