Have other bloggers noticed that if you let a few too many days go by, it can be hard to step back in? Right now, I’m procrastinating.
I should be putting my recently printed manuscript into a binder for ease of editing. Instead, I vacuumed. To finish properly, I had to pull a big jam out of the tubing using forceps. Found a bic pen lodged in there (– perhaps a symbol about getting down to business today?) Then I knocked over a Christmas cactus and had to clean that up.
I rearranged papers under the desk to make room for my soothing noise maker, because leaf blowing season is upon us again. “I must be ready!” she said.
Then there was a little candle lighting (my brother hasn’t been feeling well; D lives in Boulder — AND IS OKAY — but shops at that grocery store).
Then, because it’s lovely today, I opened a bunch of windows and got a couple of fans going and in the process kept losing the cup of coffee which any writer can tell you is an essential element of GETTING ONE’s ASS BACK IN THE CHAIR. One screen got stuck. Par for the course.
It occurs to me that if one had a practice of praying for all the victims of gunfire in this country, and their families, there’d be little time for anything else.
It also occurs to me that keeping a catalogue of the sickening and vast difference in how Black and white bodies are treated by cops could be a full time job.
On that note, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s historical tidbit (think: a trump-corrupted CDC playing down the Covid numbers).
More light in the kitchen late afternoons. I arranged my sister’s blue bottle collection on the sill to invite that vibration and to mark my sister’s passing.* This week marked two years gone. I’ve had a lot to say about that, but for now, not here.
This lovely heart came from Hazel after Noreen’s death. She was grieving too. I looked at the stitching up close today and appreciated once again, the craft, the care. My sister and I found this Virgin at a second hand store in Salem that we enjoyed frequenting. She mounted it on wood and added eye hooks. The ceramic pentacle had been hers as well.
Editing going full throttle right now. Or at least, as full throttle as I do anything anymore. Needed a solid nap this afternoon after being awake til three am.
When I couldn’t sleep last night, I came downstairs and read a Booker Prize winning novel set in Glasgow: Shuggie Bain. Alcoholic mother, despicable father, unbearable poverty. I’m compelled to finish but it is unrelentingly grim.
Almost done reading Eliza’s letters post-1744. Those describing her husband’s death are full of anguish, full of praise for Charles’s virtue and character. They had fourteen years together. Good years. Malaria did him in.
I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.
Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.
Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).
It’s nice to have company.
In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.
I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.
House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:
When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.
The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.
A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.
A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.
In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.
The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.
More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.
In the spirit of ‘saying their names,’ the names of the enslaved “property” in Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s estate are listed below. Black people were enumerated in testamentary documents along with furniture, horses and mules, jewelry and land, making clear their status as chattel.
[The names listed in bold on the list are names I’ve used in my novel (in its second edit now)].
It’s also worth noting that at the time of her marriage to Charles Pinckney (May 27, 1744), Eliza’s father included about two dozen enslaved people as part of her dowry. The record tells us that Quashee (aka John Williams) was a matter of dispute between Eliza’s father and her fiance. Both men wanted him and for good reason — he was literate and an extraordinarily skilled carpenter. Eliza’s husband-to-be won out and Quashee went on to oversee and help build the newlywed couple’s new home on East Bay.
Also note: it’s a mistake to think that slaves named after days of the week were so-named out of a heartless, objectifying inattention on the part of auctioneers and owners, much like some names were based on slave trading ships (see recent post about Phillis Wheatley). In some African cultures it was common. For instance, Cudjoe (variants: Cuffy, Joe) means Monday; Quashee, Sunday.
Glymph, Thavolia. Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.*
Gordon-Reed, Annette. The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2008. Print.*
Haulman, Kate. The Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2011. Print.
Hart, Emma. Building Charleston: Town and Society in the Eighteenth-century British Atlantic World. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 2010. Print.*
Higginbottom Jr., A. Leon. In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process, The Colonial Period. New York, Oxford University Press, 1978. Print.
Hoffer, Peter Charles, Cry Liberty, The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739. Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.*
Hurmence, Belinda. Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember: Twenty-seven Oral Histories of Former South Carolina Slaves. Winston-Salem, NC: J.F. Blair, 1989. Print.*
Hurmence, Belinda. My Folks Don’t Want Me To Talk About Slavery. John F. Blair, Publisher, 2013.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Barnes & Noble, 2005.
Joyner, Charles W. Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1984. Print.*
Kenslea, Timothy. The Sedgwicks in Love: Courtship, Engagement, and Marriage in the Early Republic. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2006. Print.
Krebs, Laurie. A Day in the Life of a Colonial Indigo Planter. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003.
Legrand, Catherine. Indigo, The Color that Changed the World, New York: Thames & Hudson, 2013. Print..
LeMaster, Michelle, and Bradford J. Wood. Creating and Contesting Carolina: Proprietary Era Histories. Print.
McCandless, Peter. Slavery, Disease, and Suffering in the Southern Lowcountry. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. Print.
McCarthy, B. Eugene, and Thomas L. Doughton. From Bondage to Belonging: The Worcester Slave Narratives. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 2007. Print.
McCurry, Stephanie. Masters of Small Worlds. Oxford University Press, 1995.
McKay, Nellie Y. (editor). Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2001. Print.
McKinley, Catherine E. Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World. New York: Bloomsbury, 2011. Print.
Mueller, Pamela Bauer. Water to My Soul: The Story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Jekyll Island, GA: Pinata Pub., 2012. Print.
Mullin, Michael. Africa in America: Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831. ACLS History E-Book Project. 2004.
Myers, Amrita Chakrabarti. Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2011. Print.
Nelson, Louis P. The Beauty of Holiness. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Northup, Solomon, and D. Wilson. Twelve Years a Slave Narrative of Solomon Northrup, Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841 and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana. Auburn: Derby and Miller, 1853. Print.
Pinckney, Eliza Lucas, and Elise Pinckney. The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Ed. Marvin R. Zahniser and Elise Pinckney. Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina, 1997. Print.
Rediker, Marcus. The Slave Ship: A Human History. New York: Viking, 2007. Print.
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Rhyne, Nancy. Tales of the South Carolina Low Country. John F Blair Pub, 1982.
Rivers, Larry Eugene. Slavery in Florida, Territorial Days to Emancipation. Florida: University Press, 2009.
Rogers, George C. Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 1969. Print.
Rucker, Walter C. The River Flows On. LSU Press, 2008.
Russell, Franklin. The Okefenokee Swamp. Time-Life Books, 1986.
Rutledge, Archibald. Home by the River. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1941. Print.
Rutledge, Sarah. The Carolina Housewife. Columbia: U of South Carolina, 1979. Print.
Smith, Mark M. Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt. Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina, 2005. Print.
South Carolina Slave Narratives. S.I.: Native American Book, 2009. Print.
Stuart, Andrea. Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Print.
Twitty, Michael W. The Cooking Gene. HarperCollins, 2018.
Vernon, Amelia Wallace. African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press. 1993.
Walsh, Lorena S. From Calabar to Carter’s Grove. Rutgers University Press, 2001.
Williams, Frances Leigh. Plantation Patriot; a Biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967. Print.
Wood, Peter H. Black Majority; Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion. New York: Knopf;, 1974. Print.
Wulf, Andrea. Founding Gardeners. Vintage, 2012.
Zacek, Natalie. Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands, 1670-1776. New York: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.
Eliza Lucas – PhD Thesis
Cloudsplitter, Russell Banks
Kindred, Octavia Butler
Sapphira and The Slave Girl, Willa Cather
Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
The Good Lord Bird and Song Yet Sung, by James McBride
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Water to My Soul, Pamela Mueller
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Someone Knows My Name, Lawrence Hill
Underground Airlines, Ben White
Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
Nostalgia, Dennis MacFarland
Plantation Patriot, Francis Leigh Williams
The Indigo Girl, Natasha Boyd* (have not read yet)
The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehesi Coates
Movies / TV
The Civil War (Ken Burns)
John Adams – HBO series
Daughters of the Dust
Twelve Years a Slave
Tours / Historic Sites
Boone Hall Plantation
The Charleston Museum Drayton Hall Magnolia Plantation — both the enslaved cabin tour and the big house tour Magnolia Cemetery McLeod Plantation Middleton Place Aiken-Rhett House Old Charleston Jail Rebellion Farm : for a weekend of indigo dyeing in a pole barn with Sea Island Indigo Stono Slave Rebellion Marker Sullivan Island Wappoo Plantation Marker
Faneuil Hall Middle Passage Ceremony, August 13, 2015 The Granary Burial Grounds (where John Hancock’s ‘servant’ Frank is buried, as well as Crispus Attucks) Mt. Auburn Cemetery (burial sites of Harriet Jacobs and Mary Walker) The Jackson Homestead The Royall House and Slave Quarters (spent a night in the quarters with The Slave Dwelling Project)