Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sunday night musing . . .

August. Too darn hot! It's nearly 8 pm, time for a walk up the hill, through a quiet suburban neighborhood, past a tidy row of houses, too tidy for me, and then along a wetland where the ducks will gather on a greenish pond, tails up as they bob heads down for dinner. Each night the moon has risen a little fuller. Maybe tonight the moon will be transparent and a cooling breeze will lift my spirits.

Writing only happens very early in the morning, and so far, I've reached this week's goals for editing Years of Stone; I plan to finish the final section in the coming week. But I didn't touch the short stories at all, though I did find a wonderful story about a quilt made in 1887 (or so).

A tailor in Helena, Montana, sewed this hexagonal quilt with scraps from men's suits, ties, women's gowns both from the upper class and ladies of the evening. The quilt is gorgeous -- paper pieced, with yellowing newspapers never cut out, a few confirming the date of the quilt. Here's a picture of this treasured quilt. I want to write about this unfinished project with bits of cloth from so many lives, all intersecting in unexpected colors and patterns. 

What do quilting and writing have in common? Tenacity! A sense of purpose. A belief that we can make something that will be of use, perhaps of pleasure. Picking up a needle is soothing, the skills to quilt every bit as complicated as those needed to write. Quilts and words can comfort. The process of writing and quilting is every bit as rewarding as the final project; both are often made to give away.

Goals for the coming week, by August 13:
1. Finish Section 3 edits for Years of Stone.
2. Finish final edits for The Mermaid Quilt.
3. Read other participants in ROW80 and persevere.
4. Send out ONE story to an online market.

May your own writing go well.


  1. Hi, Beth!

    Seems to me that you are doing a great job with your goals and as a writer, are quite productive. I think that is what ROW 80 is all about, working with our goals and sometimes reworking them but always there is an eye to productivity. I really like your quilting-writing analogy for tenacity is the quality that serves best. Welcome to ROW 80!

    On a personal note, I admire your blog posts and as I have time, I want to read more of your work. I did enjoy "Fire Sisters" and in years past, read more historical fiction than I do now but I still enjoy the genre. Love the picture of the egrets.


  2. Thanks, Karen. We spotted the egrets in New Orleans, just roosting in the trees at a small neighborhood park. It's been pretty inspirational to read what the other ROW80 writers are doing and I've "met" a few other historical fiction writers along the way.

  3. I think the combining of disparate parts is also something quilts and writing have in common. Especially scrap quilting, where a quilter reuses bits of life to make a new and creative whole, just like we writers do.