Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taking a break for a week

I'm not writing anything for a week, and not doing any concentrated research, either. I'm hoping to come at the different chapter files with fresh eyes after that time. Meanwhile, I'm slowly going through my big To Do file, it's rather enjoyable to see if I can find something new in there.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Frozen In - 1929 Bering Strait


Olaf Swenson's boat, the Nanuk, was frozen in Bering Strait in 1929.

The Altar of my Discontent


Took me only about 8 hours, and everything is in order. Thank you to the following people for their encouragement:
Nellie H. (writer, researcher, translator)
Ted E. (writer, poet, traveller)
Jenny B. (researcher, mother, writer)
Leslie H. (researcher, writer, correspondent)
My "To Do" file isn't as bad as I thought, and there are lots of fun and interesting leads to follow in there.

The Dread Filing

The big mound of papers that was on the floor of my office? No more! The papers have all been filed into their respective Chapter Files. The Chapter Files are spread out all over the kitchen table, and are now ready to be carried, like an ancient, sacred offering, to my filing cabinet where they will rest with honour (and with labels). There, they will be ready with eager, flat paper mouths ready to receive morsels of information as I either receive it or type it.

Thank you, Chapter Files, for being so tidy and for being such eager, tidy and cooperative receptacles of the Sum of My Expertise (with apologizes to Mr Hodgman: http://www.areasofmyexpertise.com/).

Smithsonian Institution

Wow, the Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives are so efficient. I contacted them to ask them for a document, within a week and a half I had received it and that included the free service of them looking up the information for me in the appropriate fonds. PLUS, courteous service. Oh, they are a true example of what an archive can be. I think I'm in love with the Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feeling better

I do feel much better about this project today. Maybe it was just getting some sun, but maybe it was hearing back from some people who think that Lillian is a worthwhile subject for research.

Oh, I know, I should be more like Lillian. More independent. Not care what people think. Focus only on the end result.

I'm starting to feel the pressure now! People are asking me more and more often: when will this be done? I would like to say next year I will submit to publisher, but it could be sooner. The long, dark, cold winter here is one of my favourite times of year. I can work on projects and not feel guilty about being inside and writing. In the summer, when it's light until past 10 pm, I feel obliged to "do" something outside.

I know you all are eager to read the book. Me, too, actually. I'm really looking forward to the process of putting this all together. I've got lots of information, background, photographs and more. I'm hoping that people will find this an interesting book, for it's not JUST about Lillian, you know. It's about the times she lived in.

Anyway, I suppose at least three good (and by good, I mean almost final copy) chapters would be easy to get together by this winter. They're sort of done now.

I'm a litle bit concerned about the format. I hate hate hate footnotes. First, I always lose track of them when I'm writing. Then who said what and in what volume gets lost and everything blurs together. Second, it makes the book seem like an academic publication. And this book is certainly NOT an academic publication. It's what I consider a local history book.

I want to acknowledge the other publications I used for background and the archives where some primary documents were found. I like the way Stephen Hume wrote his Simon Fraser book, so I'll probably aim for something like that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Anxiety

I wrote a few handwritten pages yesterday. And I've been thinking a lot about Lillian's state of mind, her route and so many other things. I've also been thinking: does anyone care about this other than me? I've been called Quixotic for doing this project. Sigh. No, really. Big sigh.