Feb. 28th, 2010

Daily life: Research, research, research - Part 1

"Any assumption that gay men will write with most authority about gayness is immediately challenged by inescapable evidence - by the success, for instance, of E. M. Forster's women - and by the common-sense observation that the essence of imagination is its ability to enter into experiences beyond the writer's own. This being so, there seems no reason why the converse case, of a heterosexual writing about gay characters, should excite even the mildest surprise."

--Neil Powell in the 15 September 1995 issue of The Times Literary Supplement.

Background to my entries )
Simplicity and Writing: Starting afresh (Prison City research) )
Home: Snow in Maryland (now) and in Britain (in 1982) and Somerset village life )
Writing: New thoughts on e-book publishing )
Writing: Evidence that the publishing world has changed )
Simplicity: How the new 'Don't seek new stuff, don't add new stuff' regime is going )
Writing: C. J. Cherryh and my stuck Muse )
Writing: I get the go-ahead at Smashwords )
Writing: Football fever (Prison City writing) )
Writing: Working out my schedule for the next few months (including Prison City research and Life Prison research); plus, my additional thoughts on the omnibus e-books )
Simplicity: How the new 'Don't seek new stuff, don't add new stuff' regime is going (second update) )

Daily life: Research, research, research - Part 2

Writing: So this is how historical research works (Prison City research) )
Writing: Finished 'Unmarked' (Prison City writing and research) )
Writing: Nearly fruitless day (Life Prison research and Prison City research) )
Writing: Lions and tigers and maps, oh my (Prison City research) )
Writing: Boarding school fiction (Prison City research); plus, Rosemary Sutcliff )
Writing: Fact and fiction )
Writing: A reason to love schoolboy fiction: Great first lines (Prison City research) )
Writing and Home: More of the Lawrenceville stories (Prison City research); plus, snow in our yard )
Writing and Home: Meme: What do you have on (or under) your desk right now? )
Writing: Update on the steamboat/lighthouse scenes (Prison City research) )
Writing: I think I've found the Eternal Dungeon (Eternal Dungeon research) )
Writing: Figuring out how Greenbelt Lake connects in with the Chesapeake (Prison City research) )
Writing and Simplicity: Wordage, schedule, and the Internet )
Writing: I think I've found Compassion Prison too (Life Prison research) )

Sep. 18th, 2009

Writing life: Prison City research trip to Rock Hall and Dorchester County

On September 11, Doug and I visited Rock Hall in Kent County, just north of Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It's an old watermen's community, and though the watermen have nearly been squeezed out, there are a couple of museums there that have watermen's devices. Then, two days later, we took a return trip to Dorchester County - in particular, to Hoopers Island.

Rock Hall )
Interlude in Lewes, Delaware )
Hoopers Island )
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge )

I'd love to go back to Hoopers Island in late October, which is when my character walks across the upper island - I'd like to know what wildlife is out, and how much bird noise occurs then. (Dorchester County is part of the Atlantic Flyway for migrating birds.) But that would be pressing Doug's patience, so I'm going to have to use my imagination to fill in the gaps.

Now I just have to convince him to take that much-delayed trip to Southern Maryland. "We just got back from Hoopers Island!" he said when I tentatively pointed out on Wednesday that I had only ten days left before the research portion of my year ended.

May. 21st, 2009

Daily life: Prison City research trip to Delmarva

"On the first Saturday of November the skipjacks of Tilghman Island were dressed for a ritual. The ritual was the Chesapeake Bay Appreciation Day skipjack race, which marked the beginning of the oystering season. This was to be my first season dredging oysters aboard a skipjack. . . .

"By 10:30 A.M. seventeen working skipjacks had gathered off the beach at Sandy Point. The Bay rippled with a light southwest breeze, and [Captain] Bart sent [his first mate] Bobby into the push boat to shut off the Cadillac. The skipper paid out the main sheet, motioned for me to take the wheel, and let Ruby Ford sail with the wind abeam. I turned the wheel tentatively to starboard what seemed two or three full turns, but the skipjack held her heading and drifted in the current with 1200 square feet of sails fluttering overhead.

"'Honey, come over[.]' Bart's right arm waved to starboard.

"Slowly his message sunk in: 'Turn the wheel, stupid.' I did."

--Randall S. Peffer: Watermen.


About the trip )
Talbot County, Maryland )
Lewes, Delaware )
Dorchester County, Maryland )
Your turn now )

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