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 Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the Battle of Tarawa for my research for Chapter 79 of my WIP. My library books from last Friday afternoon are Tarawa: The Incredible Story of One of World War II’s Bloodiest Battles, by Robert Sherrod (a reprint of a war correspondent’s 1944 account); The Pacific, by Hugh Ambrose (the official companion book for the HBO miniseries I have yet to see); and The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of World War II, by Thomas Sanders (from the oversized section).

One of the hardest things about reading and watching original source material for my WWII research is seeing and hearing the word “Jap” bandied about so much, and so matter-of-factly. I can only imagine how much more it would rankle if I were Japanese-American. As a proud Slovakian-American, I find the epithet “Hunky” very hurtful and offensive unless used by one of my own, as a positive term of endearment we’ve reappropriated. When my late grandpap was a boy in the 1920s, he used to get called a dumb Hunky and chased by the mean boys from school.

What I’m Writing

I’m approaching the 610,000-word mark on my WIP, slowly writing the Tarawa chapter. Right now I’m just filling in the historical details and timeline, and will later finish it up by adding in more personal scenes and details in between. For now it’s just important to get all the important basics in. I’ll have to do the same for my later chapters about D-Day, the Battle of Saipan, the Battle of the Bulge, and the final push to defeat Germany.

The Marines were so amazing at Tarawa, fighting on in the face of such massive carnage and obstacles planted all around the island. They had to wade ashore in waist-high water, most of them, because they didn’t realise there was a neap tide. Their Higgins boats got stuck on the coral reef. My Rodya and Patya got lucky because I put them in the 2nd Regiment, which escaped most of the bloodiest battles and attacks of the Tarawa campaign. I’m not looking forward to writing the Saipan chapter, when one of them loses his right arm protecting the other one.

What Inspires Me

I had a big scare with my computer on Friday, when it started making a loud, weird noise that sounded like it were about to explode. I took it to the Genius Bar by the Apple Store at the mall, and was told the left-side fan was broken. I got a business card for a local Mac repair shop, but now it seems back to normal. I think it was Hashem’s way of trying to get me to stop using it on Friday nights, when I know I shouldn’t be doing that. I gave my computer some Shabbos rest for the first time in a long time. It might’ve been a wad of dust or something that lodged in the fan, and then corrected itself.

I think I’ll get a timer for a lamp so I can read after I get back from services and dinner on Friday night. There was really no excuse for me to fall into that bad habit if I claim to be serious about wanting to eventually be more observant, be that Conservadox or Liberal Modern Orthodox.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I went back to Arlene’s Artist Materials and got a set of 24 Derwent Inktense Pencils, a set of 24 Portfolio Series Watersoluble Oil Pastels, a set of 10 Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastels, five additional Neocolor wax pastels (royal blue, sapphire blue, azurite blue, Prussian blue, and malachite green), and another graphite pencil, this one exactly mid-range in darkest and firmness. I’ll be set for quite some time with drawing supplies, as these are added to the set of 24 Koh-I-Noor Woodless Coloured Pencils I got last week, and the cheap Rose Art set of 50 art markers and 72 coloured pencils I’ve had for quite some time. Eventually, I’d like to get a Prismacolor set, which is top-notch but very expensive.

It’s really been awhile since I’ve actively been drawing. I’ve drawn some of my characters now and then, but the last time I can remember really drawing was when I made picture books for final projects in two of my education and early childhood classes in 2004 and 2005. Now I really feel like my artistic spark is back, and I can really handle drawing the cover for Little Ragdoll myself. I haven’t taken an art class since I was sixteen, but it’s an interest I’ve always kept up and wish hadn’t been interrupted after my sophomore year.

7 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Laptops potentially breaking down definitely ranks waaay up there on the Most Terrifying Thing To Happen to a Writer list.

    Yikes, losing arms doesn’t sound like fun. Hope the writing goes very smoothly.


  2. Nice to hear your artistic spark is back! I haven’t taken an art class since high school either and it’s something I wish I’d pursued more. Not that I was overly talented or anything, but it would’ve been nice to improve at drawing and painting.

    What a relief that your computer is okay! After dumping tea all over my old computer and watching it fry, I can understand how loud noises would give you quite the scare. Fan issues can be a big deal, so it’s good that you got it sorted out. Have a wonderful week!


  3. Studying historical prejudices and language can be tough. Since I know racial slurs are wrong, obviously, I am not bothered by reading historical accounts of their use…What makes me angry/uncomfortable are people in modern times who still use words like “Jap” or “hunky” casually like there’s nothing wrong with them. I was in the musical ‘Chicago,’ which takes place during the 1920’s. I played the Hungarian woman falsely accused of killing her husband. At one point, her lawyer screams a racial slur at her in frustration…and without fail, there would be THAT ONE GUY in the audience who apparently thought it was hilarious. Almost every freaking night. I just don’t get people sometimes.

    Anyway, it sounds like you are getting to delve into some great history to research your writing. It sounds like you’re enjoying both!


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