About two weeks ago I thought it would be fun to be part of the A to Z Blog Challenge where every day you blog about something in alphabetical order. I know that as writers we all have come up with our own schtick to make the challenge entertaining to write and read. The poets might feature poet; the cooks a recipe, the dog people a breed, the botanists a plant, the expats an expression that’s common in the country they’re residing and so on. Currently, I’m revisiting Priscilla Long’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor and in one chapter she discusses creating a lexicon book with words that are obscure and unusual. It’s an interesting exercise and I’m using The Word Lover’s Dictionary, edited by Josefa Heifetz to build my list, specifically geared for Julius. So my first thought was that would be my theme for the challenge.

But then something happened …

Yesterday, after depositing my paycheck, money was burning a hole in my pocket and I went to my local used bookstore, Black Cat Books, to buy a book about Marilyn Monroe (this is will be an upcoming post about this revived interest). I found Eve Arnold’s Marilyn: An Appreciation, which is a series of essays and photos and with that in hand, I was ready to part with my $20 when I happened to walk by the History and Political Science section. Nothing captured my attention in history, but then I found treasure: The Encyclopedia of the American Left. I gasped when I saw the book and when I took it from the shelf, my hands trembled with sheer excitement. When I randomly opened the book, the first page I happened on was about the Hollywood Blacklist. This was serendipitous kismet!  So I paid for Marilyn and my encyclopedia and merrily went home to read both. I have to note that Marilyn has a direct connection with the Left: her marriage to Arthur Miller. Miller had been questioned by HUAC and was petitioning to get his passport so he could travel to Britain with MM to honeymoon, but also to be with her while she filmed with Laurence Olivier A Prince and a Showgirl, and of course, he wrote The Crucible, his interpretation of the McCarthy witch hunts.

So what does this have to do with the blog challenge? C’mon, it’s pretty obvious what I’ll be writing about: the ABCs of the American Left! But here’s the catch. It’s how it all relates to Julius and I’ll still be throwing in my fancy words.

Will I get readers and followers? I hope so, but I really have another my goal in mind and it’s simple: to teach you something new that might inspire you to learn and possibly write about sometime down the road. If I can inspire one person to leave a comment inquiring about Spain, the Rosenbergs, the New Masses or anything that’s related to the Left then I’ll know that I wrote something worthwhile and that will make the whole challenge even more valuable to me.



  • Sounds like a great theme, Rebeca, and I’m looking forward to reading these. My dad was a big admirer of Arthur Miller and had a couple of biographies lying around that eventually landed on my hands 🙂

  • I love the sound of your theme too, Rebeca. It’s going in a completely different direction than mine, which is simple. Maybe too simple. But that’s the kind’ girl I am.

  • This sounds like a fun thing to do. I’m looking forward to reading your posts…and posts of others. Maybe I’ll try a few random letters…or more. I love the idea of a theme…but alas, my theme may just be “random.”

  • Please, Rebeca, write something about Ethel Rosenberg.and/or Emma Goldberg. I would love to read your insights about these two women. And thanks for a great reminder of why I love book stores, libraries, and garage sales. BOOKS!

  • Hi Rebecca.  I wandered over here from the A2Z participant list.  I don’t have a specific question for you, but I’d love to read something about Spain, in particular anything related to the geographical locations along the Camino de Santiago which I am planning to walk later this year.  Perhaps something about Galicia and the Left.   I know that Franco was from Galicia and publicly declared “Generalisimo” in Burgos, but I am not only woefully ignorant of historical geography along the Camino (something that I hope to correct before I go) but also in general about the Spanish Civil War.  Looking forward to reading your entries throughout the challenge.  

    •  @annecamille I just uploaded my A post for today, which has several book recommendations about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, as for the Spanish Civil War, I would take a look at Paul Preston’s book The Spanish Civil War and Hugh Thomas’ The Spanish Civil War. Just keep in mind that this civil war was more complex and there are numerous parties/factions that had makor roles in the war. It’s a head spinner and also one that’s still in the hearts of Spaniards.