The Fabulous Peabodies

Picked up this biography on a whim at the library last week, The Peabody Sisters, by Megan Marshall, and I CANNOT put it down. As I told Xtina (our neighb across the hall), it’s full of the same salacious gossip one expects from Us Weekly—only the celebs are dead, philsophical/literary types from 150 years ago.

What’s not to love?

In the last chapter, one of the sisters got engaged to Nathaniel Hawthorne. YES. That Nathaniel Hawthorne—he of the seven gabled house with scarlet letters and marble fauns prancing around the dour Puritans.

How did I not know about this?

It’s like perusing the newsstand and suddenly discovering that Brad and Angelina split 100 years ago. One expects to know these things in slightly more current fashion.

Anywho, a fantastic read that has inspired me to snatch a bio of George Eliot when I was out today. Will see if I love that one too. Perhaps I’m in a lit gossip phase.

OH, but I think the enduring covetous theme of the Peabody book is actually hearing about the fantastic and random “school” and “lecture series” and “conversation clubs.” One dreams wistfully for friends to found discussion clubs and Thursday afternoon literary salons, places to loll about and discuss the meaning of life and divine calling, theology and politics.

Not that I can really complain. I’ve had two fantastic evenings of chat with friends while the merciful one was gone.

All of which probably explains why I’ve been having troubling making much headway on the new draft. Have cut out 80 pages of material (still not enough!), and have a finalized and spiffy first chapter completed, but oh, the horror, the horror.

Frothy little Caroline turned into a venomous little snake in my rewrite today, and I spent a good hour trying to convince her to speak nicely to her sister. Insanity, trying to make each sentence count—propel plot, show character, and, if not lyric brilliance, at least showcasing a mental aptitude on the right side of what the experts now call “challenged.”

… Must dash and kill insects before going to bed. Our apartment is lightly infested with an assortment of bugs. Carl politely says he should spray the walls again. I’m pretty sure vacuuming would also solve our woes. I tend to read on the floor, and I tend to snack while reading, and I tend to not vacuum.

Which leads to the predictable HENCE.


One thought on “The Fabulous Peabodies

  1. Shocking news about Caroline. I do hope you are able to reform her.

    We’ve got our share of creepy crawlies around here, too, many of them are carpenter ants, though, so we’ve called in the big guns and hired an exterminator. We don’t want to mess around with things that make holes in our house.

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