The Labor of Authors

Labor Day is coming up on Monday, and I have been wracking my brains over some sort of thematic post. However, writing about the rise of America's labor unions, while worthy, isn't very exciting.

So, since I'm practically the only person in the office today, I let my mind wander and realized, "Ah ha! I can do a brief trek through some of the writer's homes I've visited over the years--homes in which many famous writers labored." (How's THAT for creative stretching?)

I'm always fascinated at how people lived. For that reason, I've made a lot of trips to the famous homes of famous authors. Here are three that left a big impression.

When I was 12 or 13, my mother took me to England. I was secretly thrilled, but the thought of travelling with my mother was so uncool I could hardly stand it. I'm sure I spent a lot of my time rolling my eyes as she dragged me from one castle to another.

One of the stops we made was to Jane Austen's lovely home at Chawton. I remember being told it was "modest," but thinking, "Heck it's bigger than what I'm going back to."

Years later, a girlfriend and I rented a car, figured out how to drive on the lefthand side of the road, and trekked up to Haworth. We had gone to England specifically to visit the place where Charlotte Bronte and her family lived, and we were NOT disappointed.

Once we arrived, we completely understood how Branwell Bronte got addicted to drugs and why the Bronte sisters had such wild imaginations. I mean, seriously, check THIS out. Cold, lonely, and your own personal front yard graveyard.

As for Louisa May Alcott, she wasn't kidding in LITTLE WOMEN when she said she lived in an old brown house that was sort of falling over. Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts is almost precisely the way it was when she and her family lived there.

I have a girlfriend who drove halfway across the country just to see where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. Are any of you as obsessed as me abuot visiting authors' homes?


Blogger joy said:

I had to look twice to see if this was an Erika post.

I love going to visit authors' homes. The ones I can remember are Alcott, Melville and Wharton. And some Twain sites (but not his birthplace - yet). And, I know I'm blanking on more.

My sister's doing her Great, Great Britain Tour in October, to see the Jane Austen sites. She's going with a friend who's a boy - a closeted Jane fanboy himself.

I must have planned the Laura Ingalls Wilder trip at least twice now, but to no avail. I think it's because I keep telling people that it's "in the neighborhood" to Branson, MO.

1:41 PM  

Blogger jen said:

I loved The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (and yes, i know it's fiction)!

I cannot wait to go to Chawton.

3:38 PM  

Anonymous Jennifer said:

If you love author's homes you would definitely love the book I am reading now "The fascinating story behind 50 of the world's best loved books". It really is fascinating. I just wrote about it at
It is a great book.

10:48 AM  

Blogger Jenn P. said:

I love Jane Austin! That is a great picture, I just moved back to the States from England and that picture is making me really miss it!

7:35 PM  

Blogger Pageturners said:

As the old slogan says, Women in Labour Keep Capitalism in Power.

11:47 AM  

Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said:

I've been to Mark Twain's house in Hartford, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's in Salem. I still haven't been to the Mount although I'm dying to go, as well as the Parsonage in Haworth. I have however been to the Dicken's Museum in London, and Shakespeare's Birthplace. There's something about seeing the objects that they might of touched and seeing where they lived that gives you an insight into their character.

8:24 AM  

Blogger Speedcat Hollydale said:

Awesome shantee!

6:29 PM  

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9:09 PM  

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