Friday, September 9, 2011

My Turn

It seems like my turn to blog always comes up before I've prepared something witty/trite/wise/thought provoking to write about. Now is no exception. My life lately has been a bit chaotic.

The Washington Midsummer Ren Faire just finished up a few weeks ago and I'm still recovering. I did well selling my books by Ren Faire standards for me. People don't really go to a Ren Faire to buy books. They go to watch the joust, the plays, the antics of the actors, and to shop. But they shop for things like armor, blades, bodices, etc. You know, practical things. LOL I am no exception. When I attended Ren Faires as a guest, I was drawn to the jewelry and the swords more than anything else. And the clothing, I'll admit. Not that I had any thought of where I would ever wear a chemise and overdress, or a fitted bodice, or a sword belt, but I thought they were cool nonetheless.

Now that I sell at the Faire, those items are indeed coming in handy, although I do not haul about my sword all day. Far too tiring. I give props to those knights of days gone by. That they could walk about in armor, bristling with weapons, and still be able to make a lady swoon amazes me. It's hot and dusty at the Faire, and I can only guess how must have been in real medieval times. And I don't guess it was a very pretty sight much of the time.

Now, I write medieval fantasy. My characters walk around with their swords. They ride horses or rely on magic to get around. They are hot and dusty and lost in unknown lands most of the time. But, boy howdy, do I make sure they can get in a bath now and again. I know that is not in keeping with real medieval times, but I can't stand the thought of my fellows and misses running about with month-old sweat baked on their skin. So, my folks get the benefit of a nice tub and hot water. And we don't even discuss other, ahem, toiletries. (ever try to use a PortaPotty with copious amounts of fabric to gather up?)

I also don't know how those women of lore made it in the hot weather with all of the clothing they piled on. We're talking a chemise, at least two skirts, sometimes an apron, a bodice, a jacket and some sort of head covering. And that's just the peasants. At least they could don lightweight material and get away with it. The higher the social standing, the more elaborate the outfit and the heavier the material. At least, according to the actors at the Faire. We're talking velvet, brocade, silk, etc. The women's outfits must have weighed as much as the men's armor.

I read somewhere that women might wear a petticoat with little pockets where they could place chunks of ice. That would keep them cooler, but think of the melting issue. It would be akin to following a little slug, leaving a trail of liquid. And they had those little pointed metal containers that fit into the cleavage created by the bodice, that could be filled with a cold liquid or ice. Never had the opportunity to try one of those myself. And, my goodness, how DID they breathe in those bodices? I'm not sure if typical Ren Faire bodices were so typical in the medieval times. I somehow question whether women of those times would lace themselves up so tightly that a wardrobe malfunction seemed imminent.

As you can probably tell, I get a lot of time to people watch while sitting at the Faire. I love watching the costumes parade past. Some are beautiful, some are creative, some are just fun. And, as long as everyone is enjoying themselves, it's all good.

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