I set out to write a romance novel, just to see if I could.
Six months and 100,000 words later, I'm writing something more complex and literary. Something I don't mind calling a novel. It's a speculative fiction, time travel love story set both in the near future and on a farm in tenth century Iceland. It evokes a very different place and way of thinking about time, honor and the human heart. It has a title, Beautiful Wreck, after a Viking phrase for a gift that comes from the sea.
Moving, hilarious and unexpected is how I'd describe my experience so far.
I've heard the deep tones of Old Norse as spoken by my friend Dale, who suddenly bust out with a poem when he heard about my project. My friend Sarah and I sat at happy hour and gingerly tasted some possibly poisonous angelica root, before I used it to experiment with Viking mouthwash. I've stood on the grass and talked about the Norse gods with a man wearing handmade armor and leather bracers, while we watched his friends bash each other with rattan axes.
I've studied how to cut up a whale using only hand tools, and failed miserably at learning the ancient needle art of naalbinding. I've dragged a five-pound floor length linen dress through the mud and almost set myself on fire. I've learned a few words in Old Norse, and invented just as many of my own.
Now I'm going to travel to Iceland and see the kinds of places where my book takes place--from the stunning black sand beach where my main character washes up from the future, to the gorgeous valleys that were, in the 900s, lush with birch forests and snow blooms.
I'm going to see Erik the Red's house, too, where one of the most famous Vikings lived. It's been reconstructed and is a museum, and when I step into it I'll experience in a small way the kind of smoky, cramped environment, with its scents of wood and dirt and furs, where my woman from the future has to adjust to live, and maybe finds a true home.
24 postcards will get me there.
I'd like to send you a postcard and a line from my book, handwritten on the road as I finish the novel in Iceland. Knowing you're out there waiting for your card will hold me to my goal of finishing the novel before I dare step foot back in the U.S.
I can write more than 24 of course, and if I exceed my goal, your postcard sponsorship will support more of my research trip. Besides a lovely card and line from my novel, I will thank you in the book when it is published.
What it costs in US dollars, and how I'm paying for this.
To pay for the card, postage, and a small contribution toward my transportation from Reykjavik to the house, Eiríksstaðir, will cost $10 each.
Up front, I'd like you to know that this trip is something I never dreamed I could pay for at all. It's the most positive result possible from a terrible car accident that happened two years ago and has resulted in a little money, enough for this book research if I stay in places that don't provide sheets. :-)
Postcards are less than $1 and postage on a card is about $1.80 from Reykjavik. The trip to Eiríksstaðir is $155 (without any frills like coffee) and kickstarter and amazon add a total of about 10% in fees.
Thank you, friends!
p.s. One more specific way you could tremendously support the project. A way to visit Þjóðveldisbærinn.
Part of my dream for this trip is to visit another Viking house reconstruction in the south of the country, which is harder to get to since I can't drive. I can't figure out how to get to Þjóðveldisbærinn from any nearby town.
If anyone knows someone in the area whom I might pay to take me, please let me know. See here:
From wikipedia: Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng is a reconstructed Viking-era Long house or farmstead in Iceland, located in the Þjórsárdalur valley near road 32 in the Árnessýsla county. It is a replica of the building which stood at Stöng 7 km to the north which was buried under volcanic ash in 1104 following the eruption of the volcano Hekla.
Note the image above is used by Creative Commons permission from Kröyer on flickr.
- (19 days)