Friday, October 13, 2017

To Live Deliberately

Tomorrow I go North...and will be spending some time in the woods to, like Thoreau said, "live deliberately."  No computer.  Just some serious silent and contemplative time, to get my feet on the ground again.  Really on the ground.

My necessities?

1.  Good Prymm manuscript and guidelines for writing a query letter...

2.  Good reading...

3.  Stitchery and all the needfuls...I use Remember's sampler as a guide for the lettering...

4.  Toll House cookies, naturally...

5.  A bottle of nice white wine...

6.  Oh!  And cute jeans, of course!

All else will be extraneous. :)

In my rambles I will collect colorful, already-fallen leaves and perhaps a stone or two for our little grandsons.  And, of course, this little Green Witch will be taking photos of her surroundings, especially the trees, as they should be peak when we arrive...and I will be ready to share with you upon my return.

Until then...get out and walk about!   Pick out a pumpkin or two! Make a scarecrow! Drink some apple cider!  Build a fire and roast some weenies! Gaze at the moon!  Enjoy this autumn while ye may! Bless (farewell in Icelandic)!

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

Monday, October 9, 2017

Season of the Witch

Now, some of you may think I am obsessed with the idea of witches.  And you would be correct...but it is natural and typical for me to thoroughly immerse myself in something I find interesting.  Just ask my husband, as he has witnessed my being involved in all manner of interests, including karate, kickboxing, yoga, Colonial history, herbs, gardening, spinning, embroidery, dyeing, knitting, well, you get the idea.

I have loved witches since I was a little girl...and refused to be anything else for Halloween all those years. No regrets! But now I am fascinated by the history of witches...or, so-called witches...the psychology behind those years of persecution, especially those pertaining to Colonial New England.

Several years ago my sister and I decided to travel to Ipswich, MA, as we both wanted to visit the now-closed Lowell Textile History Museum, which we did see.  And we saw Salem, too.  But I also was fascinated with Ipswich Lace, the only cottage industry lace unique to America, and hope to take a class with Karen Thompson next summer.  Karen is an expert in Ipswich Lace, having recreated all 22 samples that exist (working closely with the Smithsonian) and having recently published a book on this beautiful lace. That little trip to Massachusetts turned out to be a life-changing experience for me, as the concept of Goody Prymm was "born" there...and has led to my endless interest now in this earliest chapter of our country's history.  <l:)

As October is the "season of the witch," I thought I'd share a little pillow I designed and stitched, one for myself and one for my sister, the only difference being that her little knit-witch stands guard in the corner of her pillow, while mine is flying away on knitting needles.  We travel a lot together, and she is the one that keeps us on target (thank goodness), while I tend to be the kind who wanders and is likely to get us lost, lol!  I suppose, though, we balance each other out nicely that way, she keeping us safe and I pushing for adventure.

The ground is 40 count linen...I almost went blind stitching two of these little pillows, haha!  The threads are all silk, appropriately, given that Ipswich Lace is typically black silk. The boundaries are places we visited and the years they were founded: Ipswich 1634, Salem 1626, and Lowell 1826, while the Rogers and Brown House (where we stayed) was built ca. 1750, although the back part of the house, where we stayed, dated to the 1600s.  The broom and the little witch are from Lori of Notforgotten Farm, except that I made the little witch's "broom" into knitting needles which are unraveling the yarn from the full moon yarn ball as she flies away. The number 41, 979 yards on the broomstick refers to the amount of lace that was produced by hand in Ipswich in one year (1789-1790).  Now, if you don't know, that is a tremendous amount of bobbin lace, all created by women (and possibly some children) by hand using bobbins and pillows for lacemaking...perhaps 600 or so people contributing.

The backing is from a purple wool (and goose feather) Canadian blanket, while the blanket stitching around the edges are black wool.  Inside the pillow is stufft with strips of my father's old army blanket, wool, and a found object from each place we visited.  Mine contains a fallen leaf from the Burying Ground in Salem, an acorn along the Merrimack River in Lowell, and a small, crushed shell from the pathway at the Whipple House, which houses samples of Ipswich Lace. Goode stuffe, indeed.

I had a ball making our souvenirs from that trip! Every time I look at my pillow, I think about the fun we had and all that we learned...and I dream of returning to Ipswich one day...

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Updates for A Promise: A Pouch for a Healer

Check in for full updates on my post "A Promise: Pouch for a Healer." Winter side is completed!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

C'mon, you turkeys...

Just when I'm starting to get my Halloween on...

These turkeys show up!!  There were at least 10 of them on the side of the road down from where we live, so naturally I had to rush home to grab my camera...The pic at the bottom I took whilst the vehicle was in motion, but there are some in front of and behind that fence.

I love the majestic turkey, but I don't want to think Thanksgiving just yet! :)

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Harvest Moon 2017

Here she is, rising over our little house...looking so soft, so peaceful...

Happy Harvest, Moon!

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

Completing the Dream

The completed and polished first draft of A Year and a Day in the Life of Goody Imagination Prymm is completed...all 151+ pages...all 36,000+ words.

It has been a year and a half in the making.

To finish this is very gratifying for me...but, of course, my work is not done.  Getting something published in this day and age in the traditional way is very difficult to accomplish.  Yes, I could pay for the publication and go through Amazon.  Yes, I could publish an ebook version.  But I want to do this in the traditional way, and that means going through an agent.  I have found the agency I am interested in and hope to entice one of their agents to put his/her faith in my book and seek publication.

Before I do this, I am going away for 10 days or so, three of which will be spent in a cabin in the woods.  Total peace and quiet.  Total concentration.  There I will read my novella as though I am not familiar with it, as though I am an agent just beginning to read the first few pages (starting today I will not even touch the manuscript until that know, get a little distance between me and it).

I will also be writing my one-page query letter, written to "pull in" the agents I choose to contact.   From everything I've read, the query letter is ALL important.  It's the thing that gets you through the door (that and the first 5 pages of the manuscript).

I have no delusions about this.  I've not been to any writers' conferences.  I have no connections. Chances are I will be turned down again and again until either the manuscript or a particular agent is just right.

I also need to find other readers, and I have those people already in mind.  They are educated, well read, and I believe they will be honest in their opinions of it.  I plan to give them a few questions, too, related to the work's tone, structure, characters, clarity, etc.  Then I will take a look at their criticism and see what needs to be adjusted or rewritten or developed or kept as is.

There is so much involved in becoming a published author, particularly one of fiction.

But I have high hopes!  And I'm willing to work toward that goal of being a published author.
Goody Prymm, Remember, and I will go into this together.  Wish us luck!

© 2017 Nancy Duncan

Wednesday, October 4, 2017