I keep thinking of my writing, past and present. Poor Folk is a book I hope to market to people who don’t normally read, my hoped venue for it being in grocery stores alongside Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, and Nicholas Sparks. I believe Poor Folk is a much better book, but like Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I hope to dress literature in clothes that even people who shop at the grocery stores can appreciate. Maybe in my books I can reach somebody in the lower class or even the lower middle class, to improve their lot, in reality or educationally. They may see themselves in the anti-intellectual Spider or the hard working, talented Rabbit. I based my characters on the mental patients at Breakthrough where I worked for a long time… Many of them lived under the poverty line… Perhaps I also just wanted to believe that characters like Daisy (with her 5th spouse) could have the success in my book their real life counterpart lacked in real life… Like Charles Dickens I always favor a happy ending.
I also think about my hoped-for-eventual book Once When the World Was Young… Sally (the book’s heroine, more or less) lived in Okinawa, while her husband fought in the air force in Vietnam. Then he joined her on a base in Okinawa. While Jeffry was fighting, Sally learns Japanese and how to make tempura and porcelain plates from a pair of Japanese friends. Later an aunt of Jeffry’s tells her they are good enough to sell at art museums. Sally, her veteran husband Jeffry and her hippie brother-in-law Billie’s lives are intertwined. Billie, hippie garb and all, is the person to meet them as they get off the airplane from Okinawa. Jeffry by then has developed PTSD, waking up at night in tears and screaming.
Though I cannot describe the aesthetic experience the way a philosopher might, my characters pop into my head from time to time. Of course, now I am bogged down in “research” for Tales of the Land of the Firebird. I am past the 550-page mark in the slightly over 800-page Napoleon: A Life. I am certain I can finish the book last week. When I am finished with it I shall read Alexander I: The Tsar Who Defeated Napoleon and Wellington: The Iron Duke. After that I shall reread The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History. Then I shall read The World of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. I am reading about the Napoleonic Wars because of their place in Russian and Swedish Histories… I will skip rereading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, though.
However, I will take a detour from researching Tales of the Land of the Firebird, to read Gustavus Adolphus the Great; Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric; Charles XII – King of Sweden; and A Warrior Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of Sweden as a Military Superpower, 1611-1721. While reading about Alexander and Wellington, Peter and Catherine, on weekends I shall read Gösta Berling’s Saga by Selma Lagerlöf; Niels Lyne by Jens Jacobson; Harald’s Saga; Gisli Sursson’s Saga/The Saga of the People of Eyri; Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset; and Pippi Longstocking. I will also read another book about Raoul Wallenberg, the famous Holocaust rescuer.
Then I shall read the Leatherstocking Tales by James Fennimore Cooper and Roughing It, by Mark Twain. My Great Grandpa liked Cooper and Grandma had Roughing It among her things. Mom also has some books about Swedes who came to America… I have already read Moberg’s four-book The Emigrants series and will not revisit it, but she has nonfiction I have not read… then I shall write my Grandma’s biography, A History of Frances Westin Williams. After the reading, the writing should be the easy part; particularly because I have already typed up all of Grandma’s own writings.
After finishing Grandma’s biography, I will get back to my Russian project, Tales from the Land of the Firebird. However, it is even more involved than Grandma’s diary and reading about Napoleon, so I will put on writing about till another time. Meanwhile, I shall write more on Children of the Cat Goddess and Further Tales of Opossum Creek in my spare time… if I have any.