June 22nd, 2009

Sights Sounds and Smells of London

My story is actually taking place in modern-day America. The main character is from London, and is reminiscing about it. 

Terms searched: sights and sounds of london, memories of london. things I remember most clearly about London, things I miss about London.I was looking for specific examples of people writing of their personal experiences with it. Mostly all that came up was tourism. 

I'm looking for what this character might remember and think about fondly. Or maybe not-so-fondly, but it's still oddly endearing because it's home. Specific sights and sounds and smells and experiences that are specific to London. What does the sky look like there? How does the weather feel?

Example. If I were writing about Alberta, Canada, I might talk about the wide open skies, the rushing sound of wheat blowing in the dry wind, the smell of oil and cattle,the carefree attitudes of the townspeople, etc.

I've never been to London, but I'm trying to recreate a very brief glimpse of the atmosphere there. Lend a hand? =D



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When did commitment ceremonies (between two men) become popular?

I'm trying to find out when commitment ceremonies--in this case, between two men--became popular. If possible, I'd love to know when they became popular among gay men across the board, as opposed to those heavily into the gay pride movement, but I'll take what I can get. In case it matters, the setting is California (preferably LA, but I can send my characters to live in pretty much any part of CA).

Googled
"When did commitment ceremonies become popular"
"When did commitment ceremonies get popular"
"History of commitment ceremonies"
"History of" "Commitment ceremonies"
"Commitment ceremonies" "became popular"

TIA.

Edited to clarify that perhaps "popular" was a poor word choice. Maybe a better way of phrasing it would be to ask "When did commitment ceremonies hit the mainstream, even in small numbers?" That is, when was it that the idea of two men--average, quietly involved, not major activists--having a commitment ceremony became understood among those in the community as an act of love and, well, commitment, rather than a joke or publicity stunt?
  • Current Music: Peter, Paul & Mary, "Puff The Magic Dragon"

bureaucratic position in faux-Victorian England

I am writing a sort of Gothic fairy tale spoof story set in a hazy version of mid to late-Victorian London. I never actually tell the reader where the story takes place and am taking many historical liberties, but I'm having trouble inventing a detail and would like to find out how this really works.

My protagonist works for the highly fictional "Ministry of Internal Activities," as clerk for the second-in-command of the Ministry. He wants to redecorate his boss's very shabby office. What would be the title of the person to whom he applied for the money to do so? Would this person work within the Ministry or for a different department? How was money dispensed to people who did Ministry shopping (I imagine it's unlikely the clerk would be the one to do the shopping himself, but I'm okay with fudging this detail)? Would they just be handed a check and asked to bring back receipts?

I Googled things like "victorian ministries," "ministry finances," "ministry treasurer," but didn't know how to narrow it down.

Blindness in 17th Century England

So, I dreamed up this odd little idea, and want to try to make something of it. I've spent all day reading a lot of the tags round here, following varied links and occasionally venturing over to Wikipedia, and I've got a pretty good start point.

Setting: mid-1600s England, during the reign of Charles II.

I've got a character, probably mid-20s or so, who has been blind for a very good portion of his life. The reason isn't too terribly important, but I'm thinking scarlet fever or something similar when he was young (I don't like the idea of cataracts or anything similar that would cause his eyes to look cloudy or white).

What would life be like for someone in this situation? Ideally, I'd like him to be somehow connected to a tailor (possibly a family trade), but what sort of role, if any, would he be able to take? Another thing I haven't quite been able to find would be the social attitude toward someone with this sort of disability, as in how would he be treated by strangers, or just the public in general?

The situation I've got in mind has him living with a family member, maybe a brother or an uncle, and if possible, maybe helping out in small ways around the shop, but is generally seen as being quite useless.

TIA

Old New England store names needed

Hi!
I'm writing a story that takes place in a small coastal New England (Maine) town. Some of stores along the main street have been closed for a long time, but it's still possible to read what they used to be. But the thing is, I can't figure out what they used to be. Some of the stores in the rural Arizona town I grew up in say 'Sundries' and 'Feed and Tack,' but I want something more indicative of an old fishing village.

Any ideas?
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