August 23rd, 2012



Churchbells ring like crazy at a quarter to eight, here. It gives one the impression that the village had best be up and about by now, not lying around like lazy slug-a-beds. :)

We had not planned any French Adventures yesterday, as my parents were arriving for their part of this vacation. I’d thought I could get quite a lot of writing done. Sadly, poor Young Indiana had a French Adventure of his own and was sick all of Tuesday night, so yesterday was pretty much a total wash. He’s feeling better now, poor lil guy.

Today we went to the citadel of Carcassonne, which is utterly amazing. It’s a walled citadel dating from the 1200s, although it apparently fell into huge disrepair and was totally restored in the mid-1800s. I could spend two weeks in the citadel alone. It’s just stunning. We ran out of steam before seeing the inner citadel and the cathedral, so we may actually go back, since it’s not like we’re going to see Everything here anyway. But wow, so completely awesome. And so very–

See, some years ago, not long after moving to Dublin, I came around a corner into an alleyway that was filled by two mounted policemen. It was an extremely startling, and for me as a fantasy novelist, visceral, encoutner. One reads about that all the time in books, but actually experiencing the unexpected size and breadth of the horses, and the fairly significant height of the riders, within the context of an actual medieval streetway, is pretty powerful. And Carcassonne’s citadel is filled with streets that are only just a little wider than a man’s reach, so putting those two pieces of physically-experienced imagery together gains increasing impact. Add to it the awareness that the streets were mucky, not cobbled, and filled with people–10,000 at Carcassonne’s medieval peak–and the reality of the cities you’re trying to build becomes all the more vivid. It’s wonderful.

And then there were sudden open spaces: market places, I imagine, or that’s certainly what they’re cast as in the cityscape of my mind. A single dominating church, with a huge courtyard of its own and broad streets leading to it, but all the streets leading to the broad one are narrow and twisty. I’m loving it.

Also, because so much fantasy seems to draw on French language in particular and culture in general, there’s a part of my mind that sees all the signs and notices in French and just sort of…thinks it’s in an epic fantasy novel. *laughs*

Through sustained effort I reached 15K on this book. Again. 3rd time. Said as much to my husband, who said, “Good. Now just do that 5 more times and you’ll be done.” *laughs* I’m not sure that was *exactly* the response I was looking for, but hey… :)

18617 / 70000 words. 27% done!

(x-posted from the essential kit)