Washing in the New Year

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipts for the Million 1857?

212. To take  Spots off Cloths, Stuffs, Silk, Cotton, and Linen –Take two quarts of spring water, put in it a little fine white potash, about the quantity of a walnut, and a lemon cut in slices; mix these well together, and let it stand for twenty-fours hours in the sun; then strain it off, and put the clear liquid up for use. This water takes out all spots whether pitch, grease, or oil, as well in hats, as cloths and stuffs, silks or cotton and linen. As soon as the spot is taken out, wash the places with fair water; for cloths of a deep color, add to a spoonful of the mixture as much fair water as to weaken it.

As Mrs. Hale surely would have said, I’ve been remissed. For some time now. But what writer couldn’t resist the chance to revise and shape a novel, chat with fellow writers in new-fangled ways (And not by telegraph. Little bird tweets and something like Sunday afternoon lyceum forums is more like) and spend time with dear ones, including one precious grandchild.   It puts my cap all in a flutter.

So here I am, ready to wash in the New Year. Frankly, the way Mrs. Hale describes taking out spots sounds very much like self-editing.  I have been doing a lot of that.

I have several writing projects on hand:

1) Revise a novel, THE JOSSING AFFAIR,  that I care deeply about, so I can submit it to a lit contest.  It’s way too long for it, though still acceptable for query. Along the way, I’m chatting with other writers in a couple of forums.  Not sure if I can get it down to size in time –if ever. It is what it is. Someday, it will find a home. As a pitch is required, I’ve been working on that and put together a backup plan.  I’ll submit a different one if I can’t get this together in the next 15 days.

2)  Rewrite another. I’ve been changing the structure of this one, giving a chronological time line. I’m also on-going in my research for this historical. More showing than telling, of course, which means some study.

3) Research my bark, the Ann Parry. Made some discoveries over the holidays through my research of shipping intelligence in a 1857 newspaper.  Eventually, there will be a non-fiction work.  I’ve published an article in the Journal of the  Whatcom County Historical Society about her last December.

So the pencil is out.  Coffee card up to date and I’m ready to slash. Just a reminder to myself, but check this out for some good tips: TEN TIPS FOR SELF EDITING.



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