We haven't gone on a weekend trip in over a year, due to the pandemic. This weekend presented us with an opportunity to take a well needed weekend getaway. On May 14th, the American Writers Museum in Chicago, Illinois had their soft re-opening with a Ray Bradbury exhibit. Valerie and I had to plans to speak of so drove down Friday night so we make the opening time of 10 a.m. The museum is located at 180 North Michigan Avenue ( a couple of blocks from The Art Institute Museum) on the second floor.
Once in I immediately felt a sense of awe. Maybe it's something that religious people sometimes feel in church. I felt that I had entered a place of deities of American literature. They were all there, all in one place. Hemingway, Hansberry, Poe, Chandler, Wright, and Baldwin. I knew immediately that I would have to come back again in order to take it all in. It is not something that one can do all in one visit. I felt renewed and recharged. I felt an inspiration to write and definitely a push to read more.
And there are typewriters. Ray Bradbury's Royal was part of the Bradbury exhibit, but just beyond that was a long table where 6 typewriters sat for public use. Stacks of American Writers Museum letterhead were there to that attendees could leave a note or a poem or a memory.
I left a quickly improvised poem for them
There are many interactive displays within the museum. As I said before, I have to go back very soon. I have not felt that inspired to create in a long time.
And on the way out, I saw an old friend and influence
Go for the Ray Bradbury exhibit, stay longer for everyone else!
I am fascinated by the origins of words or phrases we use or hear in every day life but take for granted. I hope to post more writing in the future. I am also open to suggestions! The word, being that it is May 1st is Mayday, but the distress call, not the holiday (aka Beltane).
Anyone who has watched older WWII related movies has heard Mayday! being used when there is trouble. It is used primarily with aviators and mariners, but in some cases firefighters and police use it. Conventionally, the word is repeated three times when an emergency occurs. The repetition is to prevent it being mistaken from similar sounding phrases and to distinguish it from an actual distress call (as opposed to someone referring to a mayday call)
The term "mayday" was conceived as a distress call in the early 1920s by Frederick Stanley Mockford, officer-in-charge of radio at Croydon Airport, London. Most of the air traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris. Mockford proposed the term "mayday," which is the phonetic equivalent of the French m'aidez ("help me") or m'aider (a shortened form of venez m'aider "come and help me").
The procedure word was officially adopted by the International Radiotelegraph Convention of Washington as a distress call. The previous distress call "SOS" was derived from Morse Code, but was unsuitable for radio or telephone calls due the the difficulty of distinguishing the "S" in voice communication at the time.