Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diefenbach and "It merely is."

I’ve been writing furiously and researching just as intensely. We’ve made real progress this past month. My children hardly know who I am. Well, that’s not true. But sometimes it feels as if it were. My oldest and I have been passing in the fog this past week. I’ll grab her and go shopping. She’s teaching dance this summer, and learning how to drive, and being a royal nag. The nag part isn’t new. She’s been bossy since we got her. If she would have stayed in India, she’d be a bandit queen and running half the country. As it is, she’s just my oldest and most naggy child.

I’ve given myself a headache trying to trace down a man named William C. McMillin. The problem is two fold. There isn’t much information out there, and his name is spelled maybe six different ways. So far I know he spent much of his life in the Pittsburgh and Latrobe areas. I have his birth date and his Civil War record. I know he was wounded in the head on Round Top at Gettysburg. I know who he married, how many children he had and his religious preference later in life. I need to know his occupation in the late 1870’s and through the 1880’s. I’d love to find a photo. I’m moving on to other things, but I’ll come back to it later.

I’ve had a bad two weeks. The headaches are worse as are the deep muscle aches. I’m discouraged over my blog. I think I have a nice blog. So few visit it, that sometimes I wonder if it’s worth while. …. Say … Don’t one of you owe me some sort of guest post? Anthony? Harry? Barbara? I’m pretty sure one of you does.

Oh, and the photos … nice huh? I stole these off ebay. I’m a fan of Diefenbach’s silhouettes. Here’s one that’s been used on a trinket box. I’m not going to bid on it. I want one of the framed pieces. I’m biding my time. Eventually I’ll find one I can afford.

I’ve been reading issues of Gentleman’s Magazine. It was a British magazine published in the 1700’s. You can find it on google books. I’m used to reading that type face, but you’ll have to adapt to it, learning to distinguish between the tall, archaic lowercase ‘s’ and an ‘f.’ The writing style is different too. If you’re not used to reading 18th Century material, it might take a bit of concentration. But the rewards are worth it.

I’m not looking for anything in particular, just trying to get the flavour of the 1780’s and 1790’s. A continuing series on Dartmoor is interesting. I have a short story bouncing around in my head, but I wish it would go away. I need to concentrate on the history book. I want to be finished except for final edits by July next year. That is probably wishful thinking. We’ll do well if it’s done next year.

There is no real way to get inside the head of a dead man except through his writings, and even then one can never be sure of the “truth” behind what someone writes. I do not refer to conscious lies, but to the things we all withhold from others. (I’m a nosey little pixie. I want to know. ) But one can approach the style of thinking by reading contemporary debate, news articles, letters and diaries. Even though they aren’t the words of the person who interests you, they put you into the era and give you hints as to the way people thought.

The way people feel is the same across ages, but the way people thought is not.

As long as I’m mentioning feelings, let me say that I find the causes of emotion to be a total puzzle. Some things are clear. I know why I love my family. And that type of thing isn’t the root of my puzzlement. I’m thinking about my reaction to things and places, not to people. Why is it that holding certain rocks can bring me pleasure, wonder, amazement, and others do not? Why is it that I can hold my old target pistol and feel considerable satisfaction, but I get no similar feeling from the pistol I carry when I become Deputy Pixie? Why is it that I can hold and feel compelled to caress some books, and others even if I find them interesting bring no such pleasure in the mere holding?

I’m not sure there is a generalized answer to this, nor is it important. It merely is.


  1. I'm sorry you've been having a bad two weeks. I hope you're coming out of it now.

  2. Because all things, animate and inanimate have an energy field to them.

    Some may call it an aura, others might say that objects retain some essence of their surroundings or who might have come in contact with them.

    It's common knowledge now that our thoughts can physically alter an object. (Chaos theory I think)

    When we shut out the hysterical burbling of the world around us and 'listen', the oddest things can happen. Sometimes we might know who's on the phone when it rings. (apart from caller ID that is) We can sense that the air is different on one side of a tree from the other.

    And we can reach out with our senses, all seven of them, and touch the energy field surrounding something. On occaions that energy field resonates with ours, and sometimes it feels like fingernails down a chalkboard.

    It's just energy and is as real as the end of our noses.