Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crushing Dreams

Self-Portrait, Rolinda Sharples c 1820

My protagonist wants to go to college. What in the world is she thinking? Women did not go to college in 1805/1806. Does anyone have any ideas what a gently-raised woman would do who wanted to earn her own living? Is it possible to go back and change history?

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia accepted women in 1805, but is my protagonist artistic? Still, she can’t cook without setting something on fire and she isn’t very good at taking care of children. She must have some skills which could translate into money. Is it art? Does she have talent in that direction? Shouldn’t I have known about this earlier? I mean, really, I’ve taken her through an entire book already and it wasn’t mentioned. I’m a little miffed.

It is unfortunate, but I’ll just have to dash all her hopes and plans, not because I want to, you understand, but because historically, society would have done so. Somehow, this pleases me. Mwahahaha. I feel better already. Writing is fun. In what other occupation can one take pleasure from making someone absolutely and completely miserable and still be accepted at cocktail parties?

Perhaps I'll toss in a couple of fabulous things she never expected, just to be nice. I am a nice person at heart, even though I'll be as mean as possible to her. Honest.


  1. Hmmm. What could she do to earn a living? Well, setting aside the world's oldest profession, she could become a seamstress, take in laundry, be a governess, make hats, teach a few young children in her home, blackmail her neighbors, sell off her mother's jewelry, offer herself as fully clothed artist's model, give etiquette lessons, or go quietly mad.

  2. Carolyn,

    The "quietly mad" thing could apply to all those occupations. But I think she's more likely to drive others mad.

  3. If she were living in the 1500s she could be a, make that *female* PIRATE like Grace O'Malley. Barring that, she may have to stoop so low as to be a lady novelist (God forbid!).

  4. Naw, there's no money in that.
    Oh, but really, Jewell, I thought about the novelist thing because it takes place in the same time frame as Jane Austin, but I don't know if I'm up to making her do revisions. Poor thing.

  5. Well! Laws A-Mercy! That little thing has got to get off her taily-po and do SOMEthing or she WILL have to roll over on her heels like Miz Rose said. She may have to lower her sights and marry beneath her station--wherever she thinks that is. By gum, she'll learn to cook and change nappies, yet.

  6. I like your protagonist. Maybe she could find a private tutor...I don't know, but I want her to succeed. Good luck!

  7. Kathi, you are such a softy.

    She's a spunky thing. If anyone can figure out a way, she will. She's always surprising me.


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