Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Gift of Arms and Creativity

Christmas is just one more sleep away. How exciting, for the kid in all of us who celebrate it. The last couple of weeks I have been up late fashioning shields and swords (the safe kind) for my own little ones. It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of fabric, empty wine boxes from the liquor store, wrapping paper rolls and a bit of creativity. When my little imps showed an interest in swords and shields my ears perked up and I got to work. Evenings, I’m a bleary-eyed elf working away as I watch historical movies.

Now, working with cardboard, fabric and loads of white glue is nowhere near the real deal, heating and pounding out some iron like Hephaestus gone mad. Not at all. But, one can tap into the sense of accomplishment of having created something closely resembling a sword and shield. I’ve gone medieval with rampant unicorns on the small triangular shields. Swords are of course, cruciform and short. You could however, just as easily make an oval Roman cavalry shield and spatha. The trick once these babies are opened up on Christmas morning will be to have my little ones battle a common enemy and not each other. I’m thinking they could fight back to back against a dragon of some sort, namely moi.

All right, that’s enough of the crazy history dad. For myself, I’m always happy to receive arms and armour for Christmas or any other occasion. The writer who endeavours to take on a battle scene needs to practice some moves – common now, that’s really fun! Seriously, you need to find out if your moves are realistic, unless you are writing historical fantasy, in which case you can crack the boundaries of realism.

But where does one buy arms and armour? There are loads of places on-line in Canada, the UK and the US. Another cornucopia of chivalric art is the re-enactor's fair. When I was living in Somerset, England, we went out to the Oxford Re-enactors Fair at Blackbird Leys which was an amazing event held bi-annually, deadly to our pocket books. If you are in the market for anything from period fabrics and broaches, to broadswords or full suits of gothic armour, this is definitely the place. I even purchased a wax tablet and bronze stylus which I used to get the feel of writing on one for the characters in my books. The possibilities are endless and you are supporting independent artists at the same time. It is a win/win situation.

Anyhow, whatever the Christmas wishes for your family or yourself, I wish everyone a fantastic holiday and a happy, healthy and of course, creative New Year in 2012. Cheers!
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