Yesterday I mentioned how inspirational I found the Library of Congress Magazine. Apparently I’m not the only one who finds inspiration in this library’s amazing collection. Check out this post from Jann Alexander in which she discusses the inspiration she finds in the library’s print and photography collections.
If you’ve never spent any time poking around in the library’s online offerings, do yourself a favor. But not if you have a deadline fast approaching. Go write and then come give it a good look. You will find photos and engineering records of historic buildings, Abraham Lincoln’s papers, and even an Afghanistan web archive. This isn’t just about the archives themselves. Some collections also include a tab of articles or essays about the materials contained therein.
But this isn’t all that Alexander talks about in her post. She also discusses an archive of oral histories collected by Story Corps.org. Interviews range in topic from how someone found their calling to parenting, including a discussion between Chris and Gabe Lopez on being transgender and hoping his mother would still accept him. Gabe is now 9 years-old so this is a real eye opener about how young children dealing with being trans. The Story Corps recordings are technically podcasts with a new offering put up each week. Consider listening and see where other people’s stories take you in your own work.
Last but not least, Alexander recommends that writers find inspiration among the obituaries. I know that I’ve considered writing several bios after reading someone’s obit and discovering that they were a pioneering chemist, a code talker or more. In addition to straight up obits, Alexander also recommends Find A Grave. This is a national web site that includes obits and photographs. Sometimes the photo is only the grave marker but others include early photos, midlife photos and more. If you don’t have a name to look up, you can also look at popular searches, new listings and new photos, and famous graves.
Next time you find yourself waffling around without inspiration, check out one of these sites and, when inspiration strikes, be sure to say thank you to Jann Alexander for sharing her sources of inspiration.