Thursday, June 01, 2006

Writers' brains

I realized yet again last night that writers' brains do not work like other people's.

It was our final "preview performance" of the play before opening night, and I was sitting in the green room in full 1900s farmwoman costume, reading "Common Women : Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England". (Strange choice for bringing to read at a kids' play, you say? Yes, I suppose so. But they're mostly teenagers, and it's not like I'm letting them READ it.)

But one of the older cast members sits next to me, and says "How's the research coming?" He'd asked about it before, so I'd mentioned my book and all.

"Good," I say cautiously. I don't like to be all pretentious and writer-y.

"Yeah?" he asks. "Did you find any good information?"

Hmm. I look at him, considering. He seems genuinely interested, not just polite. And he did ask a follow-up question.

"Yeah, I did!" I say, allowing some of my excitement to show. "I found a quote I can use! See here?" I flip back a few pages, to a place marked with a sticky note. "It's a real medieval insult recorded in a court case. 'Any man could meddle with her for a half-penny.' Isn't that cool? I can use that somewhere!"

I look up. He's staring at me, with an expression that clearly indicates that I'm somewhere on the outer edges of the lunatic fringe. "Yeeeesss," he says. His gaze flicks up over my head, then away to the other side of the room, clearly distancing himself from crazy medieval girl. "I suppose you could."


"But it's real," I mutter to myself under my breath. "I can use that somewhere."

It was exciting, to me. It always is when I find something new I can add in, or make a connection. But really, I don't know why I bother. They just don't understand.

Medieval Word of the Day: hotfoot:
With eager or rapid pace; in hot haste; hastily.


Vicki Pettersson said...

Yes, you're all alone in the world, freaky-chica. The same thing happened to me when I was reading a book about medieval cures and curses. My boss walked into the showgirl dressing room (obviously this was a few years ago) and asked what I was reading. Idiot that I was I thought she really wanted to know. What'd I get in return? _That look_.
I didn't bother after that, either.

Susan Adrian said...


Thank God I have y'all, so I know that I am not entirely alone. If I was surrounded by only non-writers I WOULD feel freakish.

Suze (happily medieval chick)

Rose said...

Hi Suze,

I get that too. "Whatcha reading, Rose?"

"Oh, just _The Rape of Nanking_"

[glazed look here, but I usually don't get it yet, so I go on...]

"Yes. Did you know that the Imperial Japanese went to China and......"

Then I realize they're *not* interested and they try to get away as fast as possible from the crazy Pacific War Buff chick.

Or I get the look. The look that says, "Please God, don't let her go on about Wake Island..." {g}


Susan Adrian said...


LOL! Thank goodness you guys understand....

Julie K said...

Oh, I understand it [g]. Of course, I read those kinds of books for fun, and not for research [cough].

Which reminds me: I have a girlfriend studying medieval linguistics - she had a great book on a woman who lived in the early 1300s; her life, her times, her financial transactions, etc. I'll try and remember to find out the name and pass it on!


Julie said...

Don't know if you're interested, but here's the book I mentioned: