Lilly Maytree is in Alaska today...

Lilly Maytree is in Alaska, today...looking for adventure and divine appointments. Want to follow along? Enter her ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL


Famous People...

There's a reason I write about famous people. It's because I have walked awhile with them and heard, in their own words, about some of the experiences that shaped their lives. Described so perfectly, that I usually feel as if I had been right there beside them. 

Some of these experiences have tugged at my heart (often moved me to tears), and I've come away having learned something so deeply profound that I wanted to make it a part of my own life. Never wanted to forget it. Most of all, these unique experiences have made me want to be a better person. To maybe do something worthwhile with my own life. At the very least, I have wanted to introduce them to others, so that others might experience these things, too. I didn't care that they were dead (these famous people). It didn't matter to me in the least. 

Because the experiences themselves are not dead. 

One day, a young woman (barely twenty-thee), wanted a job on one of the most prestigious newspapers in New York, so badly that she offered to get herself committed to the most notorious "insane asylum" of her day. In order to "get a look at it from the inside out." This because there had been rumors of the deplorable treatment of patients within those walls that were hidden away on Blackwell's Island, which stood in the East River of New York City. It was said, that even if you were put there by mistake (which an alarming number of people were, especially if they were vagrants), there was no way to get out, again. Oh, and what a sensation of a story that would make for the great newspaper!

The publisher said if she could actually pull it off, she could have that job.

She only required one thing. The famous man must do whatever it took to get her out, again, after two days. Which he promptly promised to do. Except he had no idea when he made that promise, that it was practically impossible to get anyone out of there, no matter how much influence they had in the city. Here, in her own words, is some of what Nellie Bly was feeling on the night she went out to get herself arrested, and subsequently committed...

"I remembered all I had read of the doings of crazy people, how first of all they have staring eyes, and so I opened mine as wide as possible and stared unblinkingly at my own reflection. I assure you the sight was not reassuring, even to myself, especially in the dead of night. I tried to turn the gas[light] up higher in hopes that it would raise my courage.

...when I thought of what was to come, wintery chills ran races up and down my back in very mockery of the perspiration which was slowly but surely taking the curl out of my bangs.

…who could tell but that the strain of playing crazy, and being shut up with a crowd of mad people, might turn my own brain, and I would never get back. But not once did I think of shirking my mission. Calmly, outwardly at least, I went out to my crazy business…"

Well, she barely did get out, and very nearly went mad waiting for that rescue. Because it was a whopping ten days (with no word from the outside) before the publisher finally succeeded in appealing to the highest authorities in order to get her released. But because of her daring mission, Blackwell's Island was exposed, laws for the treatment of the insane were changed, and Nellie Bly rocketed to fame. Which was only the beginning of her many audacious ideas.

To read Nellie Bly's writings is to be influenced all over, again by her daring and her nerve. Under which she had the golden heart of an amazing Christian woman. Which is why I wanted to introduce her to more readers by way of THE PANDORA BOX. Because, you see, I was wondering just what might happen if someone were to try and do such things, today. I might even go so far as to say I am making a small effort to do some of those things, myself. In my own way, of course. Except I found out I'm not half so brave! But more importantly...

I found out that part doesn't really matter.

Have you ever been influenced by a famous person? Tell me about it in the comment section to have your name (and email address) put into the Captain's Hat. The winner of a complimentary ebook copy of THE PANDORA BOX will be drawn out, next week (don't worry, he's very fair, and promises you won't be put on any lists for anything else).


  1. Oh how much I love this post. I'm a huge fan of Nellie's and hope to write a middle grades biography of her one day. Thanks so much for sharing this! I didn't know she was a Christian, though. Fascinating.

    1. What a wonderful subject she would make for an MG book, Karla. Especially because most have stuck to the narrow view of her being such a "female daredevil" and the first woman this, or that, in a predominantly male world.

      In reading her writings, I have been struck most by her compassion, her bravery in putting herself in danger in order to help others, and her amazing philanthropic projects in later life. Not to mention her stint as an inventor. Good subject, indeed!

  2. What a brave young woman she was. We should all be so brave.

    Love this post.

    1. I agree, Sally. It has been somewhat of a shock to me, in trying to be brave, myself, that it is REALLY HARD. Maybe that's why I like to talk so much about people that have actually done it. I absolutely love hero stories!

      (As you know)