Icebergs, Petticoats, and the Tragedy of the Left-Out Detail

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Oh, history. You have so many alluring details. There are soiled petticoats, angry letters, dramatic turns of phrase. And if you’re anything like me, you have a whole boatload of must-include details in every historical piece you write. Except there’s that whole word count thing. And that whole you have to write something people will actually want to read thing. Right. Something must be left out.

I tend to subscribe to the Iceberg Theory of detail in both non-fiction and fiction. (This description is altogether too long and ridiculous, but long story short is that you want your work >>>Read more<<<

📅11 May 2014 0 comments
Why I’m Still Not Over Marie Curie

7879914224_e254fd0009_kXKCD is one of the few web comics I still follow (Hark, a Vagrant and Perry Bible Fellowship, I’m lookin’ at you), so imagine my excitement when I saw one of my all-time favorite heroines, Marie Curie, in a recent comic. (ETA: Apparently it wasn’t recent! I am expos’d!)

Oh, wait. Zombie Marie Curie is telling people not to use her as an example of a female scientist.

While the point of the comic is well taken (we should have a multifaceted history of women in science to draw from, of course Marie Curie wasn’t the only >>>Read more<<<

📅09 February 2014 2 comments
Rest in Peace, Charlotte

157 years ago today, Charlotte Brontë died in an agony of nausea thought to be caused by hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

During the course of her short life (she died at 39), she was a teacher, governess, and author. She was a not-so-patient daughter, a discontented lover, and a rebellious sister. Though surrounded by Gothic myths and legends since the publication of Jane Eyre, she was surprisingly fun-loving, wry, and witty.

A moment of silence for Charlotte, who has saved, changed, challenged so many of our lives. This year, for the first time, her date of death >>>Read more<<<

📅31 March 2012 0 comments
The Littlest Heroines

Little Laura Jernegan, a girl who traveled the world on a whale ship during the 1860s, made quite the splash on the Internet yesterday (thanks, Wendy McClure, for passing on the link).  Her journal, written when she was six years old, records her thoughts on various animals, the smells of whaling, her fearsome penmanship, and not knowing what’s for supper.  The overall impression is one of a feisty, feckless girl, a real-life heroine living out an adventure right out of a novel.

To wit:

I am in Honolulu. it is a real pretty place. Mama is making a

>>>Read more<<<

📅16 September 2010 5 comments