Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Revisiting "Research, Research, Research"

Photo Credit: Fuel Your Writing

In the coming weeks you will notice some changes around here. Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, Esther, of Seattle Moms Deal Finder, I’ve learned some new blogging tricks that I’ll be integrating into both new and old posts. If you have more tips or tricks for me, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave me a comment or post on my Facebook page, A Word in Season. I’m open to both positive and constructive criticism, as both are foundational to growth and expansion.

Though eager to get back into my flow, I’ve been finding it so difficult to write again. I discovered one reason while writing this several days ago and another reason while nursing my head cold with a good book this afternoon. The first reason boils down to research. I researched for over a month before I wrote my first lines about Queen Sophia Charlotte, and the truth is that her life was far less complicated than Queen Victoria’s.

Writer's Block
Photo Credit: Alexandra Sheppard

The second reason is more perplexing and possibly even a bit cliché. It’s that disturbing foe, writer’s block. Of course, I'm hopeful that continued research will help get the flow moving, but the fear that it won't is lurking beneath the surface even as I write these words.

I found a perfect description of the bane of every writer’s existence, and I was both encouraged and further terrified. In his novel, The Zahir, Paulo Coelho writes, “I notice that I go through the same process as I did when writing my first book: I wake up at nine o’clock in the morning, ready to sit down at my computer immediately after breakfast; then I read the newspapers, go for a walk, visit the nearest bar for a chat, come home, look at the computer, discover that I need to make several phone calls, look at the computer again, by which time lunch is ready, and I sit eating and thinking that I really ought to have started writing at eleven o’clock, but now I need a nap, I wake up at five in the afternoon, finally turn on the computer, go to check my e-mails, then remember that I’ve destroyed my Internet connection; I could go to a place ten minutes away where I can get online, but couldn’t I, just to free my conscience from these feelings of guilt, couldn’t I at least write for half an hour?”

Phoenix Rising
Photo Credit: Unique Visions

He goes on to describe what happens once his muse strikes, and my favorite writing quote of all time is found several paragraphs later, “When I used to read biographies of writers, I always thought they were simply trying to make their profession seem more interesting when they said that ‘the book writes itself, the writer is just the typist.’ Now I know that this is absolutely true…”

I trust that the more I force myself to face my enemy today, the less I will have to face him in the future. Unfortunately, this writer is far more experienced than I am, and it seems that he has only made friends with this adversary rather than vanquishing it. I will do my best to do the same and have patience with myself in the process. Meanwhile, I beg you to also have patience with me in the process.

Until next Wednesday, I hope this Thanksgiving you find at least ten things to be thankful for. One thing I’m thankful for is you, my first few faithful readers who keep me writing when I’d rather be taking a nap.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Revisiting "Born To Be Queen"

Queen Victoria as a Child
Photo Credit: James Smith Noel Collection

Her parents married primarily for the sake of producing an heir to the throne. Her young childhood was fraught with manipulation and conniving. It seems as though she was appreciated only for the power she might one day imbue to those in her charge. Power hungry, mal-intentioned, manipulative adults filled only with eros love sheltered Victoria, not to protect her but to protect their own self-interests. My heart burns with anger as I write these descriptive words of Victoria’s parental figures.

It has been my hunch that her parents schemed right from the start to use her as a pawn in their plot to dominate the throne of a growing empire. I found evidence of this in the account written by Elizabeth Longford, "Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed." She relates the story of how Leopold of Saxe-Coburg arrived in Great Britain in hopes of marrying the Prince Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte. Though her father protested the match vehemently, Prince Edward (Victoria's father) allowed the two lovers to use his stable boy to pass letters back and forth. Three short months later, they were married.

Prince Edward
Photo Credit: Blupete

It seems that in payment for this service, the two lovers set up a “blind date” of sorts between Leopold’s sister, Princess Victoria, and Prince Edward. He visited with her for the first time in fall of 1816, and seeing a quick way to pay off his debts and return to England, he promptly asked for her hand in marriage.

Nearing the time of Charlotte’s due date, it seems there was a leak about Prince Edward’s affair with his French lady, and he grew antsy for a response from Princess Victoria. He sent a letter to a friend asking him to urge Prince Leopold to request a response from his sister as soon as the baby was safely born.

Victoria, Duchess of Kent
Photo Credit: James Smith Noel Collection

On the heels of this letter, tragedy struck. Leopold’s wife and the heir apparent did not survive labor and delivery, leaving the entire country of Britain despondent. This was a crisis of great proportions, and parliament required that the four living Dukes (including Prince Edward) return to Britain at once to get to work on producing an heir. Can you imagine??

Prince Edward and Princess Victoria were officially married on May 27, 1818, and they celebrated another official ceremony in England on July 11, 1818, in a double ceremony with Edward’s brother William and Princess Adelaide. Their marriage of convenience was not very convenient for either one of them. She did not speak English, and his expectation of 25,000 pounds extra per month was realized at only 6,000 pounds, not nearly enough to pay down his debts. After squatting in Kensington Palace under the disdainful eyes of the Prince Regent and constant reminders of the grim loss of Princess Charlotte, Prince Edward finally relocated his wife to Germany, where it was clear that she was indeed pregnant.