17th century fireworks: we’ve got a long way to go to catch up

In researching the marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria (post on that to come), I got sidetracked by this image of fireworks celebrating their entry into a city:

Now and then in my research I read of an extraordinary 17th century fireworks display, spelling out the name of the Sun King, for example, or illustrating a battle.

I think: Oh, sure.

However, fireworks technology—if one could call it that—seemed to be more advanced than what we have today.

The fireworks on the Seine in 1660 on the occasion of the entry of Louis XIV after his marriage, culminated in 250 stars shooting from the tops of the masts of a ship that had been built for the show, forming the names of King and Queen. [My rather free translation from Traité des feux d’artifice pour le spectacle by Frézier.]

Here are a few more images—not necessarily from the 17th century, but certainly close:

This last …

reminds me of the thrill of being just a tad close to fireworks a few years back in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. (Photo of me and my daughter Carrie.)

My day: a day

This is a quick note just to report that The Task Master loved the revision of the last bit. He does not use the word love often!

I’m now making final revisions to this draft, which I promised my agent on April 1, but which I might—just might—get to her sooner. (Yay!) At the same time, the draft will go back to The Task Master for a final edit. I will also send it to The All-Knowing One (John Golder, my invaluable 17th century theatre consultant).

Come the middle of April and May, with all this feedback in hand, I will get to work on the next draft, which will go to my publisher May 31st.

So right now I feel I have just a bit of a breather. I’ve been going though my file of Novel notes—throwing many of the scraps out, and keeping some too.

I also had a chance this morning to (finally!) answer emails about two festivals I will be speaking at this summer…

The Banff Book Discussion Weekend, May 27 – 29, Banff, Alberta. There I will be giving two readings, plus a banquet speech. (Yes, I’ll have to brush up my speaking skills!) (And think about outfits.)

Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, August 4-7, Sechelt, British Columbia. Some very good writer friends—Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady—will be there as well, so I’m really looking forward to it.

And then, out of the blue, my agent forwarded me an invitation to write a short “easy-to-read” novel aimed at adult non-readers (or adults who are learning to read English) for Good Reads. In the glow of glimpsing the light at the end of this particular tunnel, I expressed serious interest in this offer. The due date is far into the future, the authors participating are admirable, and the project itself (literacy!) is one dear to my heart.

And so, with all that, to lunch. Next up: the title debate.