Writing Life: Down the Rabbit Hole (Again)

I’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks to write the introductory section of Chapter Four of the book Tracy Crow and I  are working on. I have pages of research notes and only 1,500 words or so to write. It shouldn’t be hard. But I couldn’t confirm the anecdote I wanted to lead off with, and without an opening, I couldn’t get the words down on paper. 

Tonight I was rereading notes about nurses in World War I, and realized that one of the anecdotes I was reading would make a perfect substitute for the one that may prove unverifiable. I started to rewrite it in my own words. But then the train of thought ran away from me…

Why was she carrying patients up the hill?

Where in France are Verdun and Sedan, and where are the Meuse and the Argonne?

How big was an evacuation hospital? How many staff? Patients? What kind? How many?

What exactly did it do? 

Where were the front lines on November 2, 1918?

What is indirect fire? (I should have remembered that one I took an amphibious warfare class but it has been more than a quarter century ago – and I didn’t pay much attention to the fire support lesson because women weren’t allowed to do it back then).

And, perhaps most importantly:

What did a WWI nurse’s rain hat look like?

Suddenly I look up. It’s 2:00 am, and I’ve only written two sentences. Down the rabbit hole again!

About readersquest

I'm a retired naval officer and writer. I live with my husband, two sons, and several family pets in a house in the woods.
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2 Responses to Writing Life: Down the Rabbit Hole (Again)

  1. M. L. Doyle says:

    I know exactly what that feels like. As least it wasn’t the rabbit hole of social media. That’s the one that usually gets me. Also, it sounds like you need a little trip to France!


  2. grannysu says:

    You should talk with my friend, storyteller Ellouise Schoettler who lives in Chevy Chase. She is developing a story to tell about the nurses in WWI. I bet you two have covered some common ground.


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