Janet has made steady forward motion on organizing her book, The Astronomer’s Daughter. As writers, I think we often find that laying out the order of a non-fiction book is quite a challenge.
Tonight, Janet read a chapter which gives a fascinating background on Emily’s family–on her famous astronomer father, and his equally (and sometimes moreso) famous colleagues, some of them household names. These are the men Emily and her brother played baseball with at ‘company picnics’ as they grew up.
The chapter speaks of her father’s jealousies and rivalries, of his own battles with mental health issues–depression and a nervous breakdown–and his later feelings of guilt, expressed to Janet on one of her visits, that maybe his lack of showing love to her contributed to her schizophrenia.
It is a fascinating look at how his mind worked, to read from his journal, freely available at his university and part of Janet’s book, as he describes how he went about healing himself of his depression, even if it meant putting himself ahead of anyone else. He believed it worked. The reader may wonder how well that worked for his children.
We didn’t solve the question of where in the book this chapter should go, although Ross’s view was that it should be farther back, as we really need to know Emily well before branching off into her family.