Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Monday, July 30, 2007


Once again, dear readers, look at the redheaded Neanderlady I've uploaded. Then read this article

But first, ignore the silly picture of the reconstruction of a bald Neandertal man, that may be out of date, and in any case, looks kind of thuggish to me. In any case, there are better reconstructions of Neanertals floating around and about. Perhaps, later, I'll upload some.

In the meanwhile, the article's biggest piece of information is that according to the researchers mentioned in the article, Neandertals and "moderns" coexisted for some 2,000 years in a cave in France, called Chatelperron. Now this cave is importent. It's important because certain kinds of "transitional" industries, called, naturally "Chatelperronian" were once thought to have been made by early "modern" humans. Now they have been reliably associated with Neandertal fossils(or bits and pieces of them). They are thought to have been quite "advanced" for Neandertals, and some workers in the field think Neandertals just copied "modern" stone tools without really understanding what they were for. This is a patently silly idea. If you're going to copy something, you'd better have an idea how it is used and what it's for, so you can make your own. This is true whether it's stone tools or computers. And it's now fairly obviousl that Neandertal brains were perfectly capable of comprehending this.

Which brings me to the subject of the article. Which is basically the debate about whether or not Neandertals "mixed" with "moderns" or not. There is now suggestive evidence, partly in the form of certain fossil remains in some parts of Europe, which seem to suggest a mix of Neandertal and "modern" traits to a number of workers. Not everyone agrees with this, as the article points out. And the article takes a lot of pains to point out apparent differences in things like growth rates. I say "apparent" because the claim that Neandertals matured faster and sooner than "moderns", based on growth patterns in teeth, has also been disputed. In fact, every claim the Telegraph article makes for such differences has been disputed --- by somebody. And it's interesting that they seem to have consulted Chris Stringer, who has done a lot of quite valuable work, but at the same time, is pretty much of a "difference monger", some of whose claims have been apparently disproven since he wrote In Search of the Neanderthals in 1993. A lot has happened since then.

But it's also interesting that they quote Paul Mellars, who wrote The Neanderthal Legacy several years later(no, don't try to read this; it's very detailed, but unless you like really "deep" academic stuff, you'll be bored to tears). Because Mellars, according to the article, seems to think Neandertals and "moderns" mixed it up, as they say.

Okay, so now, Gentle Reader, if you have followed me this far, you may be askinig yourselves what I think. For an answer, turn your gaze once again to the Neanderlady whose picture I've uploaded. The heroine of my story looks very like her. . . .and two men are more than interested in her. . . .if you get my drift.

Nuff said,
Anne G

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A quick note of thanks

In my previous post, I forgot to mention --- because I couldn't think of her name while posting --- Mirella Patzer and her site. Thanks for letting me use it, Mirella!
Anne G

Anglo-Saxon stuff

I've been very busy "updating" this blog; lots of "updates" because I'm continually adding links to other writers' blogs and websites. Also, I've been adding some "anthropological" stuff for those interested. Several writers have kindly given their permissions to add their sites to my links, and some have even offered to reciprocate! My thanks to Susan Hicks, Carla Nayland, Judith Waldron, and one other whose name slips my mind at the moment. Except for one, they're all "linked" And I will get that one up and linked in a day or two.

Which brings me to the main subject here. I'm writing a trilogy taking place in late Anglo-Saxon and slightly later times. So when I linked to the Nayland site, I was flabbergasted, and absolutely delighted, to find that she had a couple of pieces on Anglo Saxon riddles! Here is one:

Anglo-Saxon riddles Part 1

And here is another one:

Anglo-Saxon riddles Part 2

As you can see, if you read these riddles, they seem kind of "risque", but refer to things that are quite ordinary today, or else were pretty common in those times(one of them is about a mail-shirt). The riddles people in the Western world, including the English-speaking, are pretty pale by comparison. The only one I can think of at the moment is one my daughter found in a book when she was about 10 or so.

"What is the difference between a coyote and a flea?
One howls on the prairie and the other prowls on the hairy"

Not quite upt to "Anglo-Saxon" standards, but heck, those riddles probably helped pass the time on cold, dark winter days and nights when there wasn't a whole lot else to do. And believe me, I'm going to find some source for them, and use a a riddle or two in my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece!

Just one last note: I learned, some years ago, that certain peoples in Africa are "into" riddles in much the same way as people in Anglo-Saxon England. And the riddles are similarly risque-sounding, though they reflect sub-Saharan African experience, more or less.
Anne G

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Possessed in medieval England

As is my usual practice, I read my "feeds" as usual this morning. These "feeds" are mostly science related; however, there are some medieval-themed ones too(unfortunately, the people who write these don't post very often). So, to my surprise, I came across this interesting item in National Geographic.

It sort of fits in with the period I'm writing about, although the one character who might have been considered "demon-possessed" in the terms of the time, is really "possessed" by a sentient virus(rather like Star Trek's Borg), which infects people's brains, and essentially tells them to do as much damage as possible to other people. And this character is actually trying to fight what he conceives to be these "demons". Which is not much like "demonic possession" the way many modern people think of it. Nor do I make that much of it in my book, except as a motivation for my "bad" character to do "bad" things.

But the National Geographic article makes it clear that, the attempted "standardization" of churches after 1066, it could have been "good for business" for churches to have powerful saints who could rid a sufferer of his or her "demons" --- obviously, they had no way of knowing how the brain works, nor could they have known about viruses and bacteria, other than their effects in making people sick. So, in a time when people had few other options, they turned to churches and their saints. That this happened somewhat later in England than other places, and never seems to have taken hold in a way that would later, much later, result in the "witch crazes" that condemned many innocent, though often troubled, people to various horrors, it did have its effect. Who knows? I might even be able to expand on my "bad" character's "demonization", now that I know.
Anne G

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rowling update

For all of you who may be wondering what J.K.Rowling is doing for an encore, now that she has finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, here is a teaser(nope, no spoilers here).

You can find it here:

I make this the first of my "writing" posts, just because I have finished the final book, and plan to reread the entire series again in a bit(I didn't buy the first four books; I read them in rapid succession, courtesy of my local library, but I will be purchasing those). It is also interesting that, in one way, Rowling's "writing program" is not so different from mine. Oh, she is far more organized. I am into the second book of my trilogy and have realized that I should have, among other things, started with a timeline and a list of at least the major characters, instead of just plunging in. Worse, there aren't any indications of how much time has passed in any of the chapters, which is important, since it covers a nine-year slice of medieval time. Rowling was much more organized than I am, that way. About all I can say is, this allowed me to shape my story, which was originally quite simple, more fully. It also allowed me to add some characters who will probably get their own stories eventually, though not exactly part of this one. They were originally quite minor characters.

But in one way, Rowling and I are much alike: Both of us have apparently experienced stories that demand to be written. I have some other potential novels, sitting partly finished, that I will get back to(hint: there are Neandertals in them, but the setting is the near future). But this trilogy, tentatively called The Invaders, just kept insistently calling and calling and calling to me, until I couldn't stand it any more, and I had to start writing! And I'm still at it, plugging away, though it is, at times, a hard slog. But I'm still at it, even though the "creative impulse" sometimes seems very faint. Fortunately, I also have support from various sources, which is an absolute must for an aspiring writer

Oh, and thanks for all that support,
Anne G

More "technical" stuff

This is still a "technical" note, just to let anyone know: I'm still adding a lot of information and links to other blogs and websites as I find them. Although this blog will primarily focus on writers and writing, and thoughts about my own writing, due to the nature of my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece, I have a wide variety of interests, and therefore links to other writers and sites. And I expect --- I certainly hope --- that a variety of people will come visit from time to time. Some will be more interested in writing issues, others in "medieval" stuff, and still others will primarily be interested in the prehistoric. So, folks, expect to see more and more links of various kinds added regularly. And, I think, that's about all I need to say about this. Unless something very unusual happens.
Anne G

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Added links

I've also started adding links. So far, I only have the John Hawks Weblog, which some of you may find interesting. I do. For those of you who don't, I'm definitely going to add some writers links. And for any people interested in things medieval, they will be there, too. I'm going to be a very busy lady, with this blog, at least for the next little while.
Anne G

I'm very pleased

To all those who were kind enough to comment, thank you! I'm pleased and gratified by the response so far. This is still a bit of a work in progress; I plan to put links to writing, medieval, and anthropological material(since all of these elements will be in my book(s) one way or another, and I've added a picture from my own files, that's more or less the centraal female figure. Please stay tuned.
Anne G

A picture is worth 1000 words

This picture will give you a bit of a hint of what my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece will contain. Let your imaginations run riot.
Anne G

password mixup

Well, this doesn't have much to do with writing, either. But it does have something to do with the intricate workings of Google software. I mean, why don't they have something that will allow you to have the site remember this information? These sites are always yelpinig about security. Don't misunderstand. I have no objection to reasonable security. And it isn't as if I'm some company blog(these are getting increasingly popular these days). I do want to advertise myself, in a way, so that when my book is ready to publish, maybe, just maybe, somebody will notice it. But it took me about 15 minutes of "experimentation" to figure out what my password was. My passwords are not things that hackers would basically know how to look up. There are people who do things like Elvis's birthday for their passwords; these are easy to check. I don't. Also , these randomly generated nonsense words and number combinations are impossible to remember. In some situations(e.g. if you're working for Social Security or something) also make sense. But they don't if you're just an "individual". And please, please, don't tell me to change this password every month. That gets complicated. And I have only so many things I can think of. Just make it difficult for idiots to "hack", and I'll take care of the rest.

End of rant because it doesn't have much to do with writing.
Anne G

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Welcome to the Writer's Daily Grind! I'm currently writing a Great Science Fiction Masterpiece, set in medieval England, featuring --- Neandertals! I won't tell you exactly how they got there, or what they do once they arrive. That would spoil the fun! But it does combine several passions of mine, and it's part of a larger "body" of work that is set in the near future. But I'm not here to tell anybody about my story, unless they ask. The main purpose of this blog will be to share my thoughts on the work of writing, and perhaps also, to share my thoughts about the work of other interesting writing and writers I have read. For anybody who wishes to read this, please feel free to share your thoughts with me. And I especially welcome all writers, published and unpublished. I will also be linking to other sites, some of interest to writers, others of interest to a larger audience.

Thank you for visiting,
Anne Gilbert