Fishwife–She’s Here, There, and Everywhere

I’ve heard that one of the first rules of blogging, if you are also a “real” writer, is to not let your blog take over your “real” writing. For example, if you consider yourself a real writer, you have to be careful not to spend more time writing and posting your work on your own blog than you do working on legitimate assignments or projects, no matter how fun and tempting your blog is.

I finished a deadline early today, and I am currently waiting for a call-back, so I am now writing and posting something on my blog without guilt.    

I’ve been eager to let you know about another “fishwife” reference that I recently stumbled upon. 

(Please see the post “Fishwife: A Tale of Unpopularity” from January 6, 2008 for background)

Something I enjoy while George is away fishing is spending my last waking moments each night reading books. I recently finished a book called Year of Wonders. It is a work of historical fiction that centers around a housemaid in an English village that lost most of its population to the bubonic plague in 1666. It’s one of the most well-written and, well, troubling (in a good literary way) books I’ve ever read.

There is a difficult scene at the end of the book in which the adult daughter from a wealthy and privileged family is caught attempting drown her mother’s newborn baby. Anna is the housemaid/midwife who delivered the baby and (thank goodness) manages to stop the drowning. I was, of course, horrified while reading the scene. I then came across this line:

“We were screaming over each other now, like a pair of fishwives. She raised a hand to call a halt to it.”

I chuckled ever-so-slightly to myself over the use of the term “fishwife” and knew I would report the finding here as soon as I had the chance. I can honestly say that as…spirited as I may be at times, I have never actually screamed over anybody, and certainly not another fishwife.

It’s a known phenomenon that when one is in the market for a new car, and that person has in mind the exact car that he wants, he suddenly begins to see that make of car everywhere in town. 

I wonder if it is the same with “fishwife”. Now that my attention is turned to the term, I seem to see it here, there, and everywhere. Then again, maybe I’m just keeping a subconscious eye out for it. Either way, it always proves amusing. And who can’t use a little more amusement?

Leave a Reply