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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Miscellaneous Musings

      The other night someone (thank you Lesley) asked me to post another installment of my new novel on this blog. It was such a welcome complement! I was thrilled. And it was gratifying too since I have been hard at work on it all week; immersed full time in research for it and having reached an 8300 word count as of this morning. It is easily the most exciting writing project I have ever embarked on. That is because I love historical fiction so much, and doing the research for it is just joy for me.
       It all began with the interest two of my best girlfriends, a poet and a photographer who often collaborate with each other (thank you Kate and Sarah), had taken in Shaker history and architecture. I had always had a simmering interest in that subject but hadn't had a chance to indulge it much. Their enthusiasm was quite catching and I soon joined them on an overnight trip to the last operating Shaker village in the world at Sabbathday Lake in Maine. On our way north we whetted our appetites at the exhibit of Shaker artifacts at the Portland MFA which was stunning.The next day we were so fortunate to be able to attend Sunday worship and meet all of the surviving Shakers afterward over coffee and cookies and a grace one would expect to find there.
     My interest in writing something when we started out, maybe just an article, had blossomed into a full blown book idea before we had left Portland and was taking shape throughout the weekend. I have been devouring books ever since for accurate background information.
     Last night I hosted my gf's to a Shaker study dinner. I served them an authentic menu of Shaker recipes, well, except for the wine. We had garden salad (a strange combination of spinach, carrots and cauliflower) with Shaker herb dressing, followed by oyster stew with homemade bread, while listening to shaker hymns on my laptop. Then we watched the 1989 Ken Burns documentary called The Shakers,
 which I think they all found as fascinating as me.
     So you know what 2012 will be devoted to for me ~ the study of devout and ecstatic celibacy! Stay tuned. Here are a few photos I took on our field trip a couple of weeks ago. We weren't allowed to use our cameras indoors.


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