Today I’m sharing a snippet of my own writing, a piece of history, if you will. Currently I’m working on a YA historical novel set during the American Civil War era, as well as researching publishing a poetry chapbook the traditional way. If you have any ideas or resources, let me know!
My book is a draft right now, and I’m still figuring out a lot of details. My story follows Patience, a middle-class young woman in New York who gets displaced during the Civil War, and learns how to become assertive and finds her purpose in life, as she’s forced to face challenges she had never imagined.
My story asks the question: How can we find the strength within ourselves to keep going, even when we are afraid? It’s about finding confidence and self-love and self-esteem, even amidst bullying and self-doubt. The story is for young adults who, much like me when I was a teenager, feel like a bit of a wallflower, invisible, a bit lost in the world, and may suffer from anxiety or depression. Looming over and intertwined with these emotional and communication issues throughout the story is the larger issue of racism that was prevalent during Civil War times (to make a huge understatement!) and sadly, remains prevalent today. I hope that through Patience’s story, readers can find some inspiration to keep going, and to love and believe in themselves.
Here is my little snippet, wherein Patience gets bullied by her sister and her friends:
An icy winter gust blasted past, fluttering Patience’s scarf in the wind. She took advantage of the distraction to look down and wrestle with it, hiding her tears. She blinked furiously, waiting for the birds with gold-limned blue bodies on her scarf to be more than blobs in her vision. There. She gulped back mucus into her throat and looked up again.
Celia’s fierce blue eyes were needling her still. She tossed her red curls and turned to her newest friend, Thomas. “Wait until you see the silly things Patience comes up with about the seasons! As if her blathering about Pastor Ellings’ service wasn’t dull enough just now. She walks around the house with her stockings half on like a child, regaling us about the newest snowflake she saw on her windowsill. I’m so glad I’m old enough to not share a room with her anymore.”
Everyone except Patience laughed. Celia knew just as well as Patience that they hadn’t shared a room since Leo moved out when Patience was fifteen and Celia was seventeen, two years ago. She always liked to make her newest complaint or sorrow sound immediate.
Patience knew there was no use saying anything. After all, Celia would just refute Patience’s claim, or laugh at her. Celia’s new friends Thomas and Arthur, and especially her old friends Margaret and Anna, would laugh with Celia and never believe she was as unkind or vindictive as Patience knew her to be. So Patience swallowed her words as usual. She tried to turn her mouth up to make it seem like she was laughing with them, not being laughed at.Untitled, (C) C.S. Kinnaird, 2021
I feel so shy to share my work, honestly. It’s been so long since I’ve written consistently. My writing is quite rusty, like a rough-hewn piece of granite rather than the exquisite marble I’d like it to be. Posting on this blog and participating in NaNoWriMo 2020, even partially, has really helped me. I’ve been feeling much more encouraged than in recent years; if you go back through my archives, you can see my lack of posts; that correlated with a lot of depression and self-doubt I’d been experiencing. I’m so glad to have gotten out of that. It’s also rare that I posted any of my own writing, which I’m also hoping to do more of in 2021.
I really tend to be a perfectionist. It took having the free time that quarantine in 2020 granted, for me to stop listening to my Inner Editor and try my hand at being creative again. It started with going back to oil painting, and singing a couple successful “Amazing Grace”s on my new ukulele, to spark a sense of confidence and fun that I needed to dive back into writing, too. Also, putting aside my fantasy story, which I mentioned before and have done some drawings for, helped – to give myself permission to work on something else! It has been a breath of fresh air.
I haven’t done any drawings for this unnamed draft so far. But here are some images that have inspired me, from Pinterest:
I would be honored and curious to know what you think of this snippet of my writing, and of the Civil War images. Also, if you have any ideas to lend in regards to the Civil War era or historical writing, I’d love to hear it!
Until next time,