It's often said that writing is a lonely enterprise. There's good reason. Writers live inside their imaginations for long periods of time exploring story lines, picturing their characters, considering conflicts. When asked about a current WIP, we find it difficult to explain because we're still exploring possibilities. But if you live with a writer, are married to a writer, or just care about one and hope to keep the relationship on a happy note, never, ever say, "And you want to write about that?"
During the course of research, especially when writing historical fiction, we come across information that is rather hard to digest today. For example, in Dragon's Legacy I included the deplorable situation where white men kidnapped Irish children from the Mexican families who were adopting them not because they were concerned about their welfare but solely on the notion that white children should not be adopted by Mexicans. Never mind the fact that, at that time, the Irish were considered "non-white" lesser beings, unemployable and segregated from white Ango-Saxon Protestants on nearly the same scale as Mexicans and African-Americans.
Never mind that it was a Catholic agency placing Catholic children with Catholic families. White men rode into the mining towns of Clifton and Morenci during a summer thunderstorm and pulled children from their beds at gunpoint. Some came down with pneumonia as a result, some were shipped off to white families who used them as slaves. It was an ugly incident--and I wanted more people to know this happened.
Recently, my spouse asked what I was working on, so I told him. I tried to discuss the horrific practice of tarring and feathering. Hence the title of this post. I'm certain that most people--and definitely most Americans--have never considered just exactly what being tarred and feathered entailed. How anyone ever survived it amazes me. And yes, I do want to write about it, describe it in full detail, and show how the people of the times reacted to such a practice.
I don't think I'll be using the spouse as a beta reader, however.