I love history. I love all the unexpected bits of information. I love discovering the patterns of centuries—how end of and beginning of centuries brings lots of new ideas and change. How the middle of a century people seem more likely to resist change. How even clothing silhouettes (Western world anyway) have a pattern—one based on century cycles (usually narrower around the turn of the century, wider near the middle).
I love coming across tidbits of information. Discovering that Cincinnati in the early 19th century had a law that one had to throw garbage in the middle of the street (not to the sides) so the pigs could come and carry it off—otherwise one could be fined. Or that tea on a riverboat might include hung beef chipped up raw. I love reading about historical figures who defied the conventions of their day and I love reading about those who found a place within those conventions.
I love discovering that ideas we think are new were often written and spoken about centuries ago.
As someone who heard people say, far too often, when I was growing up that women couldn’t do math (I didn’t listen of course!), I love discovering that a woman’s magazine in England in the early 19th century contained math puzzles.
Whenever I read about the past, I can’t help spinning in my mind stories of what it must have been like to live in that time period. Which is, of course, one reason why I’m a writer.
Anyone care to share some of their favorite historical tidbits?