Writing historical fiction presents its problems, for sure. Details of everyday life can be sticklers – clothes, dishes, cookware, toys, books, lamps, furniture, tools, farm equipment – and it’s hard to put yourself back there, hard to change your perspective from 2015 to 1915 or earlier.
I’ve got some tricks, though: I have a large collection of photographs, old magazines and newspapers, scrap books and letters.
And I’ve got several old mail order catalogues (Sears, Charles Williams Stores, Montgomery Ward and others) that I’ve picked up at flea markets and used book stores.
All of that stuff makes it easier; not easy, mind you – but easier.
Consider horse harness.
It’s far more complicated than you might think: one- or two-horse buggy and driving harness (general “about town” use – the family car, so to speak); truck and farm (working) harness.
And that’s just for starters: there’s gentleman’s driving harness, folded buggy harness, runabout harness; surrey or single-strap, double breast collar, and express harness.
And team harness – oh, goodness, the team harness! The Victor, the Springfield, the Empire and Richmond, Oakdale and Baltimore Team Harnesses; there are cup-shaped blinds with round winker stays, double nose bands, plain and stage pattern heel chains and double-stitched spreader straps; clipped cockeyes, folded back bands, single-strap martingales, center bar buckles and snaps; three-ring hip straps, lock-stitched lines, red hames with brass ball tops...
...it’s poetry to me.
I get lost in it all, get caught up in the rhythm and rhyme of it. I am pulled back to a way of life that soothes me, calms me – a world that measures time in sunrises and sets, in family breakfasts, dinners and suppers, in changes of seasons...a slower, quieter pace, a simpler state of mind.
To see what others have found, harness up and trot on over to www.sepiasaturday.blogspot.com