Never a Dull Day in Biographyville

I cannot believe that it has been a month since my last post! We have been extremely busy at the family business AND most of what little spare time (ha!) that I have goes to book research.

I promise to post more frequently in June (not that that would be hard!). In the meantime, here is the most recent post from Alternative Muses, wherein I briefly catch you up on an unexpected turn-of-events in Biographyville.


Introducing Alternative Muses

Alternative Muses has been an occasional series on A Small Press Life for years. The name and the concept also fit my bio subject, J, so well that I decided to combine them into a new website. This comes with a couple of bonuses. 1) All things J will be found in one handy location 2) ASPL won’t be entirely overrun with the details of this huge project.

[R]evolving Research, however, will remain a Tuesday “tradition” here on ASPL. If that’s enough J for you, great! You’re all set. If you’d like more, then you can follow my research and biography writing adventures over on AM.

You can check it out here.

The first post is already up.

Thanks so much!

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Margery Sharp, Looking Likewise

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”–Clare Booth Luce

English writer Margery Sharp definitely knew that, way back in 1945.

Margery Sharp (1945) by Bill Brandt

Sure, you could classify her look as a bit severe or buttoned-up. Even austere (the photo was taken at the end of WWII, after all). I think she’s…sharp (pun intended and unavoidable). The pointy shoulders on the blouse, simple skirt, and round glasses are timeless and, through some weird alchemy, almost edgy. All the bonus points: Margery Sharp also gave the world that superior fictional mouse, Miss Bianca, who has style for days.

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Margaret Wise Brown

“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”–Yves Saint-Laurent

Iconic children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown had style to match her writing: timeless, straightforward yet unique, and unforgettable.

The stripes and strong shoulders, though clearly from the 1940s, are streamlined, edgy, and relevant:

Margaret Wise Brown Writing

Her bouncy, easy-going hairstyle is impeccably modern, and is the perfect accompaniment to her sleek, minimally accessorized dress:

Margaret Wise Brown

 Some would say that a favorite doggo is the best “finishing touch” of all:

Margaret Wise Brown by Consuelo Kanaga, circa 1940-1950

It’s no secret that Margaret Wise Brown was very outdoorsy and active, a lifestyle which effortlessly merged with her sophisticated and relaxed dress sense. She’s wonderful inspiration for anyone who values style, practicality, and a dash of whimsy. 

[Alternative Muses] Birthday Mashup: Charles Dickens/Sinclair Lewis/Laura Ingalls Wilder/Gay Talese

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”-Charles Dickens (born 7 February 1812)

Sinclair Lewis by Arnold Genthe, 7 March 1914

Sinclair Lewis (born 7 February 1885) by Arnold Genthe, 7 March 1914


Laura Ingalls Wilder, circa 1885

Laura Ingalls Wilder (born 7 February 1867), circa 1885

“I am a documentarian of what I do.”-Gay Talese (born 7 February 1932)

[Alternative Muses] Coming and Going: Simone de Beauvoir/Katherine Mansfield

Simone de Beauvoir was born on 9 January 1908:

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”-Katherine Mansfield (died on 9 January 1923)

[Alternative Muses] Birthday Mashup: Edmond de Goncourt/Dorothea Lange

“History is a novel that has been lived, a novel is history that could have been.”-Writer Edmond de Goncourt (born 26 May 1822)

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All photos taken by Dorothea Lange (born 26 May 1895) during The Great Depression

[Alternative Muses] Birthday Mashup: Randall Jarrell/Orson Welles

“A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.”-Randall Jarrell (born 6 May 1914)

Orson Welles, press interview following the WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast, October 31, 1938

Orson Welles (born 6 May 1915), giving a press interview following the WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast, October 31, 1938.