The 1920s: Flappers, Prohibition, and Murder Oh My!

Recently I’ve been working on a game, one of the mystery variety.  You’ve heard of those right?  Sometimes the mysteries come free off the internet, but most of the time you have to shell out some cash.  In my last post I shared that I’m in a group of five that long ago dubbed ourselves: Mystery!nk.

Considering just how cool we were in grade school, and how massively popular we were in high school, we would meet on occasion for an evening of fun, food, and murder.  ^^I’m kidding about the coolness guys^^  However as we searched and searched for new mysteries, we ran out.  It is then that two of us, myself included, took it upon ourselves to write our own mystery.  This was two years ago.

Finally, things are getting underway and the mystery is almost complete.  Seeing as how we didn’t want to pay a ton of money for a mystery, I figured you guys shouldn’t either.  So, if you’re interested I’ll be posting segments of the mystery.  If you want a full copy, just send me a message or email me at: nc.24@live.com.

Here I present the plot to A 1920s Murder Mystery

1920

It is the year 1923.  As the U.S. emerges from World War I so do new faces that will characterize this era as the time of flapper girls, prohibition, gangsters, and surmounting tides of liberalism. 

Setting: Mrs. Elizabeth Kingsley’s Penthouse, winter time nearing Christmas season, Chicago, Illinois; the Windy City

Situation: Mrs. Kingsley is throwing a dinner party in honor of her husband’s safe return from deployment in France after the end of WWI. Invited to the party are members of the high-class society of Chicago, including Elizabeth’s hat making group and her Prohibition Support Group (PSG).

Mr. Robert Kingsley has insisted upon inviting his war compatriot Sergeant Joseph Jamison whose current state of residence is a disparagingly shabby cardboard box. Mrs. Kingsley, while supportive of the war, is less than enthusiastic about low-class vagabonds treading on her new white carpet.  For peace of mind and good politics she decides to invite Señora Valentina Mendobale, their rich widowed neighbor from one floor down.

Also attending the event is Alberto Malone, known to the gangster underground as Swingin’ Al (ironically a member of Mrs. Kingsley’s prohibition support group).  Mrs. Kingsley has no idea that Robert has invited the handy man, John Torrio, who is currently repairing the damages to Elizabeth’s Model-T car in the apartment’s basement garage.

As these high priority events go, not all is well. Poor Mrs. Kingsley failed to foresee the possible weather dilemmas and happened to schedule her party on the weekend of the most monumental blizzard of the 20th century.

As a result of the storm, her hat-making group and the majority of her prohibition support group are unable to travel due to the excessive amount of snow build up on the roads.  Fortunately, the caterer had just arrived early and was stacking the boxes with the food which were waiting downstairs.

Distressed, Elizabeth sends Robert down to sign for the food.  She is relieved to receive a call from Alberto Malone inquiring whether the event is still on. Elizabeth, not willing to admit that her party is to be a “flop”, enthusiastically responds that although not as extravagant as originally planned, the show must, and will go on.

Moments after hanging up the telephone, the doorbell echoes across the vaulted entryway to the master suite. Mrs. Kingsley, still in her hair curlers haphazardly staggers from the bedroom hollering for Robert to answer the door. Joe Jamison saunters through the entryway, cardboard box in tow.  Mrs. Kingsley motions frantically for Joe to leave his dripping box outside.

Out from the corner of her eye Mrs. Kingsley sights the recognizable outline of Alberto’s Rolls Royce trying to parallel park in a snowdrift. Tearing out the last curler from her hair, she rushes to the telephone to buzz in Alberto. To her surprise accompanying him is an outlandishly dressed young woman introduced as Miss Lacy Woods, horrifically nicknamed “Stardust.” At the same moment Mrs. Mendobale arrives decked out with fur coat and her fat cat, Mr. Snuffles.

With forced elegance, Mrs. Kingsley sweeps her guests into the formal living room where Lacy volunteers to mix the drinks.  Robert returns where he and Joe remove themselves from the “party” atmosphere to converse war politics in the dining room This quickly evolves into a heated dispute. It is then that Elizabeth decides to haul the heavy coats into the master suite.

Returning from the bedroom Elizabeth finds Lacy and Robert engaged in conversation over drinks. Displeased to find such a liberal woman in her abode already, Elizabeth interrupts the conversation and orders Robert to go down to get the food with Al, Joe, and John.  Mrs. Mendobale then begins to lecture Lacy on the improprieties that a woman must evade. In a state of confusion and anger Lacy dismisses herself abruptly from her speech and rushes downstairs to help Al bring up the food.

Slowly, one at a time, Elizabeth’s guests return with cardboard boxes of food. Beginning to feel an encroaching sense of abandonment and frustration, Elizabeth takes the elevator down to find Robert who hasn‘t come up yet.

A few minutes later the guests hear a blood curdling scream resounding in the elevator shaft. They hear a bing and the elevator door opens. There is no one in it. Joe, snapping into one of his war modes begins to shout orders for everyone to load into the elevator. After a few moments of listening to the elevator jazz music, the doors part to reveal Joe’s awkwardly dumped cardboard box.

Al impatiently tears aside the box, to Joe’s dismay.  The group is stunned by the horrific scene that confronts them. Mrs. Mendobale faints at the sight.  Robert lays motionless and crumpled on the floor. Blood oozes from gaping gash in his head, pooling around the murder weapon. Elizabeth, pale faced, stands plastered against the wall. What follows, is a flurry of wails and shouting, muted to the quiet chaos of the blizzard outside.

Eventually the explosion of such a scene dissipates only to be replaced by a high tension amongst the group. While Lacy makes a half-hearted obligatory attempt to comfort Elizabeth, Mrs. Mendobale tries to take charge of the situation by ringing the police. Alarming the group is Al who vigorously opposes the notion of contacting the fuzz on rather ambiguous grounds.

The police cannot push past the mountains of snow. To compensate, the police try to talk to the paralyzed party members over the phone advising that they leave Robert’s body as it lay. They go further to warn the group that it is impossible in this kind of weather for the killer to have escaped, implying the presence of the criminal to still be inside the building. Being the time of the holidays and that only the janitor holds residence, it is deduced that only one of the party members could be guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Robert Kingsley.

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A Nomination for Change: The Liebster Award

Well this is a turn of events! Recently this blog was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Riley and her blog, Smiles No Matter What.  Her mission is to spread some of the wonderful happiness that is available in a thoughtful and insightful and encouraging way.  Check it out! 🙂

You can find her blog at: http://smilesnomatter.blogspot.com/

*** JUST A HEADS UP THIS POST IS GOING TO BE REALLY LONG***

The rules that come with this award are:
 1. Answer 11 questions asked by your nominator, and tell your readers 11 facts about yourself.
2. Choose 3-5 other bloggers with less than 200 subscribers to pass the award onto.
3. Make 11 questions for them to answer, and then go on their blogs and tell them about your nomination.

Here are 11 facts about me:

1.  I LOVE art!  Whether it’s talking, looking, or actually doing art, I could spend days on this subject alone.  There’s something about expressing and planning the spontaneous nature of the world that I revel in so much.

2. WHILE on the subject of arts, I also play the harp.  It’s only a small folk harp, and it stands about 5 ft. and has about 36 stirngs.  I have played and rented the harp for years but, I rented it long enough for me to actually be able to own it! I love it so freaking much.

3.  SPORTS have never been my long suit.  Let’s just leave it at that.  For some reason however, I find martial arts an incredible practice.  I joined an Aikido dojo almost 5 years ago with one of my friends.  At first I was skeptical of whether or not it was at all possible for someone of my stature and nature to take on such a physical and mental challenge but, in the end, I loved it.

4. I LOVE to cook and experiment with different foods.  tuzigiri_credit

5. WOW I seem to love  many things in the world…soooo I love to love!

6. WRITING has, and always will be a passion of mine.  The need to write began at the same time I started to read.  Book after book, I found myself speaking and writing not only with my voice, but the voices of all the authors I’d read.  Reading is important!

7. I WAS ADOPTED from China when I was a little over a year old.  There isn’t much to say about it except the occasional (frequent) mistakes that people make when they assume that I’m not with my mom in the store, or that I’m a foreign exchange student.  No worries, I find it kind of funny….I find it kinda sad, the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had…

8. SPEAKING of ^^^ I love music.  I’m willing to give almost anything a try because if someone takes the time to present oneself out there, then I’ll be there to show some support.

9. I LOVE THE RAIN! When the sun is out while it’s raining I can’t help but run outside and gallavant around like an idiot 🙂  (my neighbors think I’m a wacko sometimes)

10. PRETTY SHY as a person, can’t really speak over the loud music decibel…check out the asian girl from Pitch Perfect –> me

11. I LOVE those who can make people laugh, feel comfortable, and encourage each other.

Questions asked by Riley:

1.What is a topic that you can talk about for hours?
 Art, poetry, literature, music, and human trafficking (yeah I know, kind of an off subject, but the prevention of it is very important to me)

2.What is your favorite movie?
  It’s a tie between Benny and Joon and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Both have Johnny Depp though, so either way I guess.  Really sweet, sad, realistic, funny things just get to me 🙂

3.If you could go anywhere in the world and with anyone, where would you go and with whom?
I would travel with my friends. We met in grade school and have been best friends ever since. There are five of us all together and so we nicknamed ourselves after the Scooby Doo gang, silly I know. They are the greatest friends I’ve ever had and it wouldn’t matter where we went just as long as we were together.

4.Why do you blog?
To filter through my thoughts so that they keep moving. To express myself, to be heard, and to not take life for granted

Adventure! (Spain)
Adventure! (Spain)

5.If you only had five sentences left to say before losing the ability to speak, what would you say?
“Let’s go on an adventure!”

6.Who is your favorite character in fiction?
Coriander from I, Coriander…and Despereaux from The Tale of Despereaux…and Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter…and Calaban from The Tempest…and Edmund from Narnia…and Winnie the Pooh…and Tyler Durden/Narrator from Fight club…and…THERE ARE TOO MANY

 7.What is a song you could listen to on replay for hours?
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity” by Gustav Holst  2min and 57sec in is my favorite part! (Berlin Harmonic Orchestra)

8.Describe yourself in 3 words!
Quiet, opinionated, accepting

9.There is a snow day and school was cancelled–what do you do?
Marvel at how much time there in a day when one wakes up before 10 am and contemplate, in denial, the slight possibility of doing homework while dismissing the consequences until 12:30am the next morning.

10.What is your favorite book, and why?
Tie between The Little Prince, Catcher in the Rye, Invisible Man, Tale of Two Cities…nevermind I have too many

11.What is your favorite quotation?
“There are love stories and there is obliteration into love. You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive naked under and deeper under, a thousand times deeper! Love flows down…The ground submits to the sky and suffers what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse for giving in like that?”  ~Rumi

THANKS AGAIN TO RILEY AND ALL MY FOLLOWERS for supporting this blog.  I would hug each and everyone one of you if I could.  However, hugging isn’t my thing and I don’t think anyone would want all that much attention from a stranger.  *internet hug*

These are the awesome blogs that I’ve nominated for this award.  Take a look 🙂 :

Mary Sanchez:  http://thirteen1999.wordpress.com/  “Living in the Moment”

Cliff:  http://cliff445.wordpress.com/   “Cliff’s Notes”

David Holzel:   http://davidwrotethis.wordpress.com/   “David Wrote This”

Stories & Encounters  http://storiesandencounters.wordpress.com/

Ayin:   http://madartistwithablog.wordpress.com/   “Mad Artist with a Blog”

Here are your 11 questions!
1. What is one of your favorite aspects about blogging?
2. Dogs or cats?
3. Quick! What’s the first song on your ipod that comes up on shuffle?
4. When it’s rainy outside, what do you like to do?
5. What kind of super power would you like to have?
6. Where is one place that you’ve never been to, but would like to go to?
7. What is one thing you want to change about the world?
8. If you were told that you had 6 months to live, what would you do?
9. If you could be any one of your favorite authors for a day, who would it be?
10. Which season of the year do you prefer?
11. If you didn’t have the internet or a blog, how would you express yourself to others?

Have fun and good luck!!!

Fireworks! and exam results…

headdesk            Exam results are in…*headdesk*

My exam scores came in today (also Happy late 4th of July to anyone!). Overall, the result was positive and I am awarded a diploma. However, has it ever just bugged you that even though you succeeded at accomplishing something, the way that it happened wasn’t really how you wanted it to be?

At first, upon reading that my English scores were not as high as I would have liked, I questioned whether or not I should keep writing as something serious.  After thinking about it for a while, and, when I say “a while” I mean a 3 hour movie marathon, I figured that if I could suck this much now, then imagine how much better I could become in the future.

Really? Yes, really.

Sometimes the difference in how others see you and your work is by how much you believe in the work that you create.  Follow what is right, but make sure that you are able to declare that you are proud of it too.

All I want to say though, is that grades are a good motivator, but they are not everything that makes you, You.

So continue writing, reading, and doing what you love 🙂

P.s. Congratulations to anyone who made it through the IB programme, you guys deserve a trophy no matter what.

What’s your favorite painting by Van Gogh?

Mouling de blute-fin
Moulin de blute-fin

This is one of my favorite paintings ever done by Van Gogh.  Pictured is a windmill in Montmartre, France where he spent a good deal of time not only because he loved the scenery and the people, but also because it was cheap living.  🙂  I saw the painting in an art museum once and for some reason it stuck with me throughout the rest of the exhibition.  Maybe it’s the colors of green, yellow, and blue that attract me to this piece.

However, I think it’s due to just a teeny tiny bit more.  The way it draws you into the scene: the foreground is all green grass and as we move to the background, the scene becomes busier, but smaller and smaller in detail.  It’s like Van Gogh is making us chase the life that he could see on that simple little hill, and the chase, knowing that I’ll never get close enough, is all I need to keep going forward into the painting.

Then, suddenly, the painting is no longer there.

I’m running toward the windmill.  The sun beats like a drum against my skin.  The green grass is soft beneath my bare feet, and the wind carries me closer and closer to the life that I perceive is hidden there.  Just a little bit closer; I’m almost there!  But in my heart I know I never will be close enough, and the loss compared to the small victory of living the scene’s story is enough to keep me there, standing in front of that painting; lost and yet found, over and over again.

So! What’s your favorite painting by Van Gogh?  If it’s not even Van Gogh that’s okay too. 🙂

Until next time! (I’m working on a draft that is requires some further research and composition: Van Gogh and Millet!)

Van Gogh and Van Gogh: an Identity Crisis

“I am so glad things have been arranged so that I can work here (Etten) quietly for some time; I hope to make as many studies as I can, for that is the seed from which later the drawings will come” (Letter 144 to Theo, brother, May 1, 1881).

van gogh self portrait blue1889
Self-portrait in front of easel, 1889
In the mental asylum Saint-Paul-de-Mausole**

Before Van Gogh became the great artist, before he was even born, there was another Van Gogh.  His name was Vincent too.  The first-born child of Rev. Theodorus Van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Corbentus, this “to be Vincent” came first to the world as a stillborn.  Upon their second child, the one we know, they decided to bestow the same name as their first.  Thus, a second but singular Vincent Wilhelm Van Gogh came into the world.

Van Gogh (artist) was always plagued by the fact that his older brother had the same name as he.  He felt rather more like a replacement child and his ambitious, all-or-nothing enthusiasm for life is evidence of his strides toward overcoming the ghost of the past.

When I read about this I couldn’t help but think of another artist who had the same crisis: Salvador Dali.

Dali, too, was the first/second child.  His parents had their first child whose name was, can you guess?  Salvador Dali.  Unfortunately their son died after 9 months due to illness.  Like Van Gogh’s parents, Dali’s gave him the same name.  Perturbed and expressive about his constant struggle to win over his brother’s shadow, Dali painted a picture (masterpiece 🙂 ) representing the overlapping waxing and waning of his brother’s identity with his own.

Portrait of My Dead Brother, 1963
Portrait of My Dead Brother, 1963

I’ll just give a quick rundown of this piece.  The face is made up of both dark and light cherries.  The dark cherries represent Dali’s brother and the light are his own face.  In the upper lip, if you look really closely, just above you can see two cherries connected at the stem.  This is Dali’s connection to his brother.  For more information on this picture see source: http://thedali.org/exhibits/highlights/portrait_of_my_dead_brother.php (if you ever have the opportunity, go visit the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, FL it’s definitely worth seeing in person).

Both Van Gogh and Dali struggled daily with ascertaining their own identity from that of their older deceased brothers.  This only adds to Van Gogh’s character as a universally relatable personality.

This theme of identity and “becoming” is so relevant to all of our lives that whether it’s a voice from the past or from the present, we might be able to settle on the idea that this crisis is an integral part of who we are as human beings.  This, we can share then beyond borders of nationality and opinion, so let’s take that chance (Van Gogh at 17) and keep in mind to help others along the way.  The Key2Change might well be found in the struggle to find ourselves.
🙂

P.s. 1881 is the year that Van Gogh finally decided to become a full time artist. We’re on our way!

Sources:

http://thedali.org/exhibits/highlights/portrait_of_my_dead_brother.php

The Complete Van Gogh, Jan Hulsker

**http://www.nortonsimon.org/van-gogh-s-self-portrait-1889-on-loan-from-the-national-gallery-of-art-washington-2