This and that.

I’m cheating, a little–the sum of words is what I wrote over the weekend and today. Weekends are bad for writing, for me–I don’t have the time I’d like, and what time I do have is often interrupted by my son. So my words written today is around 1500, while the weekend total was substantially less. And I spent today doing a second and more detailed outline of the plot–the novel is beginning to come into focus.

I: had the detective interview the victim’s roommates and interview some streetwalkers who witnessed the murder.

Today’s reading: Sutherland’s The Expansion of Everyday Life. Very general (but useful) work on daily life, its pleasures and woes, between 1860 and 1876.

And as an additional treat, for those of you reading this–if there is anyone reading this–the opening paragraph of the book:

October 1, 1872

Her name was Virginia Jackson, and she lived in Brooklyn, on Huntington Street, and she died in Brooklyn, near the corner of Central Avenue and Moffet Street. She was 29 years old and aged beyond her years, her blonde hair already greying and her once-healthy body showing the signs of hard use, the bottle, and the abuse of men. She had stumbled, drunk, down Central Avenue this evening, passing the bums in the alleys huddled around fires they’d built for protection against the fall chill, and ignoring the begging, hungry-eyed children who were worse off even than she was. Her night had begun at Fancy Dan’s saloon bar, where she’d performed in booths for customers, dancing a mostly-naked cancan for groups of men and, if they paid enough, more intimate dances for individuals. One customer had paid her enough to take her out of Fancy Dan’s, and they’d made it to an alley before his drunken pawing had moved beyond groping to grabbing. Rather than go to his boarding house she decided to get it over with, so she let him take her in the alley, standing up, her dirty dress hiked up around her waist as he thrust into her, her expression bored. When he was done he had buttoned up his pants and left her there, and she used the money he’d given her at Fancy Dan’s to buy herself a cheap bottle of gin at an open market. She’d been drinking from that when she met her murderer.


It’s rough, admittedly, but it’s a start.

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