Sunday, September 18, 2011

Here's a sample on how I piece together a scene

It's part notes, part description p,art dialogue, part random thoughts and all mess. This is where writing, writing and rewriting come in.


With each progression say they are going deeper and deeper into the underworld

Sandburg talks to people who tell him various anecdotes about the city

-          foul mouthed kid tells him how he lost money on cubs on the world series. “”Are you a cubs fan?” “No way. Sox.” “Then why did you bet on the Cubs because they should have won.”

-          He meets woman who was at the indian pow wow in 1835 and hears here description of it.

-          He meets professor who tells him about theory of relativity and how it effects time.

-          He meets jim o’leary and Louie Cohn who tell him they were playing cards and started the fire.

-          He meets other people who talk about alternative ways the fire started

Perhaps the kid is selling a competing paper which has a picture of Mrs. O’Leary because it is anniversary. Jim O’Leary says that ain’t my Ma.

Woman in streeterville send them to O’Leary’s

They met at statue shortly after dawn

“all I need is one lucky break…this is my lucky break”

While he’s waiting at statue tell how he discovered to look for a woman named BR. It was from a bricklayer at the new ball park (it wasn’t built until 1914)…edgar lee masters told him to look for sally simpson and the Sandburg handed this info to his contact (hunza) who knew everybody in chicago.

Waiting for his guide at lasalle statue he has discovered that Marshall Field was behind Haymarket bomb.

He has to get this info by sunset. This is his deadline….this is everyones deadline, everyone isconcerned with getting things done by sunset

He followed his journalist’s intuition against his better judgement

Portray sandburg as a country boy who hates the industrialized world, What lassale’s vision has become and only after being shown through the underworld does he appreciate the humanity of it.

Portray Sandburg as a Country boy who is in awe of big city

Hunza is his guide through the underworld. Hunza knows everybody

Hunza is a paid source of info that sandburg has used before

Hunza takes him to streeterville…Big Jim O’Leary’s, Caughlin & kenna’s, Everleigh club???

Hunza keeps humming Row, row, row your boat

THE WORDS OF THE POTOWATTAMI HOBO MUST LINGER W/ SANDBURG THROUGHOUT THE BOOK…perhaps he talks about nanabozho as a hunter of weendigos and this starts a theme throughout the book of viewing the world we created as a weendigo

Portray what breaking this story would mean to him

Perhaps he recalls last indian war dance / curse

He has got to get diary and write story by sunset tonight or else he loses his job.

He is struggling to define chicago in poetry.

He has talked to a number of people and discovered that he is looking for a woman named BR who has her father’s diary. He got this info at Big Jim O’Leary’s.

His guide arrives and takes him to where BR’s cousin is

Sandburg is killed???

O'Leary soon opened another betting parlor on South Halstead Street which he designed to include Turkish baths, a restaurant, billiard room, and a bowling alley, as well as the detailed race track results and other betting information to become one of the countries most prominent resorts by the 1890s.

The room was filled with north side nabobs and Dapper Dans from out of town, nobodies from nowhere who were rally suckers and marks to be fleeced and released by the faro Tigers and the Card Sharps.

Roogues and roustabouts wityh a devil may care attitude “Let the chips fall where they may.”

The gambling hall was filled with well heeled sports and suckers.

Braggarts, schiesters, scam artists, black sheep, muckety mucks and the occassional discount derelict sitting in front of a whiskey glass.

Men whose only hope in life was the eternal dream of getting something for nothing.

The place was a double-crossers paradise where the two faced gods of chance plucked the fattest suckers like grapes from the vine.

O’Leary was a tough man who always fended for himself. He was proud of the fact that he never paid a dime to the police for protection. “”QUOTE” H put his money where his mouth was and Sandburg now stood in front of an enormous iron bound Oak door. With steel plates on the outer walls and inner walls of heavy Oak covered with zinc plates, O’Leary bragged that his resort was fire proof and police proof and by the time Sandburg was standing in front of the dorr it had resisted several attempts by rival “businessmen” to blow it up or burn it down.

Inner walls were lined with red pepper so that anyone trying to break through to secret rooms behind them were blinded.

But, the goon standing between Sandburg and the door was the first obstacle to overcome.

“What’s the passowrd?”

Sandburg held his breath and hoped the phrase given him by xxx was correct.


the bouncer said nothing but looked him steady in the eye. He walked around him looking him over suspiciously and then patted him down for weapons before he rapped a secret code on the door and it opened.

The place was filled with scoundrels and rapscallions of every stripe…

The room was filled with big cigars and brass spitoons…

Somewhere between dry land and water, sitting on the silting sandbars of Lake Michigan, Streeterrville was a netherland of clapboard shacks and unpainted pine shanties. It was a half submerged haven for pickpockets and pox ridden prostitutes, flunkeys, junkies, grifters, drifters and derelicts of all kinds.

From the shadows steps a figure to follow them…

There they found a mournful woman named Morna.

It was a one room shanty with a loft. The woman sat nursing a baby and a black eye at the table besides a small pot bellied stove.

“Sure, Roisin is a dear soul,” she said between tubercular coughs. “It would be destitute I’d be if it weren’t for her and the money she provides”…SHE GOES ON ABOUT WHAT A SAINT SHE IS…”I light a candle for her every Sunday.”

She does all her shopping at Marshall Fields and she buys me such nice things there. Things she doesn’t have to go out of her way to get but she tells me “xxx”. She says that, she does.

You can often find her at the Symphony or the Art Institute. “Culture is not something you can apply like ketchup on a hotdog. yOu must absorb it from the roots of your being.”

Sandburg thought that this Black Roisin must be an amazing woman and looked forward to seeing her with his own eyes. She siezed upon his immagination and would not let go. How could a woman such as this have been, just a few years ago, a whore in a brothel?

“You remember hearing how Prince Henry of Austria was so enamored with one of the women at the Everleigh Club that he drank champagne from her shoe?” Sandburg recalled Masters saying. “That was Black Roisin.”

In his mind Black Roisin the image of Black Roisin slowly gathered with his image of Chicago until they became one and the same. Black Roisin was Chicago and Chicago was Black Roisin.

“She would perform the most depraved acts a man could wish for” Masters said. But this didn’t correspond to the picture of the woman Morna painted: devout, nurturing and, indeed, married. This woman had been married for the past ten years, Sandburg thought, and to a well connected gentleman. How could she possibly have worked at the Everleigh club only a few years ago? It was a mystery. She was a mystery. Black Roisin or The Dark Rosaleen or whatever her real name was.

How was a woman of such quality related to a woman the likes of which sat before him, Sandburg wondered.

How did Black Roisin, who had apperantly come from such a humble, if not criminal, background rise to a position of such quality, sandburg wondered, especially whennone of her family did the same. She must be a woman of considerable talent and ability, he thought.

Sandburg wondered about this woman and longed to ask her all the unformulated questions in his head.


“Are you her sister?” Sandburg asked.

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