Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chapter 4 Progress

I am deafened by my own silence here. I am glad to have set a goal of a month for completion of Chapter 4, but I now feel guilt in having allowed six weeks to pass without a word. I think I am making headway, if not ready yet to pour the elements of my alchemical brew into the mold I want.

One would think that it should not take much doing to introduce a laundress after all. How much interest can she generate? Where is the drama? My progress is dismally slow. Perhaps I should forget this chapter---; I know I won’t. The more I read about the lives of young women in service in Victorian England the more appalling I find their lot. How did they stand up to the conditions they worked in, particularly in one servant, middle-class households?

So I am still collecting and compiling background information, forming a wooden laundress puppet, a bit like Geppetto; but breathing in that something, which will turn her into a “real girl”, remains illusive. I feel that I am just waiting for the picture to come into focus, for the fog to clear; that she is standing right there, just out of my reach. I have faith.
Here is a list of the material I am reading/researching to create Susannah:
Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England, Judith Flanders, 2003
English Laundresses: A Social History, 1850-1930, Patricia E. Malcolmson, 1986
 “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”, poem by Richard Wilbur, from The Things of This World, 1956
Anna, washing, poems by Ted Genoways, 2008
 “Sea Tongue”, poem by Kevin Crossley-Holland, 1991
The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry, Joseph Bristow, 2000
 "Maud", a monodrama by Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1855