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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

*drowning the Tudors in a bucket*

I've figured out why this damned book is kicking my ass right now. It's because I've reached the part of the narrative where I have to explain what the hell these people are doing, and why, and what the motivation is. And thereby hangs the tale. Because the Elizabethan history is exactly what's kicking my ass.

Because it doesn't make any sense.

It's random and arbitrary and totally opaque and nobody on earth has any idea why any of these people were doing what they were doing, and I have to turn it into a narrative arc. This whole bizarre nest of apparently random betrayals and counter betrayals and minor insurrections and nonsensical pardonings and what the hell was Elizabeth thinking, and what the hell was Robert Cecil trying to pull, why the HELL didn't anybody ever put a bullet in Robin Poley's thrice-be-damned head?





They're like five year olds.

"Why did you do that, Mr. Secretary?"

"Uh. Dunno."
Just my footprint to show I was here... still reading... sans the eardrum that last "why" blew out.

Seriously, I never realized how difficult this all was until I started at LJ. I know it doesn't help but wanted to tell you that you all have given me a much different appreciation for the books I read. Now, I think they're definitely underpriced compared to everything that goes into them.

Hope you're feeling better by the time you read this.
Yeah, the research is good because it gives you fabulous ideas. The trick is making all the ideas together in a manner that makes sense.

because real life doesn't, and fiction has to.

Although I like the period very much, I'm weak in historical knowledge of it, so of course take what I say with bricks of salt, not just a pinch of it. But it seems to me that the complication of motives is, in part, because there were so many different kinds of pressures and demands operative during the period. There's the threat of Spain, the threat of Catholicism it brings with it, the threat from unhappy people at home seeking support from Catholics abroad, the spread of printing making the flow of information more common and more dangerous, a better understanding of the size of the world showing how many opportunities might be missed (and wealth and power lost in consequence), the whole inheritance situation. . . . I could go on for a while and still have things to say; but my impression is that it boils down to the fact that threats and opportunities and demands surrounded everyone to such a degree that multiple motives and desires and goals might underlie a single action, and long-term strategy might have been difficult to maintain. It seems to me that a lot of the time reactions are being made in response to the uppermost pressures of the moment, but those pressures were different from person to person.

Which does, I can see, make turning it all into a coherent thread of narrative a huge challenge. I wish I had a suggestion for how that might be approached; but in the absence of helpful ideas, might I suggest the salve of ice cream? Or perhaps some judicious burning of effigies? A paper doll of Poley would probably make quite a pretty flame.
Ooo. Ice cream.

*laughs at the image of a flaming Poley.*
You know, what you REALLY need for that user icon is an animation showing the little International Stick Figure banging its head on the desk.
I do! But I don't know how to build an animated .gif, and I probably don't have the software to do it if I did.

Any volunteers?
Sorry. My Dada is stronger than intended.

Matociquala's little pictograms fouled me up. That was meant to be a reply to the post, not to this particular comment.

Clearly this is a sign I need to go to bed. Right. Now.
I've read some scholars who made sense, but the one who made the most meta-sense to me was Frances Yates, with respect to Elizabethan thinking.
It's not the thinking that gives me fits: I've got a pretty good handle on the Elizabethan mindset at this point (Christ, I hope.)

It's the often contradictory actions. *g*
Ah, yes. There's that. (I do not envy you the scope and challenge of this project, though I am sure it will be much fun to read.)
Assuming I don't destroy it in the process of writing it--but the vote of confidence is very much appreciated.
You will not destroy it in the process of writing it.

Sheesh. Silly Matociquala.
Yes, mistress.

Thank you, mistress.
Heh. Yeah, damn fiction. Always has to make more sense than real life.

The good news is I don't feel I'm alone. There's one point in Antony & Cleopatra where I can almost feel Shakespeare's frustration. "Cleopatra did What? That stupid cow--"
Stupidity, illogicity, rashness, misplaced good intentions, affairs of the heart, impulsivity, desire for conformity, and rationalisation of all, some, or none of the above.

Just a little bit vague for your purposes, I know.

Want to make the stick figure icon but only animation program is at home, not work.
Well that's just no fair for anybody, is it?
Still at work. *sob*

Welcome to History

It doesn't get any easier later on.

The buildup to WWI is full of strange things done for no apparent reason.

And don't even get me started on Wilson.
I'll take the cock-up and sheer aleatory happening view of history over the conspiracy theory any day. However, on one of my academic mailing lists someone is asking about works on Elizabethan espionage and intelligence work - you have probably read much more than they have already, but if any brilliant suggestions come up would you like them passed along?
Sure, and if they have any questions I could answer, kick them on over.