What’s Up Wednesday

WUW Winter

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly hop/meme with four simple headings. Anyone can write a post and add the link to Jaime’s blog.

What I’m Writing

I’m past the 567,000-word mark in my WIP, Chapter 73, “Inga in America,” August 1942. Inga is the previously unknown daughter of Lyuba’s cousin Ginny, conceived when Ginny’s sweetheart Georgiya came to America for Lyuba and Ivan’s wedding in September 1923. She’s met Yuriy, her future husband, and Ginny and his parents. Yuriy comes to her rescue after she trips and skins her knee very badly.

I remember Yuriy when he was a baby and sweet little boy; it’s strange to now write him as a 23-year-old man. To his credit, he tells his grandmother (who runs a boarding house in the heavily Russian neighbourhood of Hamilton Heights) that Inga is too young for him at barely 18. They’ll be penpals while he’s deployed as a medic with the Canadian Army, but he won’t tell her how he really feels for about five more years. Yuriy has also long felt that girls don’t like redhaired men.

I loved researching Chapter 72, “Shelter in Shanghai,” almost as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now I want to visit Vladivostok and the former French Concession for firsthand research for the second draft! Given my interest in the macabre, depressing side of history, I included an elderly maid with bound feet, Qing-Shui, as a minor character. She shows Inga her grotesque trotters and lets her take five pairs of her lotus shoes to America with her, to remember her by. Seriously, once you’ve seen pictures of lotus feet and read about the footbinding process, you’ll be forever grateful for your normal-sized feet and not having been born a Han Chinese woman in the premodern era!

What I’m Reading

I mostly spent the last week doing research for the most recent chapters of my WIP.

What Inspires Me

I recently discovered and subscribed to a YouTube channel of a person who keeps mice, with a lot of really cute videos. I think mice are really cute and sweet, though I don’t know if I’d be emotionally strong enough to raise them, since they have such short lives and I’d get so attached. One of the characters in my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees (second in my queue) is a little fancy mouse named Nessa. She’s going to have babies later on, and in the book following the characters who settle in America, one of the couples will start a mousery and rabbitry.

I’ve always felt animals have souls and feel emotions, having been created in the image of God just as much as humans, but these particular videos make that so clear. Even the smallest creatures can feel love and empathy. Obviously some animals, like snakes, won’t have as much emotional capacity or brainpower as mammals or marsupials, but they still have souls and feel basic emotions.

I also love the videos showing the mouser (sorry, not sure if it’s a man or a woman) hand-raising pinkies, babies without hair. Some of the pinkies came from the pet store and were saved from becoming snake food. It must be so humbling to hold a squirming pinky in your hand and realise you’re holding a tiny life in your hands, whose very survival depends upon you. As much as I love snakes, I love mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs more, so I couldn’t own a snake (as well as being too squeamish to keep dead bodies in the freezer and then see and handle them when it’s feeding time).

What Else I’m Up To

I’ve been studying the GRE math with my dad, and still keeping to my renewed habit of daily journaling. I was out of the habit for a few years, and kept lapsing after short periods of being back in the groove. During the nightmare with my special snowflake, woo-crazy ex-roommate in the fall, I turned to the journal again and haven’t stopped.

I finally gave her a name, Khanada (Ka-NAY-da). From my third journal on, I’ve always named my journals for songs. I just felt really drawn to that name in the end, far more than other names on my list, like Suzanne, Magnolia, Mary, and Marlene. For anyone who cares, “Khanada” was the B-side of “Careless Memories” and released in 1981.

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14 comments on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. I think animals have souls, too. Guinea pigs are my favorite kind of rodent. They’re so cute and chubby and friendly!

    Good luck with your writing, revising, and journaling!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  2. Couldn’t watch much of that first video. It’s so hard to say goodbye to an animal friend.

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  3. Kate Scott says:

    It sounds like you are really making progress on your story. I’ve never been consistent about journaling, but I know a lot of authors find it’s a good way to help focus their thoughts. It must be working for you. I hope you have a wonderful week!

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  4. katyupperman says:

    I must admit… I could not watch the mouse videos. The little guys give me the heebie-jeebies. That said, I do agree with what you said about animals having souls and feeling emotions. Our dog and cat have very distinct personalities and interesting ways to show how they love us. Best of luck with your WiP progress, and have a great week, Carrie-Anne!

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  5. Oh geesh, I had to scroll that mouse stuff really fast. Not a fan of creepy crawly. Good luck with all the writing!

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  6. Miss Cole says:

    Mice are so cuuuuute! I know what you mean about their short lives though. I had hamsters as a child and, yeah, it was all pretty tragic in the end.

    As always, my jaw has hit the ground at your wordcout and yet you also find time to journal daily? *Wow*!

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  7. Erin L. Funk says:

    Yuriy should know that girls do like red-haired guys–at least this one does lol! My hubby is a redhead (or was before he shaved it off), so I’m partial. I also might be biased since I’m a redhead myself.

    I like mice too. I think they’re adorable. And while I don’t mind snakes (I prefer more cuddly pets though) I’m with you on not wanting to feed them mice and other little critters.

    Best of luck in your writing this week!

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  8. One of my friends loves mice and she has lost a lot of her sweet, little pets over the years due to their short life spans.

    That’s awesome being able to write characters through the years like you’re doing.

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  9. Jaime Morrow says:

    I honestly think that research is one of the most fun parts of the writing process. I have to be very careful of not falling down the multitude of rabbit holes that present themselves while I’m researching one single thing lol. Good luck with your writing this week!

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  10. jamieayres says:

    I’m convinced we’ll be reunited with our pets in heaven 🙂 Always fun to see what you’re up to!

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  11. Rachael says:

    Research for a WIP is always an interesting experience. I love rodents. I’ve never kept mice, but I have kept hamsters and guinea pigs. I’m with you on snakes. I’ve always wanted one but if I ever get one it’s going to have to be a small one that eats crickets. I don’t know that I could handle feeding a snake anything furry.

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  12. Kim Graff says:

    567,000-word mark in my WIP? Wow.

    Good luck with your GRE! I hate standardized test.

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  13. Amy says:

    I love doing research. Sometimes I think I have a problem when I do so much research that I have a hard time starting to write. I need to give myself a timeline for research and sticking with that. Good luck with the GRE. Have a great weekend!

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