What a nice day I’m having.
We’ve been grocery shopping, cleaned the house, done the laundry, sorted out my phone without incident (though I am uncontactable now until next week until the number transfers. It feels deliciously freeing, like floating through clouds) and I have eaten flapjack, which was better than anything.
I do believe there is a bottle of something in the fridge for this evening. Happy day!
For your amusement, a round up of my Inktober pictures for the past week. Each day the Inktober people provide a word as an inspiring prompt. I’ve been linking the words to women from history, and have produced all these pictures digitally.
It’s a long read (but fun!). Take a seat.
Day 7 – Emily Dickinson. Prompt word: SHY
I chose poet Emily Dickinson for this one, because she was a recluse for the latter part of her life, and visitors had to talk to her through her bedroom door. Sounds like a sensible strategy to me. Her expression in this picture is basically mine when someone asks me to a party where I have to make small talk.
Day 8 – Fannie Farmer. Prompt word: CROOKED
It’s been fun trying to come up with the women to match the words. Crooked was a particular challenge, until I stumbled across Fannie Farmer, and saw that she pioneered the use of standardised measurements. Everything about her seemed scientific and level; the antithesis of crooked. She was perfect, and fitting, as my daughter is doing cooking this term. She has to take all the ingredients ready for each recipe. Thus, every Tuesday night, last thing, I am to be found carefully measuring out 50g of this and 25g of that, and searching for the safest way to transport two eggs to school.
Fannie, I salute you.
Day 9 – Valaida Snow. Prompt word: SCREECH
You might not know, but the technical term for hitting the highest note on a trumpet is to ‘screech’. I know this because one of my kids started playing jazz trumpet at school. In his first lesson, the first thing he did, accidentally, was hit that highest note. Apparently, it takes some skill – or total fluke, in his case, as he’d not ever played before. The teacher was excited. It was all very thrilling – a prodigy in our midst? Then he got braces on his teeth and never screeched again. He still continues to make a tidy sum busking jazz on the streets at Christmas though, so he’s not too sad about it.
Valida Snow was the talk of the town in the 30s. A prodigious musical talent, trumpet was her best instrument. Unfortunately, Valaida was captured by the Nazis in the war, and incarcerated in a Danish prison, where she was repeatedly brutalised. She was released on a prisoner exchange, and though she played and performed again, her spark had gone out.
Day 10 – Ella Ewing. Prompt word: GIGANTIC.
What can I say? Ella Ewing was quite simply gigantic in height, and as a child, not at all always comfortable with the fact. She made her living, somewhat reluctantly at first, touring with the circus. Her father was especially uncertain as to the suitability of the career, but Ella, seeing a good opportunity to turn an unusual life to her advantage, persuaded him that she might as well use her unique height to her own – and her family’s – advantage.
Day 11 – Lina Radke. Prompt word: RUN
Lina Radke was a pioneer of women’s athletics in Germany in the 20s. She ran the first ever 800m event, and won the gold medal – Germany’s first. After the race, there was some consternation among the officials that the women were exhausted (I’ll bet you the officials were jealous couch potatoes), and so the poor little lovely women were banned from running that distance… until 1960. I imagine those officials have never given birth one day and looked after the baby and the rest of the children the next, and the next, and the next, and…
Day 12 – Marie Curie. Prompt word: SHATTERED.
Marie Curie, excellent at science. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person to win twice, among other accolades. I decided she definitely shattered all expectations of women of the time.
The other thing that makes me gasp about Marie’s story is that she kept radioactive material in her desk drawer, and noted that when she opened it in the dark, it seemed to glow. Can you believe it? And her papers, now so valuable and precious, are imbued with radioactivity, and have to be kept in a lead lined box, and handled wearing protective clothing.
Day 13 – Gertrude Ederle. Prompt word: TEEMING.
Another brain teaser. ‘Teeming with fish’ was the first thing that came to mind, and so Gertrude Ederle fit the bill. Gertrude was the first woman to swim the channel. The grease involved in this physical challenge has always fascinated me. They rub it on to stay warm. But what is it, I wonder? I guess it would have to be fish-proof, or sharks might get you.
And that’s something I have often pondered when swimming out to sea in a bikini in Greece. Do sharks like the taste of suncream, ’cause I’m covered in it, and really quite far out?
It’s been OK so far. I don’t think they like it.
Day 14 – Boudica. Prompt word: FIERCE.
Boudica – fierce warrior woman. Perfect. And, no one knows what she looked like, which is much the best, as getting a likeness of anyone is devilish hard. I can do it, course I can. I just prefer imagining!
I based this one – the hair, at least – on a beautiful model I drew at life drawing once. She had braids and dreadlocks, something I have always liked. I have never forgotten her look.
Still here? High five.