In the writing room right now ...
In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Perspective: Now Is Not Then
But at the start of last summer, I toured Boston's Chinatown, courtesy of the Chinese Historical Society of New England, and saw the many businesses that utilized cellar spaces. In fact, there seemed to be a loose arrangement of industrial-type businesses (like a print shop) in the basements, grocery stores and restaurants in first-floor rooms (slightly higher up than sidewalk level), and meeting spaces and residences above those.
Reflecting on this photo reminds me: Don't assume that a basement space meant the same thing to a Chinese immigrant in 1886 that it means to a downtown merchant today.
That's a crucial attitude to keep fresh during historical research and while writing: Now is not the same as then. And that's why the original material -- in this case especially, the writings in the local paper about Mr. Wah and his business, as well as the narratives that today's Chinatown residents share -- are so important.
Posted by Beth Kanell at 5:59 PM