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Why the Renaissance?

Posted by on 2010/05/24

I think as an artist and writer the most frequent question I get asked, besides where do you get your ideas, is why the Renaissance? To answer that I have to go back to high school.

The fall of freshmen year my parents took me to the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI.

The Entry to the Michigan Renaissance Faire

I was instantly enchanted by the language, rich decorations,colors and the feeling of being in another place in another time. I had always felt “out of place” and it was that first visit to the Faire that I realized I also felt “out of time”.  I would spend hours in my room or outside reading, living the lives of the characters in the stories the way I never would get to experience life. Drafty castles, shining armour, beautiful clothing,  jousting, a falcon on my arm. These were all things I had only experienced previously  through books and movies, but I found those experiences at the Faire.

okay, so Faire wasn’t “Real Life”, and I did have to grow up, which I did rather suddenly, but it was a chance to live, if even for a day, the life of a person in another time. To wear those beautiful clothes and carry that falcon on my arm. To live the life of one of the characters in the stories I loved so much.

As a sophomore I was introduced to Shakespeare and I fell in love all over again. Not only does he tell a good story, but the writing and language is beautiful. Yes, he can over describe something so much that you may get lost in the description and forget about the story, but you always get pulled back into his world. Everything seemed more alive, more colorful, more meaningful. People felt things more deeply. Or maybe it’s just that they expressed it more profoundly, with beautiful language, and music and art.

That’s why I write, to pull readers into this world in my head, highly influenced by the Medieval and Renaissance ages. I want to give them a good story and characters that they want to step back in time with. I want to show my readers that life was, is and can be beautiful and full of wonderful things. That if we band together, anything is possible. I want to give them an escape out of this fast-paced world and connect them to a time where some things were a bit more simple and loyalty to friends and family were most important.

The Joust

As a Faerie artist I strive for connection too. I want a first-time looker to question. Do faeries really exist? Is there magic in this world? In older times there was no doubt of these things. Faeries did exist. There was magic in this world. These days the faeries are harder to see and  magic is kept in secret places, both constantly in fear of ridicule and judgement. Most people feel if we can’t see it,hear it, feel it, touch it, taste it or  measure it, it doesn’t exist. Well, I say, if you open your mind and your heart to the world around you, you’ll find faeries and you’ll find magic.

Maybe start by opening a good book.

Now you might understand my love for Frog Princes!

Here’s a few good ones to start with:

For very young readers (and up!), The Errant Knight by Ann Tompert, Good Night, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas, the Sir Cumference series by cindy Neuschwander,and The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.

For young readers,Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs, The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker, I am Morgan LeFay by Nancy Springer, Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke and Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi.

For older readers, Crispin by Avi, The Once and Future King by T.H.White, The Edge on The Sword by Rebecca Tingle, and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.

For Adult Readers, The Skystone  by Jack Whyte, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, Crossed and Revenge of the Rose by Nicole Galland.

There are many more out there, but these are some of my favorites!

6 Responses to Why the Renaissance?

  1. Anne Carey

    Hi Jen! I love your blog! You can check mine out too! Just getting started…
    Anyway, have you ever heard of Maxfield Parrish? He was an artist that lived in Plainfield,NH. When my grandmother was 13 he painted her into “The Frog Prince”. Though that was pretty cool considering your love of it!
    Nice to finally meet you the other day…

    • jennifercarson

      Wow! that is awesome, I’ll have to look that illustration up. I am familiar with Maxfield Parrish. He was a fantastic artist and illustrator and did a lot of faerie tales, if I recall correctly. It was great to meet you face-to-face as well! Hope to see you around this summer at the Artisan’s Market in New London!

  2. Ansha Kotyk

    Congrats on your first big post! Great Job! And I love reading about what influences writers. :)

  3. Kris

    We love Igraine the Brave in my house. And Spiderwick. And to Find A Wonder… ;)

    Really great post, Jen.

  4. Laura Pauling

    Yeah, you really should add To Find a Wonder in your list. It’s about this boy who goes out to find a wonder…The author is Jennifer Carson. Maybe you’ve heard of her? :)

  5. julietruekingsley

    I love the whole time travel thing myself. That’s why I like living in Maine, and New Hampshire too. They both have a feeling of timelessness. Great bog!

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