Thursday, October 02, 2003

October 2, 2003

The sunlight had such a startling clarity this morning. Sophie and I walked all along down by the marsh where the poison ivy is starting to turn brilliant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. The first three weeks of October are the most beautiful time of year in these parts. Peak foliage in the marsh runs from somewhere around October 6-16. That's when I have an incredibly difficult time sticking to business. I'd like to be spending all my time hiking, biking, and canoeing in my Hornbeck boat.

But what is my business these days? This is the question that has been perplexing me for weeks. Since I finished writing and editing my latest tome Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia (to be published by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor and Francis, at the end of this month), I have been debating what I should dwell on next. The question has been made more complicated by the fact that my husband has been recently diagnosed with a chronic, potentially disabling disease. He is recovering well from an acute attack, so
my mind is relieved for the immediate present. But I realized that my idea to plunge into novel-writing full-time is just not practical. I really need to move along my career path as a freelance historian (I use the term loosely; I don't have a Ph.D.)

So where does that leave me? I have known for a long time that as fascinating a period as the Civil War is, I would like to take a break from the 1860s. For years and years I have wanted to write about civilians in Germany at the end of World War II and during the immediate post-war period. The story there is harrowing, and so surprising as to be shocking. That's the lure that makes me bite the hook every time. If I'm surprised out of my wits, then I know it's a great idea for a book.

I should be running to the cellar to wash a huge load of dog towels. I have none now clean enough to wash off Sophie's paws when she comes in all muddy. Sophie is a
Golden Retriever, 16 months old, and is my beloved buddy. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to get a picture of her on here. More later today? Or definitely tomorrow.


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