One of the things I've been inspired to start doing is journaling as Donovan. I've seen this done before by a few people; notably Master Luke Knowlton's journals, but as recently as this Pennsic by Master Adam Comyn of the Middle Kingdom.
As a point of difference, Luke's journals are written as if by a purely historical Luke Knowlton - in and around historic real world events. (And they are amazing.) Adam's writings are written in a historical style, but by the SCA persona of Adam, Baron Comyn.
I'm planning on beginning this as an exercise in thinking more like Donovan would have or should have, and so to begin I'm going to be taking Adam's track on this - writing journals, letters, and so on as Donovan the persona, as opposed to Donovan in history. This basically means that I'll be referencing SCA occurrences, but tweaking them to get them to work better as though they were actually happening in a more period context. I mean, let's be clear - I don't have the masterful grasp of the time period and events as Master Luke does, so I don't want that to be a barrier to getting this project rolling - I can always start writing Donovan's Journals from the Low Countries later on! Beginning steps are just fine, and I think I'll still learn a good deal from this. Also, it's a good penmanship exercise, though I won't always be using a pen with a nib, just for practical reasons.
Master Adam has four rules that he uses, and I think they're pretty good:
- Try to write about the day on that day.
- If nothing else, this will let me keep things straight in my head.
- No editing once words are on the page.
- I'm going to be physically writing! I may cross out a thing and re-phrase it, but the crossed out section should still be legible. (If nothing else, this is some real opportunity for comedy.)
- Allusion and allegory are always allowed.
- Basically, I can always reference other bigger stories, but they may not be what they sound like.
- Be the persona, more or less.
- Donovan in this sense is a historic character, and I'll be trying to sort out some attitudes he may have had through this, as well as better fleshing out his actual historical persona. Also, it's about trying to write as though he would have circa 1600, and that means removing modern references and making it work.
- This also means that I get to start playing with ideas as to how my more amusing associations and such in the SCA may or may not actually make historic sense in some ways, though for these writings I'll still be writing as a resident of my local Shire with these neighboring Baronies, in my Eastern Kingdom.
To help with this, I asked on Facebook if anyone had suggestions as to journals and letters that I could read, so as to get a better idea of the writing styles of the time, as well as daily life and the like. And oh man, did people deliver! Here's what I was given (and at least one of these is winging its way to me even now):
- Samuel Pepys' Diary
- "An Elizabethan in 1582, The Diary of Richard Maddox, Fellow of All Souls"
- "The Actions of the Low Countries", by Sir Roger Williams, ed. D.W. Davies.
- Monro, His Expedition with the Worthy Scots Regiment Called Mac-Keys
- Correspondence of Sir Henry Unton
- Thomas Conigsby's journal (The English side of the Seige de Rouen!)
- Agrippa D'Aubigné "Sa Vie à ses Enfants" (Available in English!)
- Blaise Monluc's "Commentaires," trans. by Charles Cotton
- Essays of Michel de Montaigne (Also available at Project Gutenberg.)
- Relation du Siege de Rouen by Guillaume Valdory (Mirrored in Conigsby's journal, above!)
- Memoirs of Robert, Segnieur de Florange
- Memoirs of Chevalier de Bayard
Spain, or Spain in the New World, also Spain in Southeast Asia
- Catalina de Erauso, the "Lieutenant Nun" (Apologies for the dated title of this edition.)
- The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre: Security, Trade and Society in 16th- and 17th-century Southeast Asia
- Venice, Cità Excelentissima: Selections from the Renaissance Diaries of Marin Sanudo (Translated excerpts; if you read Italian you can get the whole thing.)
- Coryat, Thomas. Coryat's Crudities. 1611
- Moryson, Fynes. An Itinerary: Containing His Ten Years Travel Through the Twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohemia, Switzerland, Netherland, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Turkey, France, England, Scotland and Ireland. 1617.
Early Exploration of New England
- Gabriel Archer and John Brereton writing about Gosnold's 1602 expedition.
- Pring 1603
- Waymouth, and others
- David Quinn has edited some excellent books on the subject.
Thanks to Jehan, Luke, Niccolo, Elias, Aildreda, LOGOS, Rufinia, Aubri, Christian, and Tacit for supplying all these recommendations! I'll keep editing this post with links to where they can be found as I dig them up.