by Pegg Thomas
I love history. I love reading and writing historical fiction. That shouldn't surprise anyone reading this blog, since Colonial Quills is all about history. But it’s amusing to tell this to people I meet out and about during my daily life. I get some pretty predictable responses.
“Oh. History. I hated that in high school.”
“I could never read history. It’s so boring.”
“I read a book once.” (But let’s not dwell on these people today.)
My favorite way to respond to the history haters is with a few questions.
“Do you watch Downton Abbey?” More often than not this gets a wide-eyed positive response with a little gushing about how much they enjoy the show.
“Who is your favorite character?” This varies widely, but everyone has a favorite.
“What do you think about the costumes and the setting?” I love those who admit that these elements transport them back in time. And – yes – I am setting them up.
Once they are in their happy place about Downton Abbey, I casually let slip:
“Downton Abbey is a great example of historical fiction.” tweet this
While I’ve never literally had to pick up someone's chin and hand it back to them, it’s been close a couple of times. So many people equate history with a teacher who stood over them and crammed dates and names down their rebellious teenage throats.
Oh! The injustice of that!
History is story. First, foremost, and always. Hi―story. Treat it like such and you’ll make even the most jaded history hater into a fan. And a pox upon any history teachers who are treating it like a series of dates and names. A pox, I say!