Tuesday, August 24, 2021

 August has been a month filled with events and completions. At last, An Awful Providence, Epidemic Typhus and Family History Told Through the Collected Letters of Harriet Rice. has been published and is available at the Union Historical Society for $15 per copy. Contact UHS for purchase information @ www.unionhistorucalsociety.org or call (207) 785-5444 to leave message. UHS is currently open Saturdays and some Wednesdays.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Things have changed! After my previous posting, I realized my manuscript was far from finished. I revised it with professional formatting and endnotes and submitted a complete manuscript, An Awful Providence: Epidemic Typhus and Family History told through the Collected Letters of Harriet Rice to Islandport Press in Yarmouth, Maine. This publisher specializes in publishing books that reflect "a New England sensibility...as well as characterize the culture and people."  Sent January 6, 2021.

The author's great grandmother Ann Rice French with her sister Harriet Rice Barrett at Shrubbery House, the Barrett's homestead in Union, Maine Circa 1870. Harriet collected family letters on which An Awful Providence is based..


Monday, October 26, 2020

Today I am writing my synopsis for An Awful Providence, a 64,000 work family history now completed and ready to submit for publication. My editor, Katie O'Sullivan has worked diligently to support the project to completion.  I am the only one who could write this family story since the source is unique to me - 150 letters I inherited, read and reread. I discovered gems on the rereads that I had missed the first time! And here is the protagonist, Harriet Rice Barrett, circa 1837. The Rice homestead riddled with typhus fever, two brothers dead, newly married to Amos Barrett and sporting a new wig.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Painting has been overshadowing serious writing on the novel for several months. I have had two exhibitions of my artwork here in Wellfleet. However, I had an article published in Discover Maine Magazine late May, using the novel's working title"The Ardent Spirit of Miss Harriet Rice." I spent a day in Friendship, imagining where Harriet may have stayed as she recovered from typhus in 1834. The library was not open. Sea air was believed to cure most illness and in the 1830's there were a number of boarding houses and cottages right on the rocky beach.

While I was in Union, I discovered that my family's gravestones at Lake View Cemetery had been cleaned, now gleaming pure white as they were originally. I miss the grey-green-orange patina, the way I first saw it, but lichens eat away at the granite.

Writing Again

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Today - Writing Again

After a two-year hiatus, I am writing again, feeling like a teabag left to steep in order to gain its full flavor and strength. The vision of the book and even the title has evolved and is now history, not fictionalized. Working title - An Awful Providence, the true story of Miss Harriet Rice. .

I had a non-ordinary experience, in broad daylight at Lake View Cemetery, North Union. There for the first time, visiting the burial site of my great, great grandparents, Nathan and Deborah Rice (their gravestone is posted below). The Historical Society had given me directions and a map of their plot. Admittedly, I was in an altered state, high with emotion and excitement. I had brought a simple geranium, not knowing I would be putting it at the base of an elaborate marker inscribed with quotes from the Book of Proverbs! I dug into the tough sod and planted. As I stood up, I witnessed a dark slanted shaft out of the corner of my left eye. Shaped like a flat bronze crystal, it slid quickly at a 45 degree angle into the ground into, as it turned out, the grave of James Bannister Rice, their son, who died of typhus 1835. That was the first apparition. Then,on the same day as I was driving out, and  under these two ancient sugar maples, I saw a youngish man in a brown suit coming toward me with a child, a barefoot girl who was holding flowers. I stopped and rolled the window to say hello. Neither answered. No reaction. They seemed to stare right through me and we had no interactions. Puzzled. I drove on... and looked back to see them in my rear view mirror. Not there. I turned completely around, to be sure...but they had completely vanished. Had I imagined the whole thing?

I have since found out that my apparition was most likely a residual haunting, benign and harmless, an imprint or disturbance on the atmosphere, a kind of playback of past events and triggered by increased energy levels at a certain location. Possibly related to the fact I had stopped to embrace the trees when I first arrived at Lake View Cemetery and I was already in an non-ordinary state of receptive energy.

Check out my web store  nancynicolart.com launched four years ago. I also exhibit at Burdick Art Gallery, Bank Street, in Wellfleet and am an affiliate member at Viridian Contemporary Art Gallery, West 28th St, NYNY

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Now back to work...

While in Maine this June, I spent time in Friendship, a beautiful coastal town with a rocky beach and many old homes and fixer-uppers. Harriet Rice, the hero of my novel, was sent to Friendship to recover from typhus in 1834, after her brother Albert died. It was believed that swamp air mixed with effluvia caused typhus and sea air would cleanse the lungs. Harriet was eventually called back home to assist in the care of her sick siblings, several of whom would also die from typhus.
The novel as it is going on is very much about farming, death and survival in rural Maine. This bandstand was here in Harriet's day; this green is where local men mustered during and after the American Revolutionand later at the beginning of the War Between the States, called by some the Civil War. This is also and where hogs on the loose were rounded up and kept in pens