What’s Up Wednesday

Ready Set Write

As part of their What’s Up Wednesday feature, Elodie NowodazkijAlison MillerKaty UppermanErin Funk, and Jaime Morrow are hosting a summer-long initiative called Ready. Set. Write! Participants will share weekly, monthly, or overall goals in the “What I’m Writing” section of the weekly posts.

What I’m Writing

I’m now up to about 463,000 words in my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest, and decided to split up the events of what I’d planned as just Chapter 56 into two chapters. Now I’m up to Chapter 57, “The Results of Veroníka and Velira’s Scheme,” which starts in December 1940. Inessa’s daughter and Vitya’s daughter Velira deliberately contracted whooping cough, and infected the other four children, to try to drive her and Vitya closer. The entire family were quarantined for four months. These were the days when everyone recognised these diseases as public health threats. Parents of 1940 didn’t gush about how it’s so awesome to naturally boost the immune system or shrug it off as no big deal if a child can’t breathe for up to a minute, over and over again, for months.

She and Vitya go out for the first time in January 1941, to dinner at an automat and then to see the W.C. Fields classic The Bank Dick. During the movie, Vitya whispers that W.C. Fields seems like a good match for their curmudgeonly old orphanage mother Mrs. Brezhneva. That bit just came to me as I was writing, and it was too good to pass up!

What I’m Reading

I’ve got a few interesting books out of the library now:

Dear Bully:  70 Authors Tell Their Stories, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones. It’s an anthology of YA writers talking about their teen experiences with being bullied, bullying others, and watching bullying. As a survivor of bullying, this topic is of particular interest to me. I only wish there’d been so much public attention paid to bullying when I was in junior high.

The Fifties:  A Women’s Oral History, by Brett Harvey. I read this book way back in community college and wanted to revisit it, both for my own historical research and because I just thought it were time to reread it. These women tell the real story of what it was like to be female in the Fifties, beyond the rosy-coloured myths. I’m so glad I didn’t live during that restrictive decade, which really was an anomaly in history that arose because of the circumstances that came together after WWII.

Generations:  A Century of Women Speak About Their Lives, edited by Myriam Miedzian and Alisa Malinovich. These are interviews with a panoply of American women from every decade of the 20th century, and reflect the changing realities of women’s lives. Thank God I was born in 1979!

The Garden of My Imaan, a MG book by Farhana Zia. It’s about a young Muslim girl, Aliya, and explores her struggle with finding her place in Islam, her community, her school, and the world. I’ve lived among Muslims most of my life, and my family were dear friends with an Iranian family while I was growing up. It always makes me happy to find books depicting these people whom I know and love in a positive light, instead of spewing about hurtful, offensive, slanderous stereotypes.

What Inspires Me

Monday was my 10-year anniversary of the car accident that almost killed me. I’m inspired by how much time has already passed, and by the power of the human body to heal itself when given the chance. I remember being out of my mind with terror because I couldn’t feel my legs, and there was no relief from the intense burning metal on my stomach and abdomen. It’s a miracle I escaped with “only” a severely broken leg, a bunch of bruises, gashes, scrapes, and cuts, burns, and the need for two root canals. Given the nature of the accident, I’m lucky to be alive, or at least could’ve been injured much, much worse.

I’ve had seven surgeries between August 2003-September 2009. The orthopaedic surgeon who did my first three surgeries reminded my parents of a Vulcan, with his totally emotionless state, but on the day of my first surgery, Dr. Vulcan called down from the OR after I’d been put under, furious I hadn’t been operated on asap six days ago. The student doctors at the ER just put a heavy 30-pound cast on my leg and sent me home. They didn’t even treat the burns. That was the only time he ever exhibited any emotions!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Well, we finally have a kitchen to work with, though there are still some things waiting to be koshered, and there are still a few restrictions on what we can and can’t cook or put on the table. At least that’s better than it was last week at this time. Hopefully, everything will be 100% soon.

Since I got my cookbooks out of storage, I’m also seriously thinking again of transitioning to veganism, or at least a stricter form of vegetarianism. I started the transition in 2007, but ultimately lapsed back into eating dairy and fish. My ideal would really be eggs and goat dairy from a small, humane farm I knew I could trust, not store food that probably came from a factory farm. One day I’d really like to finally fulfill my longtime dream of having my own little farm and growing all my own food.


13 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Pingback: Horny Hump Day—Valentina and Rodya « carrieannebrownian

  2. Oh my gosh… ten years… and I bet it still feels like yesterday, doesn’t it??? Something that horrific doesn’t leave the memory. So glad you’re here with us, Carrie-Anne. Just amazing!

    (And love the book update. Keep pushing!)


  3. Yay for kitchen progress! I’ve been thinking of you and hoping you’d be back to cooking again soon! Thanks for mentioning DEAR BULLY. It sounds like a fascinating and important book. Best of luck with your writing this week, Carrie-Anne. Your astronomical word counts always inspire me!


  4. That sounds like it was a pretty bad accident, I’m glad you’re still here to talk about it!
    463000, that is a lot of words! Congratulations on making it so far, and good luck finishing 🙂


  5. There was a point in life when I would have loved to own a little farm– a hobby farm able to provide food. I’ve read a lot of books on this subject and still enjoy the dream. Not sure at this point in my life, I want to make that choice anymore.Hope you can live your dream someday!


  6. I have a college friend who is living off the land (small scale) while raising 4 or 5 kids. The 4 or 5 kids part is what keeps them a little dependent on outside sources, but it’s pretty fascinating to see their chicken coop and garden and how involved the kids are with helping.

    So glad your kitchen is partially workable!


  7. Your word counts always blow me away! And I love reading about all the detailed research you do. That’s so critical to getting things right. I would not do well in the 40s or 50s. I love
    the way those clothes look, but the rights and freedoms would be awful. Have a great writing week– and congrats on being 10 years from that awful accident.


  8. It sounds strange to say “happy anniversary” to what happened, so instead I’ll just celebrate that, yes, the healing power of the body (and mind) is an amazing thing. Glad you made it through and are thriving!

    The Fifties and Generations sound excellent – I’m going to add them to my TBR-list and also recom to a friend I think will enjoy.

    That same friend is actually a vegan. She has been for years and loves it. I, on the other hand, am like the unhealthiest eater around. I actually cringe at times as I stuff my face with snacks. I never outgrew my teen eating habits!


  9. That Dear Bully book sounds like an important read. I agree: I wish there had been more exposure and focus placed on anti-bullying strategies when I was younger, too. I really hope things start to turn a corner on the bullying front. Hope you have another great week of writing!


  10. I’m so glad your okay now, the human body is amazing. I love your story about your Vulcan doctor, clearly he was a true healer under that emotionless exterior 🙂

    Wow your word count is SO impressive! I hope you get lots more done this week. I love that time period it must be such fun to research.


  11. What a terrifying experience, not to mention drawn out with all the surgeries. Glad you came through it all right!

    We’ve considered growing some of our own food too. We have a large backyard and have toyed for a long time with putting in a big garden. It’s a lot of work though, so I want to make sure we’re committed before going to the trouble of digging everything up. I hope you get to realize the dream of your own farm someday!

    Good luck with your writing this week!


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