Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to See the Elephant - Intro

"I think I should tell you, Thetis, that I have already telegraphed Colonel McMillen. Such an opportunity won't come along twice. The 95th Ohio looks like an excellent regiment."

Thetis Wymore's father has given her a choice --
while he is fighting for the Union, she can go live with the Shakers or she can go to the finishing school where her half-sister Amaryllis teaches. Eager for city life, Thetis picks education at Miss Barclay’s, under the simpering Miss Veda, where she is teased for being an abolitionist and cold-shouldered after a flea jumps out of her luggage. Naturally enough, when Thetis learns that her father has been wounded and possibly captured, she plans to run away. But everything changes when she is forced to bring Sheba, the slave girl that Miss Veda has made a pet of. Together Sheba and Thetis flee from Delaware to Kentucky, across a drought-stricken countryside under threat of Confederate invasion, both of them in search of a new life.

"Men lay on chairs pushed together, and still more were on the floor, head to foot and foot to head, perpendicular, diagonal, arms and bodies tangled together. Some were shivering with fever. Some were dead. The smell was terrible."

When Thetis finds her father, and witnesses the carnage of the battle of Perryville, she discovers a calling to nurse the wounded that will take her from the fields of Perryville to a riverboat hospital on the Mississippi River to an army camp outside Chattanooga. Under the guidance of Mrs. Hancock, a veteran nurse, Thetis begins a career that will take her through four terrible battles, as Thetis learns the meaning of sacrifice and the unsought costs of winning a war.

"Seeing the Elephant" is Civil-War era slang for going out to see the world and coming back experienced and wiser. How to See the Elephant is the story of how Thetis Wymore does just that.
How to See the Elephant
is divided into 8 parts (somewhat longer than chapters), with a prologue and an epilogue. Brief excerpts from each follow. The total word count is 139, 394.
I am currently seeking representation. If you wish to contact me, please do so at lauracanon@yahoo.com.

1 comment:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This looks like a wonderful story, Laura. I hope you find representation SOON.