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    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    I Have a Problem

    I have a problem. It’s directly related to me writing. My problem is that when I get a new idea, or an idea that I need to implement into a preexisting work, I can’t actually write it down until I’ve completely exhausted myself researching it. Take for instance my desire to change the opening of CA. I want to open the scene with my soon to be integral orphan running through the dank dusk time alleys of Victorian London being chased by a couple of thugs that will eventually be revealed to be purveyors of young urchins to a rather nasty fellow. The problem I ran into is that I want the orphan to escape from them near a place of science where a symposium will go terribly wrong just as the orphan passes by, thus intrinsically interjecting the orphan into the bigger story that is unraveling. So OK, that doesn’t sound too difficult. But first, I need an actual place that existed in 1889 where such a symposium takes place. So, I do a little research, just to get the name. I don’t want to have to go back later and figure out all of the facts.

    So, it isn’t too hard to find one. The Royal Institution of Great Britain, over 200 years old thank you very much, where a series of enlightening lectures have been going on since its inception.

    “Friday Evening Discourses are formal lectures founded by Faraday in 1826 and continue to this day, although there has been some evolution in their details. Some very important scientific discoveries have been announced at them, for instance the invention of photography (1839), the beginnings of field theory (1846) and the existence of the fundamental particle later called the electron (1897).”

    Perfect. Also, it has a nice bit of history that already defines that atmosphere I was looking for, ala busy.

    “Indeed so popular were the lectures of Davy in the early nineteenth century, that all the people coming in their carriages made Albemarle Street so crowded that it became the first one way street in London.”

    Which it continued to be well into the late 19th century.

    The problem is that I now want to know if there were any alleys as well as whether a street urchin would have found his way here, over the Thames to beg, or be chased even. So, I do more research. What I find out is that unless I plum through hundreds of pages of unrelated Westminster history, I’m not going to be sure. So, I hesitate.

    Then, while reading some history I come across mention of The Albemarle Club, a private club and the first to allow both men and women, most notably remembered for the fateful exchange, or I should say card exchange, that took place between The Marquis of Queensberry and Oscar Wilde. Now The Albemarle Club is located at 13 Albemarle St just down from the RI, which at the time occupied 19 and 20 Albemarle St, so again I’m getting a bit excited since one of the things I want to do with CA is to bring in brief cameos of real people of the time to keep it grounded in reality somewhat and add some fun spice now and then.

    Of course bringing Oscar Wilde into the picture when a young boy is concerned is fine for me, but less intelligent people, those who think all homosexuals are pedophiles, might have a problem with it. I don’t care what they think, but these things constantly run through my mind further distracting me. I like private clubs, and I like Oscar Wilde. However The Albemarle Club is where, after many years of rivalry, Oscar was having an affair with the Marquis’ son, “Queensberry left his calling card complete with misspelling of the libelous word: "To Oscar Wilde, posing as a somdomite." Well, this led to the infamous trial of Oscar Wilde who sued the Marquis for libel that ended in a two year hard labor imprisonment for Wilde, who was convicted of homosexuality, and who died only a few years after he got out of prison.

    What does this have to do with my story? Nothing of course. Which is why I have a problem. Now all of it is interesting and all of it is nice in the sense that with just a few sentences, a few establishing shots, and a little forward movement, I can imbue a nice opening scene that will quickly meld science fiction with historical characters. OK, but I just spent three hours looking this stuff up unable to tear myself away to actually write the scene, which I still haven’t written because of course I wanted to write this first. Now I’m tired and have no idea how to incorporate all of this just yet in a nice round dramatic bit.

    Unfortunately, in 1889, Mr. Wilde, living under the assumed name of Sebastian Melmoth is in Europe, no longer welcome in London society and he will die of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900.

    So, like I said I have a problem.

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