So, most of the journalists who worked in Chongqing during the war lived in the city's government-run "Press Hostel." When I was in Chongqing this spring I spent a great deal of time looking for the site of the hostel, and for years I have been researching everything I can about the place as I work on my book. Only just now -- as I make the last revisions on my book about Melville and Annalee Jacoby, who lived in the hostel -- did I think to type "Press Hotel" into google instead of “Press Hostel.” Oy...
Yesterday, you may have read my post about the costs and toll book-related research takes. If you haven't yet, please do, and if you like it, or me, or the project I'm working on please click the contribution button and share a few dollars with me.
But today, when I started my research day, I was twice reminded why I can't complain too much. First, the photo above was where I waited for the bus. I'm staying with family up Highway 101 from the UCSD campus. I couldn't even really complain that the bus was significantly late.
Then I ended up here:
By the time I had the confidential State Department documents in my hands, I was five days into my research trip to Washington, D.C., I'd flipped through hundreds, maybe thousands of pages of dusty, sometimes crumbling government documents, private letters from publishing luminaries, and even water-stained diaries from hungry, stranded soldiers unaware of a coming death march through mosquito-infested, sweltering jungles.
Now I need your help to keep looking.
This morning marks one of the most exciting moments for me as I continue to pick up where Mel was silenced. In a few hours I'll be in an apartment in Alhambra, California, meeting with George T.M. Ching, his wife, and their daughter. George was one of Mel's dear friends during his time as an exchange student at Lingnan University. At ninety-seven-years-old, it's uncertain how able George will be to really deeply reflect on Mel's life, but I'm hopeful that just the chance to share some time with someone who Mel cared strongly about, and who cared strongly about him will be valuable.