In like a Lion


After 5 months of hockey, and 3 months of basketball, the winter sports season has mercifully come to an end. This weekend saw the last of the games and practices. Now there is just the CAA Swim meeting coming up at the end of this month, and a handful of swim practices. I have absolutely no idea what we are going to do with our free time. Write a book I guess.

After all the encouragement I received from the seven of you that read this blog, I have decided to press on and turn this story into a book. (This is my way of saying, it’s all your fault) So the weekend was spent researching both the real life events, and what life in the 1880’s was like in Batavia. I never cease to be amazed at the amount of information that a person can obtain via the internet. Who knows if any of it is true, but it’s still impressive.

Looking East down Main Street, unknown date in horse and buggy days.

Here’s some of the interesting things I discovered…

A website with thousands of scanned copies of Newpapers from all over New York State dating from the early 1800’s, up through the 1970’s.

Batavia had a hell of a lot of Newpapers come and go during the 1800’s, but the grand old “Daily News” has managed to last over 150 years. That’s pretty damn impressive. I hope they live for another 150 so that biographers in 2100 can do adequate research on the hoopla surrounding the release of my first book.

in the 1880’s the bustle began to go out of style, as women rose up and started a sensible dress movement. Hoops disappeared from dresses, and tight laced corsets went out of style. With transportation becoming more accessible, clothes changed to accommodate a more mobile populace. Comfort suddenly began to be a concern. So I guess in a way, we can blame the 1880’s for the Pajama Jean.

Horse drawn taxis were called “Hackney Carriages” or “Hacks” for short. Although Hansom cabs would eventually become the norm, in the 1880’s only England, and the larger east coast cities had adopted them.

I know that this must be boring you all to tears, so I’ll stop now. Suffice to say, I am endlessly fascinated by what I am learning. I hope to continue to marinate in the 1880’s until I have such a clear vision of the place, and events, that writing about it is nothing more than committing to print what I can already “see.”

Perhaps I missed my calling as a historian. I’ve always been a lover of history, and the obscure. From what I have already found out about the history of Batavia I should be able to craft a whole series of novels fictionalizing it’s history, and probably sell about 30 copies.

I realize that I may never get published, and in the end this may all turn out for naught, but if nothing else all this research should make me an even more formidable opponent at Trivial Pursuit.

So if posting seems a little light in the coming months, please understand that I am probably furiously typing away at another windmill. Maybe I’ll even slip in a few excerpts if it goes well.

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16 thoughts on “In like a Lion

  1. I wish I had the vision and the attention span to embark on some sort of project with this kind of magnitude.
    Sadly, this shall never be.
    Just remember to insert a subplot that includes a star crossed love affair between a time traveling cavewoman and a dapper gentleman from the 1800’s. It adds pizazz and sexual tension!

  2. Well, Tom,

    You know that I am a history student, so I’m not going to get bored by interesting details, and the details you provided were interesting because they stimulated the imagination. Why did one style of cab go out and other in? Why the bustle in the first place?

    In a story, “Oh, I do like these new kinds of cab, what do they call them? Handsome? No? Hansom? No matter. Such a much smoother ride!”

    (Actually, I have NO idea what either kind of cab is.)

    Also, I am looking into publishing my first novel on-line, both as a free version, and a posh pdf version, not free, but cheap. Have you considered that? Success there could get you a publishing deal.

    I do not have the answers. I’m just thinking and wondering.

    • It’s still way too soon for me to worry about that. In the past I have looked into self publishing out of curiosity. There are several online companies catering to self publishing & print on demand. Blurb, Lulu and Amazon seem to be the three biggest names. Of course, they make their money off of charging for services, so I’m sure they will hard sell you to upgrade beyond the standard (free) packages. Regardless, there seem to be plenty of options.

  3. Hi Tom,

    Great idea for a book, and from your prior post, it sounds like you are off to a great start.

    I am addicted to the Fulton Postcard newspaper site. It is a gold mine of genealogy and local history info. Its been very cool to look back and see my grandparents and great-grandparents names listed on the honor roll or see what songs they sang at the the St. Joe’s Christmas pageant a hundred years ago or so.

    • Thanks Steve,
      I’ve been amazed just reading the old papers. It’s not the” big news” but the little details of life at the time that are so fascinating.

  4. In jest I submit that “If All is for Naught”, then conversely, “Naughty is for All.”

    A little historical spice may help to sell more than 30.

    Good luck with the book!

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