What Your Teacher Wasn’t Suppose to Read
I’ve read some of these before, little notes written in margins or on scraps found inside book bindings. I can relate right now to these medieval scribes. See if you can figure out why.
Complaints by Medieval Scribes
New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.
This page has not been very slowly written.
The parchment is hairy. The ink is thin.
Thank God it will soon be dark.
Oh, my hand.
Now I’ve written the whole thing. For Christ’s sake, give me a drink.
Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.
St. Patrick from Armagh, deliver me from writing.
And my favorite:
As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.
I’m a long way from the last line right now.
How I Would Rewrite These Scribe Complaints
New version of Word crashing. I say nothing more.
This page HAS been very slowly written.
Laptop battery is dead. The charge is slow.
Oh God, why did you create electricity?
Oh, my hand. (And wrists, and shoulders, and elbows.)
I can’t seem to write the whole thing. Give me a drink!
Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides. (I couldn’t improve on this one!)
Oh shopping girlfriend, save me from writing.
As the hot tub is welcome to sore muscles, so is the typing of The End to the novelist.
I feel a kinship to these ancient scribes, although my complaints are nearly as charming.
Enya’s Son Research
Today it was about Enya’s daughter. Her job is to tend the herbs. When I found the following YouTube video, my imagination went soaring. Listen, and you’ll probably see why!
Enya’s Son Update
I was searching a place where my character Enya is from. She has escaped a painful childhood, and just got some sad news about that place. And I find this. I hope you enjoying listening as much as I did. I don’t know what the Irish means, but I do know the song mentions this place.
Exciting New Discoveries!
Those of us who read historical novels like there to be some accuracy in them. The story needs to be true to its setting. Since I having been writing stories set in ancient Ireland, in the 5th and 6th centuries, much of what I write about is based, necessarily, on legends. The setting is the best I can make it with what is known, thanks in great part to archaeological discoveries. And as technology gets better, more is proven and discovered, which I think is really exciting.
The Discovery of St. Columcille’s Cell on Iona
When I read this, I was really excited because I’m currently writing about St. Columcille! The end of the story will put him in this cell, that was discovered about sixty years ago but only recently dated to his lifetime. Where I’m at now in writing the novel, he’s not on Iona yet, but I’m following the stories of his life and will get there. Proving that a figure from so long ago actually was in the place where historical accounts put him, and that the whole story is not a fantasy, is really incredible if you think about it.
The Truth of Old Celtic Stories…
…are often not the point of telling them.
The spiritual significance of these historical figures lies in what we can apply to our lives and how we might carry on the legacy of faith. That’s why I write my novels. But sometimes I do get critics who insist these people never really lived, never really carried on the way the legends say they did, never could have accomplished the feats that made them into saints.
But I say, not so fast. To believe that is to deprive ourselves of the privilege, and the responsibility, of striving to do the same. If we don’t live lives worthy of having tall tales told about us one day, we’ve failed to carry the torch and give our lives real meaning. So I say be inspired by the tales of old, and realize that you too can make a difference.
Since I write historical fiction, I’m really interested in reenactments. There are plenty of Civil War and pioneer reenactments around here, but that’s not the era I’m currently writing in. So you can imagine how excited I was to find this video. It may not completely describe my setting—this one claims to be pre-historic to early Christian, which is a huge range—but overall it gives you a very good feel of the word of Columcille and his mother Eithne (Enya.)
Second Guessing God: Hanging On When You Can’t See His Plan by Brian Jones
“Why does God allow bad things to happen?” This book is Jones’s response to that question. Like a good friend, Brian comes alongside those seeking help in trials of life to help them find meaning and strength.
While there is nothing shockingly new in this book, it’s a wonderful testimony of what Brian Jones has learned in his life. He writes in a relatable voice that feels as though you are having a conversation in his study.
There were a couple of places that really spoke to me. The chapter on Doubt is honest and impactful. Jones says, “At the heart of a life filled with unanswered questions lies the very nature of Christianity. Our faith is about a relationship with Jesus, not an adherence to a set of intellectual ideas we can memorize and master. Doubt reminds us of this.”
Another part that stood out to me was the chapter on Church. “We’ve become a nation of church shoppers…If the preaching gets boring at our church, we pull out the yellow pages. If the worship style changes, we go to First Church’s early service. If our Sunday School class starts to get too impersonal, we don’t sweat it; we try the hot new church in town..I can’t help but think this must make God sad….If you jump ship when things get tough, you’ll condemn yourself to one long journey of spiritual superficiality.” He goes on to give the example of his parents who have attended the same church for decades. He says, “…they’ll look back and savor the memories a lifetime of faithful participation in one congregation brings. They’ll look back and relish the dangerous conversations they didn’t avoid, sins they were encouraged to confront, and authentic Christian friendships it took a lifetime to develop.”
Just a few examples of the kind of personal, heartfelt conversations that this book makes you feel like you are having.
This is a departure from my usual blogging. We read to escape reality sometimes, but the truth is, we do have to live in the present. I promise after this I’ll go back to my usual topics.
America Gets Advice From Europe
I read a tweet this morning that prompted me to write this. It wasn’t from someone I follow, but was a RT from someone I follow. This person is probably European, I would guess, because I have read similar things from non Americans in Europe. The writer was referring to the shooting on a baseball field in Alexandria, VA, and a shooting at a UPS facility in San Francisco that happened on the same day.
This is basically what it said:
Dear America, Shooting elected officials. Shooting co-workers. Always shooting. Get rid of your guns. There is a better way.
Dear Europeans, Learn the Truth
People who don’t live in America and haven’t traveled here have been misled to think that Americans are all armed, walking around with rifles and hand guns, engaging in gun fights like the old Wild West. But think about that. If that were true dozens of people yesterday would not have had to run for shelter. Those there that day would not have reason to say what Representative Rand Paul said: “Our lives were saved by Capitol Police. Had they
not been there, I think it would have been a massacre.”
Get rid of our guns? Who exactly are you addressing with that statement?
Dear America, improve your justice system. Improve your mental health programs. Report suspicious behavior. Be vigilant. Pray for peace.
But whatever you believe, know that Americans are not always shooting each other. We don’t condone this stuff.
Of course we agree there is a better way. There is no need to tell us that. Of course we don’t believe the way to influence politics is to shoot those who disagree. (That country does exist, but it’s not us!) These shootings are the work of mentally unstable people who got their hands on guns. That is what needs to be addressed. That is not America. If you believe that, you’ve been misled.Click To Tweet
The One I’m Currently Writing Anyway
Today, June 9, is the Feast of St. Columba. In Irish his name is Columcille, meaning “Dove of the Church.”
His mother was like Hannah of the Bible in that she prayed desperately for a child. When he was born, she fostered him to the church much like Hannah did for her son Samuel. There was probably an intent by the monks who wrote the story down to make that comparison, but it fascinates me true or not. And that’s all it takes sometimes to get my novelist mind turning.
If you’d like to know more about Saint Columcille, I’ve written a blog post that links to a previous one. Go here.