A Discovery

miss modenea

The “World’s Oldest Profession.”

 

A Bit of Family Genealogy and after “dusting off an old draft discovered a story in the making”

In the early 1800s, the hectic harbor in Mobile, Alabama was bustling with upriver planters who came to town for the annual cotton-marketing season. Along the waterfront a variety of establishments from boarding houses, hotels, saloons and other places know as the gentlemen’s entertaining facilities, as a group they were known as “Shakespeare’s Row”. During the South’s Antebellum Era prostitution ranked right up there with vagrancy and public intoxication. It later became a prohibition of any disorderly behavior public or privately. The fines for “keeping a disorderly house” ranged from $10 to $25; there were no consistent laws on the subject.

It was during mid-1850, when my Great-great Aunt Molly and Modena found themselves visiting a distant cousin in Mobile near the waterfront. They had inherited a hotel in downtown Birmingham and after working night and day for months decided to give themselves a vacation. Leaving the Hotel in the capable hands of their hired staff the ladies went on their retreat.

It was toward the end of their stay when they ventured onto the waterfront and Shakespeare’s Row. Neither Molly nor Modena wavered from having a good time. When they inherited their Aunt Ira’s Hotel the family encouraged them to turn their lives around and make a living running the upper-class establishment in Birmingham.

It was during that trip to Mobil that gave them the idea of returning to Birmingham and turning the their Hotel into a “Gentleman’s Club”. They did not identify themselves with the Shakespeare Row prostitutes, but they did know that since their youth their need to pander with men was well known. That is how the Gentleman’s Club came into existence.

These two young women advertised the club as a place catering to the wealthy.  In the beginning cards, cigars and liquor became the enticement. Upon paying a substantial monthly fee to join, and a separate “visiting” fee deposited at the door would give a gentleman their choice of available “Ladies of Pleasure” or “Ladies of Easy Virtue” for one hour. The city agreed to turn their heads to these nightly “Whore Parties” for a reasonable tax! A wink and a nod condoned and protected prostitution at the Hotel for almost 50 years.

Therefore, Miss Molly and Miss Modena brought the red-light district to Birmingham, Alabama. It was one of the few buildings left standing when Yankee troops pilfered their way through the south. The women that worked in the hotel were not cheap, but to test the virtuous caverns of the sisters’ girls could be costly.

 

©2014.annjohnsonmurphree

Books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann%20johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C392

http://writerannjohnsonmurphree.wordpress.com

 

Libretto…

2.ALO

Libretto

After five poetry books and one of my personal artwork I have begun a new chapter, a new journey into fiction.  With many stacks of drafts it is time to move into another direction of writing.  I hope you all will follow Libretto and thank you for following and for the success of Ann Johnson-Murphree Confessional Writing.  For those of you that have not clicked onto Libretto below you will find an excerpt of one of my stories.

Please visit and follow my new blog Libretto

http://writerannjohnsonmurphree.wordpress.com/

 

Cotton Cover Pic

The following is an excerpt from a short story about a young man from Atlanta. His first job after graduation from high school was with the Greater Atlantic Life Insurance Company. It was 1940 and jobs were scarce the pay poor; he would get to keep one-dollar for every policy he sold. His territory…the Appalachian Mountains. He did not know that the daughter of a potential buyer would be the wildest thing he would ever encounter in his life.  It is a work of fiction based on real people and circumstances.

 Cotton

Andrew Pritchett walked two miles to reach the run-down shacks in the Tennessee foothills that edged the Georgia state line; he sold burial insurance. He knocked hard on the rough pine boards of the door, scrapped his knuckles, wiped the blood on his pants leg, stepped back and looked at the rotting porch, barrels for sitting, a can for tobacco spitting and a mangy dog swarmed by tiny black flies.  Suddenly a gigantic body filled the opening of the doorway. Moody Cahill wiped his mouth; relocated tobacco scum to the front of his patched overalls and returned his hand to the barrel of a shotgun.

Mr. Cahill,” Andrew stuck out a trembling hand as he choked back the smell and disgust at the sight of the man he       desperately wanted to sell something.

Yep

Your neighbor down the hill, a Mr. Ragsdale said that you might be interested in some burial insurance.”

“Nope”

Andrew’s eye twitched, the lazy one when he was nervous, he sat the worn leather valise down on the porch; it held his entire life, insurance applications, rate book and envelopes to mail the company their money. Underneath all that was an extra pair of socks, underwear, a straight edge razor and a worn out towel; all he possessed beside his old truck.

Folks in these parts have been buying up these burial policies pretty good, they come in handy if needed”.

Uneasy he took out a handkerchief wiping sweat off his neck. When he looked back at Mr. Moody a young girl with thread bear clothes and a sweet gum twig hanging through a gap in her teeth was leaning on the doorframe. She smiled at Andrew just before the elder man pushed her back into the rundown shack they called home.

 “You married young man”.

No Sir.”

      “Cotton get on back out here and introduce yourself properly to this young man, he aren’t married.”

 

Working draft: ©2014annjohnsonmurphree

 

 

 

Ann Johnson-Murphree

Open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter of your life.

In the last posting I wrote that “A Sachet of Poetry – Adoration – Aspirations – Asylums” would be the final book of poetry that I would publish and this will be the last entry on this site. It was created to give exposure to the poetry that I have written during the past four years trying to understand a great loss. Much of my poetry received worthy comments by many of you and that encouragement led to their being published.

All of the poems were created from tiny fabrics of my life. They characterized the thoughts of innocence sold into a false world of adoration. Living in silence, and believing that God did not keep this innocence from living within an earthly hell. In our youth we believe that death will be a long way off and life was only in the now.

How would one ever know that ahead lay sacrifice, pain and suffering? Life should be fruitful; the human life produces scenes of public, private distress and anger springs forth with hate and blood. Mortally leading to the mysterious world of knowing the fist is not love, it is the slaughter of innocence.

Innocence institutionalized because of spousal disobedience, failing to comply with and act upon the orders of a controller… the answer asylum. Reality embedded within the soul of innocence, no future, no meaning to life. Innocence in truth wants and dreams of death; these are the true aspirations of the abused.

I published the Ann Johnson-Murphree Poetry Books – the Collections of Exposé Poetry as coffee table books. Within each book the reader will find soul poetry. The poems are filled with thoughts and hopefully inspiring and reassuring words with a factual viewpoint on the many experiences in life. Each poem serves as a prevailing reminder that life is complex.

That happiness is in our hands alone; that the fear of unhappiness is deep-rooted in the spirit and soul. That depression and despair is real and each individual must find the freedom of mind, body and soul to move forward in their life. Each poem has been created from a “patchwork life”.  Complex, stress-filled, finding enlightenment and cultivating wisdom throughout the years. The collection of thoughts that created the poetry hopefully brings the reader along on the multifaceted journey of a lifetime of experiences.

Thank you for your support and I hope you will continue to follow my postings on “Libretto” at:

http://writerannjohnsonmurphree.wordpress.com/

My poetry Books are at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405934856&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

http://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405934856&sr=1-3&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

http://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405934856&sr=1-4&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405934856&sr=1-5&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

http://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405934856&sr=1-6&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

A Sachet of Poetry…

Sachet of Poetry the “final” poetry book to be written by this author on a lifetime of experience growing up in “poor” southern conditions, living with depression and through the loss of two children. The other coffee table books in the collection are Echoing Images from the Soul, Reflection of Poetry, Honeysuckle Memories and Beyond the Voices. There is also a book of artwork, personal therapy created during the year following the loss of her children. These poems a tiny fragments of mind, heart and soul. The author is currently working on an accounting of her young life growing up in Alabama.

A Sachet of Poetry: Adoration Aspirations Anger Asylums

Authored by Ann Johnson-Murphree

Coffee Table Book
List Price: $5.24
8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Black & White on White paper
54 pages
 

A collection of poetry created from tiny fabrics of life. These poems characterize the thoughts of innocence sold into a false world of adoration. Living in silence, God did not keep this innocence from hell, and death would be a long way off and life was between the now and then. Ahead lay sacrifice, pain and suffering. Life should be fruitful; the human life produces scenes of public, private distress and anger springs forth with hate and blood. Mortally led to the mysterious world of knowing the fist is not love, it is the slaughter of innocence…

Purchase this book at:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409872528&sr=8-1&keywords=ann+johnson-Murphree

 

Harvest Moon…

A harvest moon slivers over the tops

of the trees, glows upon the white lilacs

shadowing the wall by the sea. The night

birds call as evening falls.

Boughs of spruce grow green in winters

cold, the willow tree weeps as the earth

becomes old. A moonlit night that will never

die, memories in time watched over by God’s

loving eyes.

Mist across a nearby brook lies low under

dimming stars I see fireflies dancing afar.

Rain seeps into the earth as vines cling to

ghostly streetlights; in the shroud of silence,

my soul takes a heavenly flight. Life and death,

time and lack of memory are all lost on youth,

breath taken away, there will only be truth. I

thought this was a dream with spikes of purple

bloom, pain sharp I ascend from this place of

doom.

 

©.annjohnsonmurphree
http://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409806050&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-Murphree

 

On Making the Poetry Manuscript — New and Improved, Part I

Read, learn and enjoy Jeffrey Levine’s wisdom, a blog worth following…ajm

Jeffrey Levine

sharpenerThis and every Wednesday for the next little while I will be expanding on many of the 27 points covered in my earlier post about making the poetry manuscript. If you’ve not read that original post, it’s called “On Making The Poetry Manuscript” (October 12, 2011) and is available here.

But first . . . many poets have asked me recently about the Tupelo Press Writing Conferences: what sets them apart from other manuscript workshops and writing retreats? What can I expect to come away with?

It’s important to me (and might be to you) to distinguish what Tupelo Press Writing Conferences are about, because great writing is at the heart of any successful publishing career, and because (as you’ll see further on) if you’re to make your manuscript a more successful swimmer in a sea of manuscripts, there are things you need to know.

So, here are a…

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