Novel – Playing with Fire

La Pucelle by Frank Craig (1874-1918) Musée D’Orsay

Playing with Fire – A contemporary novel:  G.B. Shaw meets Joan of Arc- a theatre company puts it all together – coming soon

We’ve never heard about a marvel so great, 

For all the heroes who have lived in history

Can’t measure up To the bravery of the Maid.

― Christine de Pizan

Why Joan of Arc?

What would it have been like to live at the close of the Middle Ages, in her case, 1413-1431, in a place that had been the pawn of rival forces between England and France?  It’s impossible to know what Joan’s young life was like; no selfie’s,  no text messages or even school scores to parse what her motives were.  We do know that she liked doing needle work with her mother.  That she took care of the sheep as did most youngsters.  That she resented the opportunistic armies rampaging through fertile fields rendering them fallow.  We know she imagined voices and saw saints.  Did she really experience them?  Is this possible?

Imagine.  A young girl being charged with an army of soldiers. Imagine.  This young girl did lead her army to break a year long siege.  Her popularity grew.  She spoke directly to God through her voices.  The Church was threatened.  Arrested, her documented trial is a testament to faith and determination,  her spirit finally broken at the thought of being imprisoned for life, without a breathe of fresh air.  She chose death and because of that achieved martyrdom and centuries of fame, sainthood.

She has always held a place in my heart.  Her simplicity, directness, courage and faith.  Isn’t that a good enough reason to admire someone?

I began to write Playing with Fire as a period novel, but the more I wrote, the more intrigued I became with how Joan might be received in contemporary society and the brilliant G.B. Shaw gave me a terrific opportunity to produce his play, St. Joan,  in a book.

“I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind. But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the devil, and that mine is of God.”   George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan




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