Miriam Joy (Author)
Writer of mythology-inspired urban fantasy and adventure novels about sarcastic modern-day knights. Reader of books, dancer of ballet, singer of songs, and blogger of an eclectic combination of things, usually relating to mythology, history, language, books, or social issues. Also swords.
Artist: National Museum of Denmark
Album: I Dreamt Me A Dream
Track: Drømde mik en drøm i nat
For people who are actually interested in how viking music might have sounded, “Drømde mik en drøm i nat" (/I dreamt a dream last night) is the earliest music (and lyrics) known in Scandinavia preserved on the last page of the (~1200-1300) Codex Runicus as rune notes.
The song and melody is still known and used today in most of Scandinavia, as a sort of folk-standard. This version, deceivingly slow in the beginning, is presented as close to the original sound of the years 900-1000 as historians think they can come.
This song might have survived because it was a gigantic hit, like the viking’s very own “Billie Jean”. A total pop slayer that stayed around long enough for music notes to be invented.
The more you know.
Cool as hell
So, because of reasons my third collection (“Broken Body Fragile Heart”) may not be released as soon as I thought. The good news is, however, that it’ll probably be a lot longer and most likely better than it would’ve been otherwise. And if it ends up long enough, I may even look into making it available in paperback via POD. So, that’s all pretty exciting.
"Aww I'm going to Selwyn College. Maybe I'll see you around though! Have fun come October! :) x"
— Asked by Anonymous
Indeed. Though that would be easier if I knew who you were, ha ha.
"Same here! Which college are you going to? ASNaC sounds like great fun! I would love to learn about it as I'm pretty sure I don't know enough about the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic ways. Why made you decide to study it? :)"
— Asked by Anonymous
I’ll be at Newnham College :)
I’ve been a fan of Celtic myths for years - it’s where a lot of my inspiration comes from in terms of my writing. Actually, it started when I read The New Policeman by Kate Thompson and I became obsessed with everything Irish to the point of doing competitive Irish dance for a year and a half.
I like old languages and obscure parts of history. I’ve never had the chance to study this stuff in school, and I really wanted to learn something unusual so that uni felt like a worthwhile investment - something I couldn’t have done on my own.
Also, it’d be really helpful for one of my long-term writing projects if I actually knew some Old Irish. So I figured this was a way of bringing more depth to my writing.
Mostly it’s just because I’m a nerd and I really like the Celts.
"Hey! Are you going to start at Cambridge University in October?"
— Asked by Anonymous
I am indeed! Are you? (If so, come off anon and come talk to me, I need friends.) I’m going to be studying Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, because hey, who needs normal subjects that people have actually heard of when you can have ASNaC. ;)
Yes. I mean, just, yeah, yes. They definitely are.
This doesn’t mean we’re all shut in freaks (although they definitely exist) but yeah, the Cambridge average is certainly quite strange.
The thing is though, if you get in you’ve got to be a bit weird. You have to be really passionate about your subject. You know who’s really passionate about Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic studies? Weird people. (yes, that’s a real thing you can study) Even for more mainstream subjects, the amount of time and dedication you have to put in means you’ve gotta be a bit weird to make it.
Another part of it is you get weirder. It’s some magic combination of the intense terms, being surrounded by other weird people, and learning an insane amount of depth about the role of virginity in Medieval texts that just kinda pushes you deeper into the madness. (this isn’t even going into exam term where anything goes. whatever you need to do to get by is A-Okay. we won’t judge. much.)
But honestly, the weirdness is one of the best parts. You get to meet people who are perfectly happy to hear your drunk rant about how mischaracterized the Maya are as long as you listen to their rant about the magic of the digestive system. So don’t fear the weirdness, embrace it. It’s coming whether you like it or not.
I was about to say that not all ASNaCs are weird but then remembered that I stayed up until 1am a couple of days ago arguing with another fresher about whether Tolkien’s elves were more inspired by Irish myths or Norse myths, and term hasn’t even started yet. So yeah. We’re probably weird.
This fourth draft is surprisingly fast-moving. I know that once I hit the actual rewrites and new scenes, it’ll be harder, but at the moment I’m mostly just cutting out words — which means I get to copy-paste entire sections. It’s like having magical writing powers.
Sheesh, next thing you’ll be yelling ‘no homo’ and running away in the other direction, and as an archaeologist, I can’t even tell you how many puns I’d be obliged to make.
— my favourite sentence from any and every draft of my current novel