My process of writing a chapter has evolved considerably since I first started this project over five years ago.
The first few chapters were challenging as I was struggling (in my own mind) with my right and authority to tell this story. Also, I did not know how much primary information would be available and I worried about creating a richly layered narrative. Finally, there was the challenge of finding a publisher. I wondered about whether it made sense to pursue the project if a publisher could not be found.
In contrast, chapters nine through eleven almost wrote themselves because by then I had overcome my doubts and knew I had plenty of primary sources. Most important, the “what’s the point” question became irrelevant. The “point” became the wonderful story and my need to tell it as best I can. In a sense, I found answers to the “what’s the point” question in these questions: If not now, then when? If not this, then what? Why not me?
So, I have been in a meditative state over the last couple of weeks, as I have been reading and (subconsciously) digesting the available information and trying to arrange it in a narrative arc. Chapter 12 covers 1886 and below is its outline:
- Anandi’s graduation
- Her thesis – what it tells us about her and about that era in Indian women’s health
- Job offer from India and congratulations from the Queen
- Deteriorating health
- Gopal’s continuing adventures
- Internship in Boston
- Preparing to return – letter from mother, to mother-in-law
- Among the Bostonians
- Return to India
- Reception in Mumbai, Pune
Since I mostly write on the weekends, I expect it will take me about two months to complete this chapter.