1800s, 19th Century, 2016, Alochol, Biography, Business, Drink, Fashion, Gentlemen, History, Holiday, Jewelry, Leisure, Music, Photography, Purse, Science, Shopping, Sports, Technology, Victorian, Women
It is here! The Victoriana shopping guide for 2016! Because we are all aware that you do not have gifts for everyone on your list yet.–And if you do, are you mad?! Please, teach me! This holiday list is a 19th century take on the Forbes Lifestyle List. Likewise, many of the items may only be in the realm of possibility for those with a Forbes lifestyle, such as the original Edwardian magnate; Bruce Charles Forbes. (The periodical first came out in 1917, just FYI.) So here it goes, the top eight things for the 19th century modern person in your life. The list includes current items available for purchase from companies established in the 19th century with or without the “classic lines.” All pictures are linked to their shopping page, unless otherwise noted.
“Each has its lesson; for our dreams in sooth, come they in shape of demon, gods, or elves are allegories with deep hearts of truth that tell us solemn secrets of ourselves.”–Henry Timrod.
And would you like to know my Elven truth? All my life I harbored a secret deep in the recesses of my heart.–I wanted to be a writer, but the idea of actually succeeding caused me to run in the opposite direction from my yearnings. While no longer a wee elven child, the fantasy and lure of legends still remains. Due to converging circumstances, I dig my feet in, square my shoulders and defiantly eye the seemingly adult creature in the looking glass. Today, I take a stand. It is high time I pick up the pen and write the story of my dreams!
As a small girl I obsessed over the written word. A voracious reader and avid daydreamer, I concocted my own fables and poetry for my dollies and teddy bears. Even the family dog was recruited occasionally to play the role of a valiant stead or lumpy toadstool, the role he most loved to play. However, once I began to put pen to paper, I never finished the stories. I exhausted myself with research, minutiae, character development, and world building.
Even when my poem was published at the age of nine in The Ebbing Tide, it did not spur any more outpouring of greatness. Instead, I kept repeating my brother’s horrifying words in my head and like a broken record, “Don’t be a writer or a poet. You won’t make any money until you’re dead.–Don’t be a writer or a poet, you won’t make any money.–Don’t be a writer. . . .” At the time, I burst into tears and raced to my father and asked if brother spoke the truth. Despite reassuring me many people make a living out of writing, Father did cede there are times when death increases the sales value of publications. I latched on to the negative comment and halted writing for a few years.
Now, I want to take up the quill and prove my brother wrong. It could be called an immature motive, but magic is often created out of the ashes of adversity. It is not only my brother who sparked the flame; I want to prove it to myself that I can do this, regardless of my age. I am not a dead elf yet. I still have plenty of time.
I am also doing this partially for the money. I am not going spread falsehoods. Who doesn’t entertain the idea of getting paid to do something they love? As you may know, I set a goal to pay off the mortgage to my cottage as soon as possible. The extra income from writing will expedite the completion of that quest.
Will I be the next Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, or Martin? No. I will be of the House Davis, the Pale, the First of My Name, Queen of the Broken Ears, Queen of the IceSkins, the Doyenne and First of the Elves, Lady of the Four Kingdoms, Protector of the Puppies, Princess of the Underdogs, Breaker of Doubts and Mother to No One. I am not claiming to write the next great American novel (not yet, anyways–allow some time), but simply to be a published writer.
Numerous factors prompted this resurgence of author motivation. Starting with the seed of hope that never died. Steve Kamb’s book Level Up Your Life also contributed heavily to this ambition. He suggests viewing life as a massively multi-player role playing game. Tap into an empowering alter ego, such as fierce elf who can take on any boss in the realm. Turn goals into epic quests to live out long-held-dreams and make them happen. Happen-NOW! I do love the book and the organization that spawned it. I penned a post regarding the program a few weeks ago here.
With my spiritual bent, I was also noticing signs of the universe in the form of . . . benign spiders. There are myriad associations for arachnids, least which is associated with writing. “What a tangled web we weave . . . ” Does this sound familiar? I notice more and more spiders than ever before. This time, I took the hint. The force of The Call grows stronger the more I resist. (These insects are not inside my home, should you be wondering.)
The finally push in accepting my blessed fate was a lovely comment from one of you Dear Readers. See? You have the power to motivate with the smallest act of a kind word. Do not believe you are voiceless, I know otherwise. The praise took me entirely by surprise and solidified my decision to go on this journey. With your encouragement, I am eager to start the process.
My plan is to start small and get back into the habit of scholarly authorship. I will spend a few weeks reviewing different sites and publications that may benefit from my inclinations and expertise.
If you know of a site or publication to which my voice and varied knowledge would be appreciated with paid service, I would be most grateful for a recommendation, either in the comment section or my email via the About the Authoress page.
I will work on some drafts and meticulously edit before submitting anything. I feel I am best suited for editorial/personal pieces, but I am wiling to venture out of my comfort zone and try new genres and topics of interests. At the moment, I do not have “a whole tome within me urging to break free.” Yet, who knows when inspiration will strike? My mentality is to just get out there and submit, not working on perfecting Rivendell before I turn a piece in. I am not an oracle of old who is able to predict the future nor divine precisely what each site and publication wants, but I can go in with the expectation that there are no mistakes in life.
Besides, who says you cannot dream in your waking hours? Many people are living out their childhood dreams–and beyond! I am eager to join the ranks. It will take effort but I am prepared to train to achieve my Elven truth. Besides writing is never “work,” I find it far too much fun for that! This elf simply walks to Mordor.
I will continue update this page with links as my writing gets published.
Life is getting extremely busy of late. Perhaps because school has resumed? Along with classes, there are sports; and by sports, I mean one in particular: Football. Yes, sir, my temporary widowhood is in full effect. I am back to scheduling my one hour a week cuddle time with My Suitor and planning our monthly movie date . . . , it leaves much time on my hands. Contrary to popular belief, I love it! Not, missing My Suitor part (in modern parlance, “That just sucks.”), but having Me Time!
I am no stranger to keeping myself entertained, perhaps it’s a hold over from being the youngest child and being banned from the big kids’ play. Regardless of the reason, I relish my six months of “singlehood.” I was pondering the idea of auditing a course at the local college, attending community classes, joining a club, or generally taking over the world (That is always on my list of things to do.–In fact, a co-worker likened me to Pinky and the Brain yesterday. Although, she did amend her comment saying, “Although, some days you are ALL Pinky!).
What happened instead of me looking for something to do, I was named the new Advertising and Marketing Person for the Friends of the Library organization. That said, I have absolutely no formal training in the subject; so I am researching up a storm. When questioned, they picked me because I am full of ideas and creativity, enthusiastic (I believe “spastic” was also tossed around), and hard working. I jumped at the chance! I am absolutely thrilled! The Friends of the Library organizations are essentially the fundraising arm of a public library. Every library that is not run by volunteers has one. Their sole reason for being, is to cover costs the City, Board, or Budget-makers cannot or will not cover. This could be a water fountain, furniture, computers, sponsoring specific programs, paying for conferences and training for staff, and so on and so forth. I am already a heavy contributor to the Friends of the Library Newsletter (because people keep asking me to write articles and I get to say “Yes, of course!”) Now have my own column where I get to write whatever I want. How fun!
To think this quasi-promotion comes on the heals of my own stab at marketing and advertising for the Literati, my adult book club. I sent out three articles to different local periodicals and they are all going to be featured! The cool magazine put it up on their website. The “business casual” complimentary magazine actually published it with fantastic art they created to go with the piece. This is my first time one of my article is published in print! Okay, so it is buried on page 94 of a 100 page magazine in the Dining, Travel, and Entertainment section, but gosh darn it, world take overs have got to start somewhere! I joked to my cousins who want copies of the publication, that I would even sign the article for free. Mlle V, texted me “Oooo, then I can say I knew you way back when!” To which I replied, “I know, right?! Don’t worry, I will always remember the little people who helped me along the way.”
The best part about all of this advertising for the Literati? The newspaper is going to cover it! The other librarians have had major write ups about their programs and now I can join the ranks! This is still a small town and the library makes it on the front page a least six times a year. Cross your fingers, this time it will be me on the cover!
For the curious minds, my own stab at marketing and advertising of the Literati cover about 15 different avenues. Thus far the reception has been fabulous! In fact, I have gotten three requests from other businesses and organizations to partner with the Literati. I am expecting anywhere from 30-50 people to attend the Premiere. Of course, I will write all about it here on 19th Century Modern come September. Huzzah!
It is a common misconception women of the 19th century did not run businesses. Au contraire! They indeed owned and operated businesses and not just for the trite reason that they “had to.” While it is true, a noticeable percent worked along side of a husband or father, a surprising percentage did not. Nor did they work to compensate for a pauper spouse or a dead husband. While there was certainly some “shame” in women working in some communities, it was not unheard of. In fact, do I dare say? It was rather common. To embolden you, dear readers, these female run operations equally succeeded and failed at similar rate as male run businesses! So why the tight lips in the history books???
Multiple reasons; none of them good to our contemporary ears. Most female enterprises were a pubic spin off of the sphere of domesticity. A huge percentage were milliners or in the clothing trade (lace makers, seamstresses, etc). Many worked in dry goods or created products for women. However, there are some steel mill owners, plumping company owners, and a host of other unfeminine businesses. However, unlike many men they tended to slooooooooowly build their business over time; changing a little at a time.
Which brings me to my next point, the image of masculinity in the business world. Trade and enterprise were a man’s world. It was ruthless and merciless. It required stepping on the little people to make it to the top and until recently, it took brute strength to build a craft. Women, on the other hand, were delicate feeble beings who are usually lumped to the brain power and physicality of children, slaves, and animals. Business was just unsuitable. To this end, the fairer sex were beacons of modesty, humility and virtue. The sheer notion a woman would want to make money for the simple pride and independence was a slap in the face of all that was holy and right with society. The nerve! That insolent wench!
In turn this brings me to the third reasoning: independence. A woman was basically a slave of her time, so history would have us believe. If she had money, she would not need a dowry or get married, or have children. The work would keep her away from the children. Family and society would suffer as a result (sound familiar?). If women succeeded . . . then where would men be? What use is the Male Power, if they are degraded to second class citizenship?
Lastly, most academic books were written by men. They did not want to disgrace their own gender; besides at the time no woman single-handedly achieved the wealth of Rockefeller, Carnegie or Vanderbilt. If women were diving into gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, it is because they married into money or were born into it. This much is true, but the single fact should not discredit the literal millions of women who went into business in some capacity, for whatever reason and succeed!
In short, female entrepreneurs challenged every aspect of womanhood from intelligence to physical prowess. Shrewd business acumen might make her money, but it would not win her any friends. In order for a woman to prosper in the 19th century, she had do be pretty, charming, graceful, sweet, thoughtful, and nurturing; an angel in the “wider home.” At least, those are the women that get mentioned by 19th century male historian in a footnote or afterthought. The crass bullish, unattractive women were never mentioned.