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10.8.08

Medieval Life

First up, I’m doing this blog from the perspective of a 21st century girl. I’m pretty sure a medieval girl took things as they were. I’m sure the justice system in the middle ages was just a “that’s how it is” thing, just as overpriced gas is a “that’s just as it is” thing now. You accept things as they are because that’s your point of reference. So…as a 21st century girl, here are a just few things I really don’t think I’d tolerate well:

Cold—I don’t take it well now. I don’t think I’d survive if it was the pervasive circumstance of six months of the year. Lots of people died during medieval winters. I would because my fragile system would rebel and give me an ultimatum. Warm up now or I die. I wouldn’t last…

The unwashed masses—this really doesn’t need explanation. A bath once a year doesn’t cut it. Yes, bathing was expensive back then. Let me tell you, characters in my books are terrible money wasters. They bathe often. Yes, I tell a velour version of history.

General lack of cleanliness—dogs as napkins? No thank you. Dropping scraps to the floor? No thank you. That bathing thing…no no no.

Illiteracy—I’m a writer…reading is a must. It keeps society from being over-taken by misogynistic jerks who manipulate the uninformed. It also keeps me in chocolate.

Pox/plague—No thank you. Although…we have our own new versions of the plague/pox. I may need to think on this one a bit. I just know I don’t want to deal with anything like the black plague. Ever.

The Hun Next Door—Living in fear of invasion, attack and pillage isn’t my cup of tea. Give me a good domestic defence system any day of the week. Even the infrequent, handsome knight in tarnished armour wouldn’t do it for me. I would certainly have signed up to boil the oil for castle protection…

No internet or phones!!!—I would not survive in these dark days. I need mass communication. I thought I would die last summer when I was without my cell phone and the internet for a week. I don’t think I’d make it too long in the middle ages. Town Crier? That just won’t do it.
Rats—C’mon! See uncleanliness and plague. Besides. I scream if I see a mouse. Lots of big rodents would send me into an irreversible state of insanity. Burn me at the stake please.

As I’m doing research, I’ve come up with quite a few things like this. These are really just the tip of the flea-ridden masses. Does it stop me from writing about that period of time? No. Because there are plenty of things I really like about the middle ages—but that’s another write up.

Anyway, why am I researching the middle ages? One of my stories in the Legend anthology, which came last month, took place in the middle ages. Single White Knight which comes out in September starts in the middles ages and in November, I have another medieval in the Brits in Time anthology. Besides...it's my favorite time period.

Here's a peek at A Legend Arises:

Legend has it that long, long ago, a great knight fell in love with a fair maiden…
Emma knew her entire life that she’d eventually marry Ailig and be the lady in his castle. But she had dreams of freedom which weren’t befitting to a lady of her standing. Still she yearned for Ailig and the unknown of his arms. As Ailig’s wife she learns her true freedom is in his arms and bondage is the emptiness she feels when they’re parted. Instead of wishing for freedom, she fears for her love’s safety while he does his king’s bidding.

Though she endeavours to hide her apprehension, Ailig knows of his bride’s anxieties yet duty to king and country compels him. Before answering each call to service, he promises to safely return. But there are some perils that even a knight can't overcome...

1 comment:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Yeah, life in medieval times was pretty miserable. On top of all the physical deprivations that you mention, there was the fear that you'd sin and go to hell. Not to mention the lack of freedom. No one was really free. The peasants were tied to the land. The lords were bound to serve their liege with men, arms, money, supplies. Women... well, even the noble women were basically chattel, with no rights or freedoms at all...

I think it must take a huge dose of imagination to make the Middle Ages romantic. They weren't called the Dark Ages for nothing!