Chloroform: (noun) a colorless, volatile, sweet-smelling liquid used as a solvent and formerly as a general anesthetic.
I am currently reading The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum. According to the author, for fifty years after chloroform was discovered, "every drugstore stocked it.......It was mixed into cough syrups and liniments; it was dispensed as a sedative, a sleep aid, a painkiller, a treatment for alcoholic DTs, for hiccupping, seasickness, colic, vomiting, and diarrhea. No one was entirely sure how it worked, just that it appeared to slow the body down and sedate the brain, sliding a patient into a much-desired stupor."
I am fascinated by the idea that doctors used to prescribe substances for so many ailments when they had no idea what the effect would be. I guess it is a good reminder of how much we have learned about science and medicine.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Summer Break was amazing! I read a lot of books, but the lack of a schedule really took me away from my writing routine. I did not keep current on any of my blogs and I did not make any progress on my manuscripts :(
Also, reading a lot of books made me feel a little insecure about my own writing. First I read Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind and learned what it looks like when someone tells without showing. Later I read Offworld by Robin Parrish which taught me the importance of a good plot. The book started out with a great premise- a group of astronauts return from Mars to find no one living on Earth -but the plot was so boring. I almost gave up. Towards the end of the story, the plot got so ridiculous that it held my attention, but only because I could not really believe what was happening. Both books made me think about my own writing in a critical way. Now I am afraid to look back at what I have written; I fear I have made some of the same mistakes :(
The most recent book I read was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. If you have not read it yet, drop everything and find that book! It is amazing. I want to read the rest of the series immediately, but I don't think it is even published yet. Her writing style, subject, plot and characterization are awesome. I could not put it down.... and I know that my writing is nowhere near her level. I keep telling myself that she had editing time that I have not gotten to yet, that I am just working on laying down the first draft, but part of me doesn't believe it. Part of me thinks I can never reach that high of a level.
I am nervous about picking up my manuscripts again. Meanwhile another story is clamoring to get out of my head and onto paper.