A few thoughts this morning. First, I really like this Bernardo Bellotto (1722-1780) painting of Miodowa Street in Warsaw in the 1770s. I feel it truly conveys a snapshot of an urban area in Europe at that time:
That is why it will be the cover for my next book – in mirror format as above. Poland will play a part in the story. But I am saying no more here right now. 😉
Second, this reality hit me yesterday as I was looking at that painting again. Notice all of the people reproduced in it – they are strolling, mixing, and out and about. In the 1700s there was also no good medical care as we today really understand the term: they all – rich or poor, it did not matter – endured every disease and illness imaginable (and “physicians” were then still “bleeding” patients) with little but God (and perhaps personally an iron constitution and maybe luckily good genes) to protect them.
Meanwhile, in 2020 we have the best medical care in history… and we wear masks everywhere and can’t go outside. But I would still rather be us… because our situation is temporary. Theirs was not.
Lastly, that realization also led me afterward yesterday somehow into writing my first draft of what I think will be the novel’s actual opening. I have already written about “140” other pages. The opening one is set somewhere you may find familiar – New York’s Catskill Mountains, this time on “December 31, 1840”:
I never start writing with “Page One.” That first page is to me really best composed after I have produced large parts of the overall tale. I feel I cannot know what the first page should be until I have a pretty good idea of what the rest of the tale will be.
And displaying that here is no great “spoiler.” We all know our “book world” today. Online its final version will be the first story page visible as a “free sample” anyway, so you might as well see it here long before publication. 😉
Have a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂