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August 6, 2012

No really. These guys. WHY ARE THEY SO OBSCURE.

For those of you who don’t know what’s going on and why I see it as a necessity to use all caps, I’ve found my monks. The three monks whose existence gave me the idea for “Portraits” and the basis of my thesis. I FUCKING FOUND THE FUCKERS. I actually thought maybe I was going crazy, that I had just imagined and/or dreamed them up. Because sometimes that happens, you know. Where you think you’ve done something and then realize later that no, you only dreamt you finished that biology homework and you actually need to rush to the library and print out that worksheet and fill it out faster than you’ve filled out any worksheet in your life because class starts in 10 minutes and printers are not morning people.

Aaaaaaand now I feel bad for swearing at my monk babies. I’m sorry. But let me tell you the story! So I read the section of my book Anglo-Saxon England that I’d thought they be in, yes? And they weren’t there and I was depressed. But I went through the great and mighty Table of Contents, which is super detailed, and looked at all the sections that might have the two sentences that prove my babies exist. Sadly, I was once again unsuccessful, though I did get some nice notes and “to-dos” about time-lining events. I was depressed, discouraged, because that meant I would have to speed-read a 900 page textbook when I already have a 900 page fiction book I need to read.

And what do I do when I get depressed? I search the internet.

So basically I key-mashed all the keywords to the story I could think of into Google. That led me to a rather sketchy article about Jesus and a really broad summary of Viking activities, but the THIRD link I clicked was a nice Alfred-centric article by Bernard Cornwall. It had a foreign relations section that I skipped too. AND IT CONTAINED THIS SENTENCE: “The visit of the three pilgrim “Scots” (i.e. Irish) to Alfred in 891 is undoubtedly authentic.”

For anyone whose interested, the Bernard Cornwall article is here

Anyway, I kind of freaked out and stuck that sentence into Google with the phrase “white martyrdom of exile” since just putting the sentence in there just got me a bunch of websites/articles that quote Cornwall. AND THEN, somebody lost a copyright somewhere because the entire text of the book Celtic Britain and the Pilgrim Movement is online here. AND THEN MORE IMPORTANTLY Chapter II of said text discusses reasons for pilgrimage. AND THEN MOST IMPORTANT, LIFE-CHANGING OF ALL said this:

“The Celts carried their imagination into the

sphere of religion and aspired after an ideal perfection,

which they thought attainable only by ascetic life.

A quaint and quixotic notion underlies the following

in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 891 :

‘And three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat without

any oars from Ireland, whence they had stolen away,

because they desired for the love of God to be in a state

of pilgrimage, they recked not whither. The boat in

which they came was made of two skins’ and a half,

and they took with them enough food for seven days,

and then about the seventh day they came ashore

in Cornwall, and soon afterwards went to King Alfred.

Thus were they named : Dubslane, and Macbeth and

Maclinmun.’ ”


So either those two sentences are actually in Anglo-Saxon England and I haven’t found it yet OR I misremembered and I actually read about them in the sections of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that were handed out in class. We’ll see. Anglo-Saxon England is an invaluable asset in either case, being chock full of useful information about events and life-ways of my subjects. Also, I had a major freak-out about the names. AREN’T THEY AMAZING. I love them. They have names!!!

Speaking of books, I’ve ordered some more that could potentially be useful in the future. There was a sale at the paperback club Dad belongs to. Book #1 is reviewed to be the preeminent text on early Scotland, which I plan on devouring.  Book the second was a dictionary on the meaning of flowers in early Victorian England. Yes, a bit odd, but super colorful. Victorians, especially early Victorians, would use flowers to communicate their feelings, different plants and different colors meaning varying things. It’s like today where a white rose connotes purity, a yellow one offers friendly feelings and of course red is passion and romance. But in Victorian England. Which is cool. The third book was an index of medicinal plants and recipes. I find it super fascinating, it’ll be useful for the apocalypse, and it’s relevant if I ever want to write an herbalist, which I do. Looking at these books, my non-fiction library is very…eclectic? Hippyish? Scary? Strange? I least I didn’t get the book that taught you how to do seances or Renaissance tarot readings okay. Though the seance one was highly praised and the Renaissance one is semi-relevant. Maybe later. Unfortunately, I forgot the titles because I’m a bit spastic at the moment and MONKS, GUYS. I FOUND THE MONKS.

One book that I got awhile ago, but is absolutely BRILLIANT is Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: a handbook for the visitors to the fourteenth century. It reads like an actual travel guide, describing everything from the landscape to what to wear/eat/do/stay. Brilliant? Fantastically brilliant.

Welp, that’s it for now, though I should have more updates soonish since I’ve found my monks and can therefore timeline and plan more cohesively plan plots. But for now, I’m off to rejoice and watch some Olympic dressage. Hope all is well with you! May your pen stay inked, your tongue sharp, your victories glorified and your enemies beheaded!


From → Thesis

  1. Yay! Good for you! Also, love the sign-off. 😀

  2. Also, here’s a relevant quote from the “Congratulations! You’ve just posted something!” page:

    “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
    -W. Somerset Maugham

  3. Thanks! I don’t know if that quote is incredibly freeing or incredibly damning….

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