Introducing “Ana”

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This doesn’t apply to YOU, of course:

That’s from a Messenger back and forth I’d had earlier this year. In it, I’m referring to so much else we see out there lately.

So back again to the 1700s. You may already know “Carolina” from Conventions: The Garden At Paris. In rough draft form, I would now like to introduce you to the next novel’s “Ana”:

[Sneak peek from untitled follow up to Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Click to expand.]

There “Ana”, “Carolina,” and others, are on an American ship headed for Holland in 1797. The ship has been stopped and boarded by the British Royal Navy. Often that then happened in real-life.

[The United States flag of 1797: 15 stars, 15 stripes, for then 15 states. Subsequently it dawned on lawmakers that adding a stripe for every new state would eventually make the flag look ridiculous, so they reduced the stripes to 13 for the original states and took to adding a star only for each new state. Public Domain.]

Journeys across the Atlantic in the 1700s and 1800s were not made on passenger services. Those did not exist as we today would understand them. There was no equivalent to the regular passenger ships such as the late 19th-early 20th century steamship lines (one of which built ill-fated Titanic) or today’s airlines.

Travelers crossed mostly on merchant ships that were already sailing approximately where they were also going. And “approximately” was often a very elastic concept: For instance, if you wanted to reach France from New York and found a ship headed to Rotterdam, you might consider yourself in luck and jump on board; you’d worry about how to get to France once you got to Holland (about 4 to 6 weeks later). Travelers often had to bring along their own food, too.

Boardings on the high seas like that by the British would eventually be one factor in bringing on the War of 1812:

With my mother’s second anniversary, it had not been a great week for me. Yet I find that bad weeks also may have their writing upsides. Those upsides may result in renewed inventiveness.

A pic I took yesterday of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Harpenden. (I wanted my dad over in Pennsylvania to see it.) We went to the 11am mass to remember my mom. It’s a lovely church – particularly inside.📸🇬🇧 . The parish web site says that building is from the late-1920s. Previously the grounds had housed a much smaller church since around 1900. (There had been no Roman Catholic church in the town for 300 years before that, since the Reformation. In the early 1890s there were 4 Catholics – four – living in the town.) Some Belgian refugees appeared during WWI (1914-18) and by the 1920s about 80 Catholics lived in the area and there was a priest in residence. During the war, parish announcements were printed in English, French and Flemish, and masses were preceded by the Belgian national anthem.🇧🇪 . A literary aside. As you may know, Agatha Christie based her "Poirot" character on WWI Belgian refugees and soldiers she'd seen near her home down in Torquay, in Devon. Thus from where “fiction” often comes.🤔📚 . #travel #Harpenden #Hertfordshire #England #church #photo #photography #history #writers #writing #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram #authors #fiction #history #agathachristie #Belgium #WWI #RomanCatholic #Christianity #expats #expatlife

A post shared by R. J. Nello (@rjnello) on

“Ana” is a twenty-something from South America. Days ago, “Ana” did not “exist” and was nowhere on my creative radar, but a few moments on Instagram changed that. You get only a little of her there, but I’m thinking she’ll have an important part in the new novel.

Happy Sunday. Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

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