Saturday, February 26, 2011

I know it's not March the 17th - yet

So  - a selection of interconnected yet unrelated events brought me here. I was thinking about luck. I had lunch recently with a very good friend who is an actress - she has spent years studying, auditioning and putting herself in essentially the 'right' place yet 'luck' - that is to say the random act of fate that can change lives, outcomes, futures in a stroke, has eluded her. She firmly believes in luck. I think I do too. More to the point I think I want to. That's why I went for March the 17th.

That's one reason I am here. Secondly my sons are currently researching a project on William the Conqueror - in some depth I have to say and they are really enjoying it - we are currently drawing up a family tree  - he had nine children. That got me thinking - my son was asked to write a story, from the perspective of an Anglo Saxon farmer, detailing how his life  changed after the Norman Conquest. He loved the assignment and did a great job. It inspired me to try to make these great historical characters and the man on the street equally into 'real' people - living, breathing, surviving, flawed, happy, in good health or sick.    

Reason number three. I am having my rather late New Year 'house audit' - that is to say blitzing overly bountiful cupboards and wardrobes, weeding out forgotten toys, duplicate books ( how do I seem to do that  so very successfully, buy the same thing twice I mean ? ) and trousers that now graze chins as opposed to feet. During my audit I came across a book I read at Christmas, pretty much in two happy bites and loved. The book is "The Year 1000" by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger. Not being overly entropic it does as it the title might suggest, describe what life was like at the turn of the first millennium. I absolutely loved the book and must have ferreted it away during a tidy session. I was thrilled to come across it again and sprinted immediately to the page that had  first grabbed my attention, in fact pages, 18 - 19, discussing the relevance and importance of saints:

"In the monasteries, morning prayers were said to that day's holy figures. Prayer was a way of asking a saint to pay attention to your own particular worries."  (p 18 )

"Each hero or heroine had their own lesson to teach. It could carry you through the day, a psychic talisman of encouragement and the geography of the saints' adventures - from Antioch to Seville, then north to Paris and Ireland - provided a lesson it itself about the varied shape and character of a world which extended further than we might imagine."( p19 )

Another, perhaps more flimsy reason, I often read with uncommon interest, the 'On This Day' section in The Times. 

So I decided on a project ( let's be honest also a mild diversion from what I should be doing which is finishing my book...). I wanted to gather small snippets of information about each day as it started, perhaps think about those various bits of information - births, inventions, saints, historical events, have those ideas permeate my ideas and learn new things too.

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