For this inaugural Discover Challenge, find inspiration in an interview with medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel and publish a post that piques one of the five senses.
I recently interviewed Erik Kwakkel, a book historian in Leiden, Netherlands, who blogs on the popular blog Medieval Books. Erik has a knack for bringing medieval history to life, making connections between medieval and modern, and introducing his interesting manuscript finds to people outside of his field.
Blogging puts us in front of a screen. Erik’s work is more hands-on, dealing with books and objects. So I asked him: what are the challenges of blogging about old, dusty manuscripts?
While I can show on Twitter and my blog what manuscripts look like, I cannot share their smell and feel. There is nothing like the smell of a medieval book, especially those that haven’t been opened for a long time. Touch is important too, because such a direct interaction with the past conveys what the famous historian Johan Huizinga called “the historical sensation”: the feeling of excitement you get when you handle a historical artifact, in an archive or a library, for example.
I appreciate the images he publishes on his blog — you can almost touch the fragile pages of the manuscripts he studies.
Consider your favorite blogs — food, travel, writing, and more. Think about the recipe posts that make you want to grab the dish right out of the photo to eat. The vibrant street photographs that make you miss the noises and smells of your favorite city. Or the way your favorite blogger writes about winter, describing the crunchy texture of snow under her feet. Think about how a post can pique your senses.
In this week’s Discover Challenge, publish a post that appeals to one of the senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. You’re free to interpret this in any way, and publish in any format: prose, poetry, photography, audio, video . . .
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You can create a pingback to this challenge, just as you do in our Weekly Photo Challenges, to share your post with the community.
We look forward to your responses!