At Long Last…

I don’t even know where to start.

It’s hard being an early-riser sometimes.  The past week in particular has been really tough.  On Friday, I had the fortune to wake up bright and happy at 4:30am.  Deliciousness–a crisp morning of writing awaited me.  And indeed, I was fruitful and the pages did multiply, and all the problems of weeks past were chased away.  Brilliance.  Only something else also happened EACH DAY.

Namely, before it was decent, whilst windows across the street were still dark with slumber, time and again, I would come upon in my research an amazing, absolutely gut-bustingly fantastic little-known fact that I HAD TO SHARE.

But with whom?  With whom?, I cry!  (Yes, worthy even of mid-sentence sentence-ending punctuation.)

I know, I know.   Thou thinkest I exaggerate.  No.  Not I.  I never use hyperbole. 

Sample Gut-Busting Fact:  In 1545 (see, already your blood begins to rush with excitement), a little town in France had its vineyard destroyed by flies.

What, you say, suddenly wondering if these early mornings (or perhaps the unfiltered coffee I favor) has made me bonkers.

But I’m not done.  WAIT FOR IT, folks:

What did the townsfolk do, seeing their crops thusly destroyed?  That’s right.  They sued the insects. 

There, I thought you needed a moment.  [Waits patiently for the jaws to hover above the floor once more.]  Yep, they sued them.  So, the flies were assigned representation by a distinguished canon lawyer.  He must have been good, because the insects were acquitted.  His case was strong.  He cited God’s will, you see, that the flies “be fruitful and multiply.”  Thus in eating the crops, they were fulfilling God’s will, and could not be judged as wrong-doers.

The court agreed.  But what to do about the crops?  Finally they came upon a genius solution.  GENIUS.  (Wait for it.)  They assigned another field for the flies to eat of.  Yep.  That’s right.  Want to read that line again?  They assigned another field for the flies to eat of.

Did this gentle compromise work?  Apparently we may never know.  You see, the reports of success have not made it to our century.  They were, it is said, destroyed by insects.

[You can thank me later for this tidbit, which I KNOW you’re dying to share now, as I was these past few mornings, along with other similar fascinating facts.]

And on this painfully delicious information was I forced to sit and not share.  On this bounty did I bounce impatiently waiting for the time to tell the world.

Consider yourself, World, told.  🙂

Ah, and in case you were wondering if in between the gathering of salacious facts I actually got any writing done:  YEAH, BABE!  The story is zooming.  ZOOMING.

Love it.  🙂

Subway Station in Brooklyn

Subway Station in Brooklyn

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About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in deliciousness, first drafts, history, mornings, odd things, random info, research, writing, writing update and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to At Long Last…

  1. creativea says:

    You’re kidding. Is that true? Are you serious? Wow…just, wow.

    Feathers from AW, by the way 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Hi Feathers/Creativea! 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

      Yep, I’m being quite straight with you. The list of animals tried by courts during this period (a trend which started in Switzerland, apparently) includes: mice, pigs and weevils. 🙂 At the very least.

      Sometimes the court decided against the creatures, usually for subverting the natural order. This would happen if an animal was involved in killing a human, for instance. When this happened, an animal might be hung upside down. (and killed)

      This hanging guilty beings upside-down signified their crime against nature… So apparently sometimes women who killed their husbands would be hung in that fashion. No word on men who killed their wives thus far in my reading. 🙂

      FASCINATING, hey??? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • CreativeA says:

        That is incredibly interesting. What gets me is…what would they have done if the bugs were rules guilty? They didn’t have pesticides. How were they supposed to punish them?

        *stumped*

        • sputnitsa says:

          Hee hee hee!!! I have no idea… I wonder if they might have excommunicated them. 🙂 🙂 🙂

          Seriously, I read of the Church being brought in to decide the fate of some mice who were accused of…something, I forget what. Well, not wanting to place a religious sentence on them without their presence, the mice were summoned to see the authorities. Unsurprisingly (to us), they didn’t come. But the Church again stayed its hand once it was pointed out that the mice hadn’t had enough notice to gather en masse. So they were summoned again, and again they were a no-show. This time defenders of the mice suggested that the mice had not been offered safe passage through town, and cats were stationed everywhere.

          I don’t know how that ended either.

          *ponders* Dontcha love it?? 🙂 🙂 🙂 I haven’t got the FOGGIEST what they might do on this earth against the flies–and I doubt poison, as that would kill other creatures too.

          *joins in being stumped* 🙂

  2. hope101 says:

    That’s cute. And methinks you’ve been submerged in a lot of 16th century writing by your writing style in this post. 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Hahaha! Wow, that observation made me start for a mo’! Hilarious, that. 🙂 🙂 🙂 And yeah, I’ve been on a SPREE, reading stuff about and from the 1300s and 1500s… 🙂 🙂

  3. Beth says:

    Made me laugh! 🙂

  4. ralfast says:

    Glad to hear it’s zooming.

  5. Yarnspnr says:

    Cool story for sure. And from the comments, the ways early to mid century Europeans found to kill each other is amazing. I’ve read books about witch hunts in Germany that even made me squirm a bit. Katherine Kurtz writes a fictional series set in the middle ages based on the church/political excesses. She’s added a new race which comes into power and then out again. Her descriptions of what they do to each other are totally in line with what I’ve read in history books of the time. Worth reading for anyone doing a fantasy set in that era. Glad to hear the words are flowing again. Good job! 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Yeah, some horrid stuff happened. Then again, horrid stuff still does, and for some reason it still shocks me. :-/

      Thanks for passing on Kurtz’s name! 🙂

      And on the writing front–how’re you doing with your writing? I don’t recall your saying what your process is, how much you write a day, how it comes and goes (if it ever doesn’t go?), etc 🙂

      • Yarnspnr says:

        The writing front. Hmmm. As you know, I have four novels in the works. The two Erde based fantasy novels, a romance novel (the intro is posted), and a gay/lesbian biography (with Marcia Ellen Beevre). The last two are very much outside my comfort zone but that’s what makes them interesting to me as an author.

        Processes, eh? Well, working on four novels at a time seems to rid myself of writer’s block. If I get blocked, I simply pick up on one of the other novels and come back when my head’s together again. I write a chapter, proof it, and rewrite again. I continue this until I get it right, which at times is like 10 or 12 rewrites. Research on the first three novels was completed about 5 years ago or so. I write slow, I’m not in any hurry.

        The co-authored novel is more tricky. Marcia Ellen is a firecracker and thinks (and speaks) faster than I could imagine. She sends a tape telling me about the part of her life that’s coming up. I reply with questions, she answers. She sends poetry. I fit it in to the chapter. When I have it where I like it, I go over to her house and run it past her, her partner Jennie, her older sister, Lucky, and Lucky’s partner, Cherry. A lot of spoons in the soup, but we manage to get it done.

        I find it refreshing to jump back and forth between the books. Will I finish them all at the same time? I doubt it. I’m in no hurry. Being disabled gives me plenty of time to work on things. The trick is to keep a good notebook going and jot down ideas in it. Hope that answers your question, Traveler. 🙂

        • sputnitsa says:

          Impressive. 🙂

          And do you have a sense of where each story is heading? You’re such a planner, I imagine you must!! 🙂

          And as for co-authoring a book…I’m sure that brings its own challenges. How far are you in the bio?

          Enjoy the writing!! 🙂

  6. This is hilarious! And also freaking bizarre.

    • sputnitsa says:

      Madness, hey? 🙂 They were very literal about the Bible, which does say that man has dominion over animals, and does also mention killing animals which harm humans. So, literal they were, and using case precedent, one could say!!!

      Amazing world, amazing, amazing, amazing history, ours…

      I do find myself suddenly wondering if Jewish communities also punished and tried animals as Christian ones did… Hm. 🙂

  7. CreativeA says:

    OMGosh, the summoning of the mice is hilarious! And I thought animal rights people nowadays were over the top.

    Maybe they would have imported birds or wasps or something to “punish” the flies? Or burnt down the fields and grown other crops? Or…um…lol, I still have no idea.

    (Thanks for commenting on my blog, btw!)

    • sputnitsa says:

      🙂 I know… It is weird, isn’t it… *ponders*

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 I love those little tidbits from history that just blow one’s mind today 🙂

      And it was fun coming by to see your blog!! 🙂

  8. Yarnspnr says:

    Thanks, Traveler! Yeah, I know where everyone should end up in each story. Of course, getting there is all the fun! I have notes (I don’t do outlines) but I do like to give the characters their head.

    As for the bio, Marcia’s poetry (hundreds of poems) give an excellent peek into the story of her life. She’s been all over the web, which also helps. I know the family and many of their friends. (We both had strokes and met in the hospital in 2002.) We’ve completed about 5 chapters, mostly in 2nd to 3rd rewrite stage.

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