Salissay’s Laundries: Research Tabs (and Teasers)

I’m having so much fun writing Salissay’s Laundries–or maybe, I should say, researching it–that I must simply share all my currently opened tabs on the subject. FOR POSTERITY.

I’m currently almost 5000 words in, and probably just about halfway done. It will be one of the three new stories in my Dark Breakers collection, along with “Longergreen” and “Susurra to the Moon,” as well as the revisions and expansions of “The Breaker Queen” and “The Two Paupers.”

I haven’t done any huge, specific announcements about Dark Breakers yet, or a cover reveal, but that should be coming soon.

But while I’m here, DO let me share! This isn’t the extent of it by ANY MEANS, since I also close tabs when I’m done with them, but here’s today’s sampling:

ON WORKHOUSES

London Lives 1690-1800: Crime, Poverty, and Social Policy in the Metropolis: Workhouses Article

Workhouses of the Georgian era (Wikipedia)

The Representation of the Workhouse in 19th Century Culture (PDF)

Seventy-Four Years in the Workhouse

The Workhouse: Story of an Institution (A Tour)

The Workhouse: Story of an Institution (St. Pancras)

Ten Facts About Irish Workhouses

ON THE MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES

(I have done a lot of reading about these over the last few years, so these next few are really just a sampling.)

Magdalene Laundries in Ireland (Wikipedia)

Atlas of Lost Rooms: ‘Asylum’ on the site of the Sean MacDermott St Laundry since 1822. 

History Collection: These Religious Prisons Turned Orphans, Young Girls, and Pregnant Women into Slaves Inside Convent Walls (This was AMAZING and has a whole link tree to further reading that I found FASCINATING!)

Inwood’s Old Magdalene Asylum

New York Times’s “A Blot on Ireland’s Past, Facing Demolition”

The Last Days of a Laundry

Abbotsford Convent: Magdalen Laundry

Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation (Wikipedia)

ON WASHING MACHINES

I LOVE THIS! I JUST… I LOVE IT!

ON SEARCHING FOR METAPHORS AND A LITTLE GOSH-DARNED VERISIMILITUDE!

Bad Money: Ancient Counterfeiters and Their Fake Coins (ALL THIS RESEARCH BUT I HAD TO CUT THE METAPHOR! Ah, well. Maybe I can recycle it some day!)

Here’s from my cut file:

After a lifelong career as an investigative journalist, I am—if you will excuse the seeming boast—a woman considered above reproach, ruthless in the pursuit of Truth, firmly on the side of the People. But I do not believe that there is such a thing as “above reproach,” the other side of that old, tarnished “fallen women” coin. Beware this stuffed coin! It is a counterfeit! A fake! False scrip! I, like you, dear reader, am human. Ignorance and imperfection are part of this mortal coil. When I make a mistake in my reporting, I print a correction. Sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes the damage is already done. When I harm someone, I apologize and try to make amends. This does not mean my apology will be accepted, or that the amends will, in fact, compensate for the hurt I caused.

Scientific American: Of Lice and Men: An Itchy History

Nature.com’s “Lousy Heirlooms”

Finally, I will leave you with a snippet from today’s draft. Now, don’t get too excited or critical. It’s a first draft. Things change. Like my false money metaphor that I loved and lost. (See above.)

Yet there was a rhythm in that washing room, a song within that thunderous noise. It was a song of celebration, a proud song; it lauded human invention and human industry. I found it overwhelming and also beautiful. If I did believe in the gentry, I could also believe that this song could cure whatever spell they set upon me. It took over me bodily, worked me harder than I was perhaps willing to work, and left me, by my luncheon, wrung-out and elated.

But I did not mean to waste the rest of my afternoon breathing steam and elbow-deep in suds. I meant to go exploring. And so, on an exploratory journey to the toilets, I found my way into the Infirmary, the Kitchen, and lastly, to the Confinement Room, where a pregnant young woman was bound to the iron rails of her bed by manacles of iron.

She looked at me, and I thought for a moment I could see her eyes glow green in the dark, like a wolf’s, before she turned her face away. But I approached  her nevertheless.

“Can I help you?” I asked softly. The closer I came to her, the less I smelled the overpowering odor of the room—old blood and sour milk and the fug that settles in an inner chamber with no windows or ducts to conduct air into or through it—and the more I smelled a scent like cream and violets, like lavender and wine, like antique silk and new-cut grass and heavy velvet and crushed autumn leaves.

“You?” she asked, turning once again those strange (sea-glass) eyes upon me. “What can you do, mortal?”

“I—” I began, but that is when I was caught. 

“Miss Dee, is it?” asked a kindly voice behind me. I say “kindly” but it was a kindness that chilled all the nerves running through my spine, till I felt my vertebrae crackle like icicles.

“Her Holiness the Abbess Caelestis the Fifth will see you now.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Salissay’s Laundries: Research Tabs (and Teasers)

  1. csecooney

    Reblogged this on and commented:

    Carlos and I continue to work on our game. Our fiction projects are more separate. He is drafting his novel Thig, whilst I am completing a collection of shorter work called Dark Breakers. The following serves as a sort of bibliography for one of those stories.

  2. I like those sea glass eyes. You do have some very intriguing tabs open! And I don’t know if I said, but all your new stories’ names are fabulous.

    Down the road from me is a spot that used to have a poorhouse on it, and the local historian had some great (well: harrowing) stories from it. (one here)

    • csecooney

      I logged in at Dreamwidth, but alas, it says I do not have permission to view your content! I’m “csecooney” there as well. I don’t know if I have to be in a filtered set of friends?

    • csecooney

      Do you know your local historian? Are you acquainted with them? Are they the sort of person you can invite over for tea and pick their brains?

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