Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #3

Hello Lovely Readers,

Frequently how my writing looked
I just wanted to let you know I did not get to 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am okay with that. Before I started this challenge I read some bloggers about how they survived NaNoWriMo and it seemed to me they had no social life and were hanging on to sanity by a thread (okay I might be exaggerating) but I didn't want that to be me so I told myself "what ever I get done, I get done." I said this because I just wanted to focus on my writing this month and it was my first time doing this challenge. Also I still wanted to keep a life...though I'm sure my roommate felt a bit neglected sometimes (sorry).

For this month I set myself little goals, one to type up whatever I have already written out and two to work through some scenes that I was struggling with. I am happy to say I accomplished those goals.

Working through some scenes was hard because I felt mentally blocked and sometimes I would have to tear pages out of my notebook and try again. My mom once told me "crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think I went crazy sometimes because I would try over and over rewriting and reworking scenes and even though the words were the same I expected the outcome to be different. I might be a naive writer but I think as a writer you have to do this.

The following scene (set in 1915 between Mattie and Kelby) I think took me five tries to write out before I felt the flow fit into my story:

"Why do men think they can only prove their worth by fighting. I do not think there is a woman alive who thinks in such a way."
"It is is is in our blood, it comes from being cavemen and hunters and gatherers, always fighting to protect our loved ones and resources,"
"Do you really think this war is about resources?"
"No but it is to protect the ones we love," he discreetly rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand.
"You are not going to go are you?"
"Not yet," he pulled back at truth of that statement. He didn't want to go, first he couldn't leave his mother alone with Shane already fighting and second he had no interest in killing men when he was more interested in healing them. However, he knew if war went on much longer he might be recruited, he was of age and in good health.

"Promise me Kelby, promise me you won't go until its absolutely necessary." Mattie had just read Marcus was going to training camp to lose Kelby would be to much.
 "Absolutely necessary, I promise," he took her hand in hers and kissed the inside palm.

"Please Lord don't take him from me as well." Mattie looked into Kelby's eyes and she saw them living a long life together, but maybe that is just what she had wanted to see.

"Now it is a beautiful day, the first in a long while let us not waste it by worrying about a future we cannot know. Do you care for a ride? We can get a nice long one in before sunset, besides we must keep these horses in full form in case they are called for active duty." Kelby tried to make light of the situation but anyone who truly knew him know how it had tore his hear to lose a horse. Last month the army came for Clemson, a horse he had raised since a colt, and that had left Kelby a bit distraught.

Mattie eagerly agreed to the ride, she couldn't remember the last she had been on a horse. The country had been at war for eight months and while the paper was full of half truths and inaccurate numbers, the truth from the front lines were slowly being felt. Everyday they were told they had to make sacrifices for some that meant sugar and for others that meant sons. Any moment that felt similar to the past was a glorious feeling. The sun was so bright and welcoming, it warmed her cheeks and brightened her spirits. She was happy to put away any thoughts of Shane at the front, soon Marcus going to war, and she wanted to believe Kelby would never join them. The felicity of the ride and the beauty of the day made it hard to imagine men were being killed by the hundred in an area of Ypres, not more than six hundred kilometers away.

No one between Cranston and Southerton could imagine the horrors that the Germans were releasing on allied men. The men were praying that their day of battle would soon be over with the setting sun only had new weapon to face. A poison gas floated through the air over no mans land sinking into the trenches that were suppose to protect them from bullets and artillery was now the death of them. The pale yellow toxin burned their eyes, stung their throats, and left them suffocating for air. If they lived through that they suffered severe headaches and feeling lightheaded making them seek comfort on the ground only to breath in more gas. The men who could breath at all was jerky and shallow at best and they would climb out of the trenches against orders but in instinct to survive only to be gunned down by awaiting machine guns. "Its a death trap!" the men yelled as they retreated to a better spot. 
{Poisonous Gas}
I know this scene will need to be edited more but I was so proud of myself for writing a battle scene especially since I have not been battle or in a trench.

So while I did not get to 50,000 words... my last word count was just over 35,000 words I am proud of myself so spending so much time and energy on my story. The work I did makes me feel invigorated to keep going instead of being burned out (as I got the impression from the bloggers). As much I want to keep writing and I spent so much time working away that I didn't give myself much reading time so I for December I now want to find a better balance. AH! it is December! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

My weekend loves

Found at Pinterest

Found at Pineterest
Found at Pinterest

Found at Pinterest
Okay you might looking at these photos thinking what Psych, Downton Abbey, Panda Express, and books have in common... well they have me and my weekend.

This weekend was not all that exciting but I thought I would share my weekend loves as a way to start off the week.

My weekend started much too early on a Saturday morning to be in Somerville (about a 30 minute commute via bus and T) to be at my church's new site by 9:15 in the morning. Yeah I am not a morning person so it was a little rough. But I got to watch some excellent kids play around and that was fun. Kids are very creative and funny about what they think is great. A little girl decided she was going to take a nap and she did this by putting her head in a little mesh box and trying to sleep on the floor. Well the boys thought this was fabulous and continued to climb into boxes and curl up to fit in them. I was thinking how bad my knees would hurt doing this. There was also this spiral couch that they looked at as a jungle gym and minus a few incidents was really fun for them to be all over. Then sadly my time of play was over and I had to do a few hours of work for my company to prepare for billing... but I got to go to work in jeans and that felt a little rebellious.

I got home at 5 and crashed and took a great hour nap. Then I got up and watched a few episodes of Psych. If you haven't watched a great comedy crime solving show and not at all graphic like CSI or Law and Order. There are moments when I grab my pillow worried if Shawn and Gus will survive (of course they will they are the stars and producers of the show) and then the next minute burst out laughing. There is also the under tone love interest of Shawn and Juliet (which is another grabbing the pillow moment). But it is basically a fabulous show about a fake psychic detective and how he solves crime.

Also I discover Downton Abbey... I know, I know I am a little slow to the greatness of it. But a lot of my blogs talk about it so while I was looking around Hulu for something to watch I looked to see if they had Downton Abbey no but does so on Saturday night to relax I watched Downton Abbey. Yeah not a relaxing show. A great show set in 1912-1913 but not relaxing it was sheer will power to turn off my computer and go to bed. I say it is not relaxing because now I am captivated by it and I am left wanting to know more. My roommate asked me what I was watching because I was squealing and laughing and watching it on my computer as I brushed my teeth. Yeah! Go Wireless Internet! Yeah I basically got addicted and as a treat to myself on Sunday night after finishing my homework I watched Episode 2 and 3. I really should not watch intense shows before bed. But I just get swept up... the plot is so interknit with both the stories of the upstairs lives and the downstairs lives. I told my roommate it is like Godsford Park but on steroids (minus the murder). Even though I think Lady Mary can be cruel I want her to be happy with Mr. Crawley (if you know what happens please don't tell me).

So now my parents are probably wondering did I do my homework yes I did. I did a bit of it on Friday night and mostly on Sunday but before I go to that I will talk real shortly on my procrastination tool of  yummy and cheap Chinese food. After church I tried to get friends to go out to lunch but every one had plans poo :( minus a guy from my bible study so we grabbed lunch together and that was nice to learn a little bit more about him. To digress further away from homework talk I find it interesting how many layers people have (maybe Shrek is right we are like onions). I mean before that lunch I knew he worked in computer science industry and was from Atlanta but I learned he also plays the piano, and was home schooled. While I told him, yes I love history but I have thought about going to culinary school and learning how to make those fancy desserts (after grad school) and more for a hobby then professional aspirations. But I so want to learn how to make eclairs. What I am getting at is that people are more than they appear so have some cheap Chinese food and a good conversation.

Now I have procrastinated long enough and I had to do homework. Fortunately part of my homework was really fun. In my cataloging class we have to make rules for a made up collection. Mine is on 19th Century Women's Literature. And I want to organize it based on date published date from 1800-1899. I know as a historian I think it would be cool to have books in chronological order. So we have to take five (example) objects (books in my case) and write a rule of how they should be cataloged in collection but we have to pretend that collection could have 1,000+ objects. This is really fun for me and I came home from the library with Charlotte and Emily Bronte, George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskel under my arm. Now I have the fun job of writing my cataloging rules for my project this semester.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From the Desk of A Wanna-be Historian

Hello Readers,

I am writing from my desk after just finishing scholarly articles for my Historical Methods class. A class that is laid out by the syllabus that "will explore various different models and methods for researching, analyzing and presenting history in both academic and popular forms (including films, journalism, internet sites, and museum exhibits)." Like most history classes we begin the class by discussing what history is. As it can be confusing... the word history is used in two ways 1) the events of the past (a very simple definition) and 2) the writing and interpretations of the past. It can also be confusing because as Carl Becker "Everyman His Own Historian" wrote that every thing we do is in the past. So what makes the past? What makes it history? Becker breaks the simple definition of "History is the memory of things said and done." Memory is a fickle thing to pass history on. As we all know one event could happen in our lives and can be perceived in many different ways. Also events can be forgotten unless written down right down, and it is said victors write the history. In our first class we read quotes that my professor collected quotes and one was by Winston Churchill "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." So even if things are written down right in the moment of happening they can still be written down wrong because let's face it we are all bias. 

But we can not just let history be facts "left to themselves, the facts do not speak; left themselves they do not exist, no really; since for all practical purposes there is no fact until some one affirms it" (Becker). He later writes "the history that lies inert in unread books does no work in the world. The history that does work in the world, the history that influence the course of history is living history, that pattern of remembered events, whether true or false that enlarges and enriches the collective specious of, present of Mr. Everyman." There are certain things in the world and in our lives that can not be forgotten. Alexis de Tocqueville (a French political thinker and historian) best known for writing Democracy in America  first published in 1835 and then another volume in 1840 (a source used by many historians to get in the mindsets of early 19th century Americans) writes about the American Individualism. He criticizes Americans that our individualism makes "every man forget his ancestors" he writes that American's seek out newness and he says that each generation is a new people. This is why we can not purely allow on memory as a source of history. This view of Tocqueville is written in David W. Blight's article "'For Something beyond the Battlefield': Fredrick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War." In Fredrick Douglass' lifetime he faced the problem that people were forgetting the Civil War and the reasons behind the war so the last part of his life was spent keeping alive the Civil War. For me a twenty-first century girl it seems hard to realize that people would forget something like the Civil War especially because when ever I go to the American History section of a book store rows and rows of books are dedicated to the Civil War. But maybe Fredrich Nietzsche is right in his suggestion happiness often requires a degree of forgetting the past (Blight). And after tragic events we have to move on, we are every day faced with an ever-changing present and that requires us to forget, maybe "to forget" is not the right word but "to shuffle away" things in order to move one. Douglass and Tocqueville both seem to agree that "As a people, Americans had always tend to reject the past and embraces newness." 

Is that true? I know most of us always want the newest gadgets, the newest thing in technology but have we have embraced the newness so much that we forget the past. For some things it is true. My post below (click here) is a collage of pictures from when I was younger...I posted them on my Facebook and my mom told me what was going on in them. I know for children we forget things before the age of five, it seems normal so I guess that is part of my forgotten past. But more historically I think it is true, we (every day people) can't remember every detail of the past that's why we have historians. But even still history is full of gaps. And I know as a wanna-be historian when studying history we look at history through our own lenses and that sadly blocks history from being told as well. Plus I know when I told people I was majoring in American History, and now going for my master's in History I know people look at me oddly because they think of history as a bunch of dates, dead people and every separate from them.So I think people have pushed the past behind them because it seems boring and not worth their time but I like the thought of history being a story of how we got to be where we are today and it leaves me with a sense of wonderment or mystery. Author Sam Wineburg in his article "Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts" quotes historian Richard White "Any good history begins in strangeness. The past should not be comfortable. The past should not be a familiar echo of the present, for if it is familiar why revisit it? The past should be so strange that you wonder how you and people you know and love could come from such a time." I agree with this we should view the history as a strangeness and maybe we won't ever fully understand it but I as a wanna-be historian I look forward to being a sort of detective.   
Clio the Muse of History

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Okay guys I am just amazed by the amount of blogging that happens about fashion history particulary about the 18th century and early 19th century. It seems to range from looking at life in these time periods or actually trying to make clothes from these time periods. I have tried following a lot of them but it is becoming so much and I know there are still uncharted waters. I am not going to follow blogs that talk about how to make fashion, mostly because my interest is in studying how fashion reflected the people's lives.

On the left hand side you can see a lot of the blogs I follow that cover Jane Austen, Gossip in 18th Century, writing blogs and other blogs on fashion. I have also found blogs on gardening, folk art, Christian living, things about London, movies, book reviews.Once again I am amazed about the wide range of blogs and basically if you have an interest there is probably a blog out there for you. And if not make one!

Some of the blogs I love to follow...
Jane Austen Today

by the same author Jane Austen's World

The Duchess of Devonshire Gossip Guide

Two Nerdy History Girls

Living on Literary Lane

Enchanted Serenity of Period Films

Some of these blogs have been essential in helping me set up the tabs on the top.

My hints on finding blogs google (you don't have to use google) search a term you are interested in for example "writing blogs" the find one that looks interesting. Most Blogs list what blogs they follow, look at them to find more blogs on things you like. I have even found a blog on NASCAR through doing this and there are lots of blogs on being a mom. I like doing all this when I am on my coffee breaks or just need a mental break from work and I will admit some times its hard not getting sucked into the virtual world.

Well I hope you enjoy the vast world of blogging.