Bookish Bits: Lost in Study -
Medieval fun fact

Bookish Bits: Lost in Study

Bookish Bits - lost in study

July has come and nearly gone and the State of the Bookish Union appears not much different than it did in June. I’ve been lost in study. I’m stuck in that gear called “research” which feels like driving in circles.

I’ve never been much for research, but it’s growing on me. I’m currently reading a fascinating book called, The Medieval Traveler. It has already given me half a dozen ideas for the series I’m working on. We’ll see how many actually end up in the books.

For instance…

Did you know?

  • Merchants sometimes disguised themselves as pilgrims to avoid paying taxes.
  • The only goods usually transported over long distances were the expensive ones, things like silk, amber, and incense.
  • Sometimes travelers chopped down trees and made fences to protect their animals from predators.
  • More sailors died of scurvy between 1500-1800 than all those killed in battle or by disaster.
  • Often at hostelries or inns beds slept two, three, four or even ten people. Communal sleeping was not considered undignified, even for the rich. From this practice came the expression “cold shoulder” for what people gave their neighbor if a disagreement arose.
  • Important messages often went out with two messengers in case one fell ill or fell into enemy hands.

Medieval fun fact

As to writing…

Well, the research, as I said, may be keeping me from getting started on my next series, but that isn’t to say that I haven’t been writing. My research notes amount to just over 49K words at this point. Almost a novel in and of itself!

Of all the snippets and ideas I’ve ferreted away, the epic poem I’ve been working on is my favorite. I wish I could share it, but it’s critical to the plot so it would spoil things too much.

However I will share a song I wrote recently. One of the characters is an aspiring musician and I plan on having her sing it at some point:

And seven fires I will light upon these candlesticks
Seven fires to fill these dark and lonely days
Seven fires for the warmth of all your memories
Seven fires to cheer and guide you on the way

And seven times I cried the morning into breaking
Seven times I woke to find that you were gone
Seven times I lost all hope of your returning
But seven times the night was vanquished by the dawn

I have a tune for it and everything (though it might be hard to put that in the book). Believe it or not, I actually wrote it while stuck in traffic on the interstate one day. Time is never wasted when you’re a writer!

I’ve been rediscovering a love of poetry this summer. I’ve even taken to memorizing some much beloved verse. Some Shakespeare, Frost, Byron, T.S. Elliot, and Tolkien, among others. It’s been such a serendipitous adventure. I’m enjoying myself immensely.

By hook or by crook

My current plan is to finish the medieval book and then do a little bit of research on shepherding and blacksmithing. I’ll probably just do that research on the internet.

I will get this series going by hook or by crook! I’m so excited to get cracking. And yet, I feel the overall story is getting better and better with each delay. God’s timing is always perfect. Yet another thing I’ve come to know more deeply on this long and wandering road of writing.

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Comments (5)

  1. Jenelle July 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    That song is beautiful!! I love poetry… William Blake and Robert Frost are my favorites.

    Ooh, very interesting bits of information. I did know the one about the communal sleeping at inns and things. Did not know the others. I am very intrigued by this new series of yours!

    • DJ Edwardson July 25, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks for the compliment. It’s amazing how hard poetry is to write though, compared to fiction.

      I do hope you’ll enjoy the finished books and that they will be worth the wait.

  2. Abbey Stellingwerff July 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    I had no idea that so many people would have to share a bed in an inn! Would that be just men or would women have to share, too? Did women do much travelling? (I imagine not as much as men, yet my mind also jumps to the women in Canterbury Tales who were on pilgrimage.)
    Also, I am impressed that you have nearly 50k words of notes. Do you take them by hand or on the computer? I look forward to hearing more about your project in the future.

    • DJ Edwardson August 4, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Yes, the beds were not usually limited to a single sex. So not exactly an appealing prospect for the modest or the chaste.

      As far as the notes there are all in my Scrivener file, categorized within folders, such as “history”, “bestiary”, “plot”, etc. Hopefully the story will be richer for all the effort. I can’t wait to share more soon!

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