Yesterday, the river Weser once again ran rather than stood, i.e. it wasn’t frozen, which is only to be expected considering that we had temperatures of around 7 degrees Celsius.
Still, according to the traditional Bremer Eiswette (Bremen ice bet), several respectable merchants bet every year (since 1829) whether the river Weser will be frozen or not on Epiphany day, i.e. January 6, and they test this fact by having a tailor weighing 99 pounds and his hot iron cross the river on foot.
Of course, due to climatic changes and river regulations in the 19th century, the river Weser never completely freezes anymore. The last time it actually did stand was in the exceptionally harsh winter of 1946/1947. The river threatened to freeze a few times since then, e.g. during the “winter of the century” in 1979 as well as a few years ago, but every time the ice was broken up to protect bridges and the Weserwehr power station as well as keep the river open for shipping. So nowadays, the Eiswette is mainly just a fun spectacle and an excuse for satirical speeches. This year, the tailor even brought a V for Vendetta mask.
And now for some writing links:
Dean Wesley Smith takes on the difference between writers and authors. Now I know why I never much liked calling myself an author and always preferred the term writer.
At Paperback Writer Lynn Viehl offers an idea for an art project combined with a method of writing inspiration, namely Story Prompt Cards. I did something similar – scribbling words and ideas on index cards or on the back of outdated business cards – once, but mine were never this pretty. Still, this is a great idea. If I ever persuade the school to let my offer a creative writing workshop for kids, I’ll totally steal this.
Finally, Tor.com has a lovely appreciation of fencer and film stuntman Bob Anderson who died aged 89 and whose lengthy career lasted from Errol Flynn films all the way to Lord of the Rings. He was Darth Vader, too, during the lightsaber duels. Reading this, I am struck by the fact that almost every filmic swordfight I ever drooled about (I just love a good swordfight) involved Bob Anderson in some way.