Nellie Bly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_Bly was born on May 5th, 1864 so I would have liked to post this blog four days ago which would have been more timely. Anyway, May 5th is Children's Day (traditionally for boys) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Day_%28Japan%29 in Japan, which has nothing to do with this American author who was a journalist and also a world traveler who actually went around the world in seventy-two days, which immediately brings to my mind the French author Jules Verne's book Around the World in Eighty Days, a fascinating adventure story I read as a child. (She did stop in Japan on her way around the world, however, and I would be delighted if it turned out coincidentally to be around May 5th, but probably no such luck.)
Perhaps my semiotic web http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_semiotics in a long-about way identifies this author as being somehow significant and relevant to my life experience. As an infant, I had crossed the Pacific with my family on a Japanese cargo ship (with private cabins for paying passengers) to relocate to Japan, and one of my older sisters had left from Japan eight years later for Europe on a cruise ship stopping in Cambodia (to visit Angkor Wat) and Athens, Greece, on her way to France, and my American dad was a world traveler who had visited and traveled in China, Japan, India, the Middle East (e.g. Lebanon,) Europe and Africa (e.g. Nigeria,) so long-distance travel is something that is close to my heart since childhood marked by family storytelling of exotic travels that nurtured my imagination.
My American-born Nisei mom (who is a Democrat through and through and a firm believer of civil rights) worked as a copy editor for the U.S. military newspaper with a headquarter in Tokyo so that's another connection, through journalism, which makes this female journalist-author interesting to me. Bly seems to have had little experience of Japan except for having stopped there on her way around the world but, later, became a protector of a half-Japanese child born out of wedlock around 1916 in the U.S. to an American mother who gave him up. (It must have been very challenging to be a single mom of a biracial child in the early 20th century; people can be so cruel.)
I'm sure there is a lot to be discovered from reading her book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_the_World_in_Seventy-Two_Days I would have liked to read this book immediately after reading Jules Verne's book. She seems like a good role model for young women in many ways, having feigned insanity to investigate mental institutions and expose the injustices of such institutions, paving the way for investigative journalism. As a foreign correspondent in Mexico, she proved herself an able ethnographer.
I wonder why there is no feature film based on her book about going around the world considering she even met Jules Verne on this daring voyage!
A Celebration of Women Writers http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/