Research and Inspiration in The Center of Everything and The Widow Nash

The Widow Nash opens in 1904, and while I wrote, I covered my office walls with images from the period, many of which turned up as chapter openers. They opened my imagination, goosed me through writer's block, and acted almost as epigraphs.

The Center of Everything, like The Widow Nash, is primarily set in Livingston, Montana. Dulcy's world, half-remembered but still affecting the events of 2002, surrounds Polly. Center's other world, the Long Island North Shore of 1968, is borrowed from my childhood. I would love to have a photograph of myself standing on a Sound beach, but so would Polly. Below, some art from Widow, my office bulletin board, and an early instance of extreme wishful thinking.

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Livingston, Montana train depot, from The Widow Nash, by Jamie Harrison

Livingston's McKim, Mead and White train depot, circa 1905

25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, from the Widow Nash

The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps at Mammoth Terrace, Yellowstone Park, 1898

Le Souffriere erupts, Martinique, 1902, from The Widow Nash

Le Souffriere erupts, Martinique, 1902

Koloman Moser illustration, from The Widow Nash

A Joseph Sattler skeleton walks across a last Walton notebook, circa 1900

Carte de visite, circa 1900, from The Widow Nash

Carte de visite, circa 1900

Birth control illustration, from The Widow Nash

The perennial issue of birth control; about 1900

Livingston, Montana, circa 1900, from The Widow Nash

Livingston, Montana, circa 1900; train depot at center