Writers strike at the forge to sharpen their pens

Each day of my challenge has been that to me. One day I have no problem with putting down extra words, next I think it will kill me to find a single new word. What sanity shall I derive from this exercise in futility. Today is one of those days.

I’ll have about twenty thousand words written by tomorrow, I know that. Today is still a day of pride in the game I get to play against the world of words.


This week I start Camp NaNoWriMo

My goal this month is to write 50,000 intelligible words. When I get this done, I will be ready to go into editing and publishing of Knife’s Tell. 

Waffles, With Yeast

Sweet milk 2 cups; flour, 2 cups; yeast, 3 table-spnonfuls; 2 eggs; melted butter, 1 table-spoonful; salt, 1 salt-spoonful. Directions – Set the sponge over night; in the morning beat and stir in the eggs and butter; bake in waffle-irons.

Dr Chase 1887

Compote of Gooseberries

Ingredients – to a pint of syrup allow nearly a quart of gooseberries.

Mode.- Top and tail the gooseberries, which should not be very ripe, and pour over them some boiling water; then take them out, and plunge them into cold water, with which has been mixed a tablespoonful of vinegar, which will assist to keep the fruit a good colour. Make a pint of syrup and when it boils, drain the gooseberries and put them in; simmer them gently until the fruit is nicely pulped and tender, without being broken; then dish the gooseberries on a glass dish, boil the syrup for two or three minutes, pour over the gooseberries, and serve cold.

Mrs. Beeton 1892

A day of stagnant change

To edit or not to edit? This was the death of pages. I had written more than double the pages I currently have composed for the book. After going back and reading my own writing and doing a critical edit I cut out more than half of the slop. Pigs will not go hungry as long as I keep up the engagement that I have with this book. Yes it is the first time that I have really tried my hand and pen to this style of composition. Yet when I look at the mess of words situated within. I reflect that the sewer has backed up again and flooded my pages with stink. Others tell me how much they embrace the flow and caricature of what I have done so far, but for me it is a challenge not to scrap most of it. I believe that I will need to give my work to an outside editor in the future.

Here is a new segment piece from Knife’s Tell.

9 May, 1888 Narcissa met me soon as I emerged from the morning staff meeting. Questions were commanding her to request that she take the boy out for assessment of eloquence. Studying her face for a moment, I granted the request with specifications and limitations, directing my man to go with them. Having had little to eat the day before I bid Cook into bringing me a sumptuous breakfast. In short order she returned with fried ham and eggs.

Fried Ham and Eggs

Ingredients – Ham ; Eggs

Mode. – Cut the ham into slices taking care that they are the same thickness in every part. Cut off the rind, and if the ham should be particularly hard and salt, it will be found an improvement to soak it for about ten minutes in hot water, and then dry it in a cloth. Put it in a cold frying-pan, set it over the fire, and turn the slices three or four times whilst they are cooking. When done, place them on a dish, which should be kept hot in front of the fire during the time the eggs are being poached. Poach the eggs, slip them on to the slices of ham and serve quickly.

Mrs. Beeton 1892

Today secured itself with a bright sun lighting up the distance of clouds. Beams illuminated the hills where the river flowed to the city, causing the ground to blaze with colors. I needed to get out and a short walk of ten to twelve kilometers would be good in the brisk air. Sampling the country side this morning was a wonderful choice. Coming over a hill to where a branch ran across a meadow, I spied movement at the waters edge. At that moment a beautiful lass with dark auburn hair stood up from the waters. Her hair and skin taut in cool awakening, radiating in jeweled supremacy. Sun beams danced upon her nude body, malleable and changing, as a ballet conducted by a great master. Movements within air and earth would not have shook me more. Who was she, where had she come from alone in this countryside. My answers would not be conformed today. She ran as a faun when an errant shot is fired, with the glimpse of me on the horizon. The rest of today my thoughts have rested upon that image. I must find her again.

No excuses for finding the perfect words

There has been new stories in my life. I’m in the thrall of writing a book written for myself as much as for you. Today I feel I’m learning that life has to happen while you’re away. After spending a week in the hospital and not able to write. I could only lay there and think. What would make my dream come to the paper? In reality showing up for work, with fervent content in mind, would or could discharge the reprimand. Was I supposed to forget my promise to writing. No. You deserve more, and I demand better from the writer within. So without and within your servant of the pen brings you a new copy of page to peruse.

7 May, 1888 Having sent my man early this morning to a known house of mistresses with my needs one was hired and should arrive shortly.

Hearing the coachman’s call to the horses I walked to the window for a viewing of my newest hire. My second was at the gate waiting step in hand to assist in her departure from the box. In an instant she emerged her dress was day elegant. In a high collar button up bodice top with ruffles around the scalloped hem and round the collar down into a V at the top of her breast. Well manicured cuffs with four button sergeants around it. Her skirt made of the same linen ran to the ground bustled with four inch ruffles wrapping the whole of it to a pleated hem at the floor. Her hair was dark brown in curls along the face, pulled back into braids high on the crown and flowing long down her back. She traversed the walk to the house with grace of a poem stepping lightly on each note as not to harm it. Her skin was as alabaster carved smooth by the hand of a master without flaw to her beauty.

I greeted her at the front door with her soon to be student in tow. Offering her refuge in the study where we could talk, I sent Savant to the kitchen for tea and cakes. Learning that her name was Narcissa au Consort that had been taught at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. She had studied the languages of French, Italian, German, Latin, and Spanish so as to translate or teach. She had also excelled in math, the sciences, and etiquette ranking in the top five percent of her class. I was looking over her references when Savant entered with a tray and Narcissa rose to meet her. Impressive very impressive was her ease of use, the manners she had so well established into her life exploded into reality. Her references were of frank response and composed of obligatory response to her resplendent control of duties.

I felt well of leaving the boy in her capable hands and headed off for a brisk walk to the office and then to the club for dissension and banter with comrades. What would be the topics today Parliamentary procedures, economic struggle of the poor, best business practices, or the best way to break a stallion to harness? Never mind what it would be it would divert me till my nightly outing. Walking as I was my mind and my hunger turned to the unusual that appealed at so many of the Coffee houses. Today was to be a glorious day, turning the corner a house attendant was placing out the plaque that read today special Blackbird Pie. Calling to me greedily I stood at the marble top oak bar and ordered two servings.

Blackbird Pie

Stuff the birds with the crumb of a French roll soaked in a little milk, which put in a stewpan with 1-1/2 ounces of butter, a chopped shalot, some parsley, pepper, salt, a grate of nutmeg, and the yolks of two small eggs. Stir over the fire till it becomes a thick paste, and fill the insides of the birds with it. Line the bottom of the pie-dish with fried collops of rump steak, and place the birds on them neatly. Add four hardboiled yolks of eggs, and pour gravy all over, cover with puff paste, and bake for one hour and a quarter.


Leaning against the bar I overheard gentlemen talking about a man found dead laying in the streets. The report one man announced was he had had his throat pierced with a long blade from the front. The blade had apparently severed his spine and then ripped out sideways most malicious. The mans head laying oblique to the body when he was found. The proprietor rebuked them not to talk about such things while he was serving food. Disconcerted they went on to a new topic of less interest to me and gave time to survey the whole place. The bar worn utterly smooth with hands and coats had stood the test with only minor signs of repair. The walls likewise echoed the depression as high as a mans’ shoulder in the smoke stained wood. The barmaid slouched between men as they groped and laughed at her sham drunkenness. Pulling away, but not quite, she cleaved to the sound of coins in their purses. Who would be her master this day? How many coins could she draw from each of them prior to this games end? These Heathens of the flesh so unknown, would soon devour what coins they had and their muse would be gone.

The fragrances of tobacco, mixed with meat being smoked in the place developed an intoxication to my senses. I felt a hand casually reach past my coat to my waistcoat and I

clutched hold of the small wrist as my watch just left it’s secure in my pocket. The gamin convulsed to the vice upon it’s wrist pleading for clemency. The soft brown eyes swelling with tears as I turned to face them. Knowing that this lass would bilk me for all I possessed if allowed. Not willing to give up on the prize, I grabbed my watch and chain, slowly releasing her with a silent warning not to run. Standing before me now, I could see the shallows of her body as one that had missed too many meals. Pulling a coin from an inside purse, I placed it in her shaking hand. Looking up at me uncertain as to what I wanted, I waved her to go. She finally spoke to me so inaudible, a mouse would have to strain to hear her. The one item I did get was thank ya governor, in her shaking voice.

Not in want of wasted time, I headed to my next challenge. The Chapel simmered with prevision as the clouds rolled back to the sea. The moon gleamed it’s shadows in every corner, ignorant to the slaughter of morality it would witness. Sculptures made of flesh were my quest for tonight in the Chapel. I found it no great task to consume the visions of carnal knowledge put before me this night.

First week of Diary

Today I finished the first week of the diary Knife’s Tell. This draft still needs a proof reading and writing critique which I will have done soon. Now I only have about eleven more weeks to write. At this rate between the diary and receipts it will be approximately four to five hundred pages.
When I first started this book it was just a thought of a new study in Victorian cooking. Now it has a very nice mind to follow and have reveal the past future.

2 May 1888

Up early in this morning by a hard knock at the door from a frantic father to be. We immediately went to the street and caught a cab to the man’s house. The lady that he knew was in labor on a bed in the fifth floor apartment. Today he became the father of a fine son.
I hailed the cab back to the club where I found Charles sitting in the library, and had a literary talk about his Bleak House till dawn. We adjourned to the dining room to revivify our puissance. The chef never being one to dissatisfaction brought out a tray with two plates of Oysters a la Hollandaise, Eggs Molded a la Bedford in Cocottes, and Turkish Coffee.

Oysters a la Hollandaise
Poach the oysters, then drain them, dress them into a deep dish and cover them with Hollandaise sauce.