Sunday, May 09, 2010

Today's research topics

I arrived safely in New Hampshire yesterday with my good friend, Angela De Groot, for our now-annual writing retreat. Today I've been doing some organizing and research and prewriting for the Jane Project.

Organizing: I have at least 25 poems left to write (that's a conservative estimate based on what I know for certain needs to be added - most likely the actual number will be in the 30-35 range). That will put the finished total of poems about where I always thought it would be, or between 175 & 190 poems. Yeah, you read that right. I've got 151 completed poems, at least one of which may need to be stricken. I have a list of specific poems and general topics that still need to be addressed, and I'm hoping to work may way through them.

Research: For the poems on which I'm about to embark, I've researched:

1. The proper units of measure for length during Austen's lifetime to be certain I wouldn't err in talking inches, feet or yards. I am now certain that inch, foot, and yard are correct. And that they were pretty much the same units we in the U.S. continue to use now, although the length of a foot had, historically, varied in England in the past, from about 9-1/2 inches to as many as 13 inches. It was, however, standardized in 1066. So.

2. The identity and contents of various Psalms.

3. What years Austen took piano lessons.

4. Something about the personality of Austen's piano teacher.

5. The reputation and work of the artist John Claude Nattes.

6. An interesting article by Janine Barchas on Austen's use of maps and actual people within Northanger Abbey.

7. Letters from Austen to family members, as well as items found in the Family History.

8. An email to the British Library about eyeglasses.

And more.

Today has also involved: Me reading the first scene of Measure for Measure, a lunch of grilled ham & cheese sandwiches and cream of tomato soup (I say toMAYto, Angela says toMAHto), a walk in the wind and cold, a fire in the fireplace, a nap, and additional edits to my NESCBWI presentation, along with Mother's Day phone calls, lovely emails from wonderful author-friends and more. Now, time for dinner: baked potatoes with toppings, broccoli (hear that Jenn?) and salad, then an evening writing session, and then the second half of the recent production of Emma.

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