There are things I retain in my memory while doing research, some that never leave me, even while I cannot find the source material—because it was online, and either those links are now dead, or I just can’t find them anymore. Ove the years they are less popular.
Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a big deal to some of you: I am writing fiction. Why bother about citing sources? Because the reason I love the writing I do is that it rises from this incredibly rich, culturally diverse world we have.
I think the two links (or I have a huge stack of books to re-read in hopes of one moment of reading) that I regret losing the most for The Red Kémèresh is that which had a clip of Mongolian music. I’m sure that I could find any number of links to music that was similar, but this particular clip was transforming. I’m fairly certain that while I did echo that moment in my writing, I could not convey the astonishment I felt when I first heard it.
The rhythm in the music was of horse riding. Mongol horses (from some source I read) gallop differently over the steppes which are riddled with gopher hole. Their gate is bouncy so they won’t break their ankles. I also could hear the wind on the steppes, like the ocean.
Added onto that, was another link that echoed, surely much of that concept—truly bringing up the bouncing, because the Western riders had to contend not only with that far different style of riding, but also the fact that all of the riders they were with had, and shared, hard fermented mare’s milk. So they clacked as they bounced along. They were continually given gifts of these rock hard blocks of milk on strings, and when they finally escaped their hosts generosity, were sure they’d always be able to find them, and follow them, because of the racket that they made.
Source material ought to be remembered, and links kept somewhere, no matter how seemingly obscure they might seem at first. No matter how successful my writing might become, for me it will ever pale in comparison to our world’s rich cultural mythology and history.
Therefore: a moment of silence for lost source material.