What I’m Reading
Back to Herman Wouk’s epic The Winds of War. This is the kind of historical novel I’m used to reading and thus patterned my own writing on—ensemble casts, third-person omniscient, more about the journey through historical events than fast-paced and plot-centric, hundreds and hundreds of pages. Now a lot of people think those literary devices are “evidence” of unfocused, amateurish, bad writing, or at the very least too old-fashioned for the modern era and its short attention spans.
What I’m Writing
Up to Chapter 82 and almost 630,000 words in my WIP. I kind of knew Chapter 82 would be one of the longest of Part III. With less than twenty chapters plus the Epilogue to go, I’m guesstimating I’ll come in a bit above 700,000 words. It’s just the length which naturally evolved for this book, and luckily each Part reads so much like its own story it could easily be published in four volumes without a break in continuity.
I really got emotional while writing Patya’s post-amputation scenes, particularly when he arrives at the veterans’ hospital and five days later sees his wife for the first time in two and a half years. His heart is breaking when he tries to tell her to leave him and find an able-bodied man. It pains him even more when Vladlena returns with their four-year-old daughter Karina the next day, and he has to rebuff his own child. He really feels they’ll be better-off without him.
With some help from Father Spiridon’s granddaughter Violetta, who had polio two years ago and also lost the use of her right arm (though she still physically has it), he’s going to realise how foolish, short-sighted, and cruel he’s been. After Vladlena will send him a pair of dress blues for his 29th birthday, he’ll check out of the hospital, come home, and beg forgiveness. (Marines who enlisted during WWII were not issued dress blues due to wartime restrictions, and had to buy their own if the need or want ever arose.)
What Inspires Me
I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m really inspired by the historical research I’ve done on the Marines during WWII. Thank you again to the United States Marine Corps for having such wonderful, detailed historical monographs available for free online, and to WW2 Gyrene. Probably over half of all my research came from those two sources. It might come as a surprise if you know I’m a pacifist (but NOT anti-military or against morally justified wars like WWII). I personally could never take on a combatant role, but I have the utmost respect for those who can.
Also, this video. Though it’s about art, the quotes and comments could easily be applied to the writing world.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I was invited to be on The Colin McEnroe Show on Wednesday afternoon, for a show about middle names and initials. One of the producers read my post about middle names on my onomastics blog, and thought I might make a good other guest. We’ll see what happens.
I also got a lovely new bathing suit, a swim dress actually. I personally am not so modest I feel uncomfortable showing my arms and legs by the pool, but I really feel uncomfortable with the crotch outlined and on display. Having even a short skirt covering that makes me feel more protected and modest. Ten years ago I would’ve been mortified at buying anything in a size 18, but now it’s just matter-of-fact, who I am. I’m sure most people would never even guess my size, due to the way my weight is distributed.