Just Another Day


by Kimberly MacCarron

As writers, don’t we love to read interesting stories? Some people wonder where we get our ideas. Sometimes there is a random story or an idea, but other times it could be just a day. Just another day.

Take February 19th for instance. Google it. Research some of the most interesting things that have happened on that date throughout history, and you have yourself a story. During my fun research project, I must admit that I’ve read more than I ever wanted to about cannibalism and murder for hire. But it sure does get your creative juices and just plain curiosity running.

Wouldn’t it be interesting for a character to know some strange and random piece of trivia like the first prize was inserted in a Cracker Jack box on this date back in 1913?

Or maybe one of the 800 people killed by one of the sixty tornadoes in the southern U.S. in 1884 was the great, great grandfather of the character in your book. Or—even better—the reincarnation of one of them.

If you’re into murder and suspense or a legal thriller, you might be interested to know that on this date in 1859 Daniel Sickles was the first man acquitted of a murder charge on the grounds of temporary insanity. And you should definitely check out that story! It seems that scandal in political circles was big back then as well. He killed the son of Francis Scott Key, who was the district attorney of the District of Columbia, and happened to be having a little thing on the side with Sickles’s wife. I guess Sickles didn’t much like that, so he shot Key right in front of the White House. Good times. Good times.

For those with a little thing for a mob story, you might be interested in the demise of Frank “The Dasher” Abbandando at the young age of thirty-two. This contract killer for the infamous Murder Inc., gang was executed at Sing Sing in New York on this date in 1942. Guess Dasher didn’t dash fast enough to avoid the electric chair.

Probably the most disturbing story of this date involved the famous Donner Party. And this wasn’t a party with streamers, balloons or tuxedo-clad men serving champagne. It’s sad. It’s disturbing. It’s tragic as tragic can get. After starting out from Missouri in May of 1846 on their way to California, this group of ninety got trapped in the snow in the Sierra Nevada. After starvation, disease and injury took the life of many in the party, most of the survivors resorted to cannibalism. Only forty-eight survived. The first of the rescuers reached them on this date back in 1847. Yes. You read that right. More than nine months under those awful conditions! While reading this story, I wanted to cry. There was an account of a young girl who actually took part in eating her own mother and sister. This story is a testament of what human beings will endure just to survive.

But on a happy note, how ‘bout that Cracker Jack fact?

I’m not saying that my next YA will be about cannibalism or mob activity or even a plea of temporary insanity, but researching a specific date might just get that creativity flowing.
Happy Birthday to Amy Tan, Victoria Justice, Jeff Kinney, Smokey Robinson, Seal, Jeff Daniels, and Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543)! Come on! I know he’s dead and all, but the guy discovered that the earth is round. We have to include him!

Happy February 19th, and may you all have an endless supply of Cracker Jacks.

Now you pick a random date and research it. It’s fun! I promise!  Report back and tell me one interesting thing.  🙂

10 thoughts on “Just Another Day

  1. Best post EVAH! Loved the facts and the humor and how so much badness happened on one day, the day of your post for this month. Your strategy for the post was cool (and gory, but not your fault, you didn’t know, right?). I loved it, although thoughts of the Donner party will keep me up tonight, but so what? Fun post:)! (and yes, I’ve had too much coffee!). Okay, I picked January 3…and the first three things in Wikipedia?:

    1431 – Joan of Arc is handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon.
    1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine.
    1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

    Every day is a big day in history for someone, right?…

    1. Awesome, Denny! Love when people get in the spirit of things! Never say again that there is a boring day. Throughout history, it was definitely not boring for someone. LOL.
      Cool facts! Love the idea of Leo trying a flying machine. 🙂

  2. Kim, even your “randomness” is awesome! This was a great post. I’m glad you ended on a happy Cracker Jack moment. Being from Southern California, I’ve driven several times through “Donner Pass” and it is a very heartbreaking story.

    My hubby has started sharing stories he reads from this website called The Art of Manliness. Sometimes it’s really random things but even those have started sparking ideas for stories in my head. I actually look forward to the manliness forwards every morning now. Like today’s was about the importance of taking responsibility for our actions. But tomorrow it could be how to grow a really cool mustache.

    Have a great day!!!!! I’m gonna research 11/16.

  3. Carlene,
    I figured you would know about the Donner Party. It is heartbreaking! That’s so cool about your husband and the manliness forwards. Let me know what you find out about November 16th. I’m waiting….
    In the meantime, I’ll open up a box of Cracker Jacks. LOL.

    1. Okee dokee Kim. Here’s my 11/16 report:
      *Both mine and Casey James’ favorite movies released that day in 2012: Breaking Dawn 2 and Silver Linings Playbook
      *It’s also the International Day for Tolerance which I’m totally down with
      *Lastly, Scorpios born on this day understand the spiritual aspects of love and judge with their hearts more than with their minds.
      Yay for 11/16!

  4. Wow, the Donner party story is truly amazing. Who would have thought you would stumble across something so extraordinary just by googling a date? It goes to show that we humans have some amazing stories within our ordinary lives. This is such a cute idea for a post, Kim! Have a great day!

  5. Darlings, my dark and twisty Cracker Jack fact is that I wasn’t allowed to have them EVER, because there wasn’t enough money for all four of us and the parental units didn’t want a fight over one measly prize. But when CrunchnMunch came out we were in heaven. No prize, and enough junk food for all! Other dark n twisty factoids: I have the same birthday as Dr. Seuss. And Texas independence from Mexico. Guess which one I share more often?

    Here’s to the Donner party! As I have said before, any vegetarian will eat a steak if food is scarce enough.

  6. You know, I often research “this date in history” for a feature I do on my work Facebook page. Sometimes I get sooo sucked into my findings that I forget to actually post something. Oh well! 😉

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