Archive for 'romantic illusions'



Dogged Research
by Annette McCleave on January 13th, 2009

Research is one of the best parts of being a writer—there’s just so much information out there, especially on the internet. I’ve been known to dive into a subject looking for a single fact only to surface many hours later. It’s a tendency I force myself to control during a first draft, or else I’d never finish.

Sometimes the information I find builds on my romantic notions—King Alexander III of Scotland died when he fell off his horse into a ravine during a storm, while racing to return to the side of his beautiful wife Yolande—and sometimes the information dashes my rose colored illusions—roughly six percent of all murders in the States are one spouse killing another.

Sometimes, the facts are just not as fun as the made up stuff. For example…the image of the trusty Saint Bernard dog rushing up the Swiss mountainside with a keg of brandy under its neck, going to the aid of stranded travelers is heart-warming and theoretically body-warming as well. Truth is the rescue dogs were real, but there was no keg of brandy. No keg at all. The image we’ve all come to know and love seems to have originated strictly from the imagination of an early painter. How sad is that?

st-bernardsm

Worse, it’s been proven that drinking alcohol in frigid temperatures may actually increase your chances of freezing to death, because it dilates your blood vessels and lets the heat escape faster. Darn. There goes my excuse for slinging a wineskin around my neck on ski trips. Water is far better for you, but not nearly as romantic. Sigh.

How about you? Do you find the internet addictive? Do you click from link to link and get lost for hours? Or do you find the information overwhelming and boring?

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