I’m starting the first draft a new novel today. CKL asked me if it was going to be a Victorian. It’s not. So I said, “No!” in a horrified tone of voice. I was really surprised that he should ask me such a question.
Then I remembered that I just finished reading What Jane Austen Ate and What Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, and that I’m currently reading Daily Life in Victorian England by Sally Mitchell. He’s seen me with those books. He was even in the room yesterday when I started building my rural Victorian village in the Sims.
I’ve been talking about the Victorians a lot lately, too. I find the differences in our lives mind-boggling. For example, A typical laborer might need to spend more than 1% of his weekly income if someone sent him a letter. Food was more than 60% of that same laborer’s weekly budget… if his family lived on oatmeal, bread-and-butter, potatoes, and ate meat only on Sunday. Housing was expected to be less than 10% of income.
By comparison, I pay nothing to receive more stuff in the mail than I know what to do with. I eat meat almost every day, but I’m still offended if my food budget (not including restaurants) exceeds 10% of my income. And I feel like I’m getting away with something because our housing is only 20% of our monthly budget.
Those are just the easy differences. I have difficulty imagining what it would be like to live without electricity, plumbing, or communications. And that’s nothing when I try to imagine getting married and no longer having ownership rights to anything that used to be mine, including my body.
So I guess it wasn’t entirely unreasonable for CKL to ask me if I was writing a Victorian novel. But I’m just playing around with the Victorians. They’re interesting and their world is alien to me.
My new novel is much less interesting. It’s about a high school girl in a family of werewolves.