Website alert: I think I have posted a link to the digitized Panorama of the Thames before, but it seems worth doing again for anyone who needs a soothing video trip down the Thames River in 1829. You can go upstream or down between Richmond and Westminster. Perfect escape from the news two centuries later and a great resource for historical fiction.
Picturing a World
This detail from a bird's-eye map of Tudor London is taken from a blog post, In the Charnel House, about, what else? excavation of a 14th C charnel house. The post has lots of information about history, the stonework being uncovered, etc. What made me save the image, however, was its depiction of the cluster of buildings and gardens adjacent. It comes from the Agas map, for which there is a dedicated website. The site takes a bit of getting used to, but it's an invaluable resource.
Kathleen Jennings' recent post on Mapping movements in stories sent me surfing the 'net. Eventually, I landed on Misty Beee's map, winner of a 2021 Atlas Award at the Cartographer's Guild. Oh, to be able to create something like it or like Jennings' whimsical communicative sketches! Actually, I do sometimes make rough maps and house plans to help me with my stories, and I highly recommend non-verbal exercises as a way to broaden a writer's experience of her worlds. Here's one adaped from Jennings' post:
Although COVID-19 quashed many events in 2020 intended to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, there were always books. During the lockdown, I read Jeremy Bangs' Strangers and Pilgrims: Travellers and Sojourner about the Pilgrims' earlier years in Leiden, Holland. Pieter Bast's 17th C aerial map of the city allowed me to wander Leiden's streets and visualize the neighborhood where Pastor John Robinson's congregation lived—as well as the larger city where so many other lives were being led.
Jeanette Palmer, the central character in Where the Light Falls, is from Circleville, Ohio. One of my readers was surprised to hear that Circleville is a real place. It is and, as far as I can tell, lives up to its perfect name as the quintessential Midwestern small town. A paragraph in a 1909 diary I'm reading describes a late-June storm in Circleville so dark that fireflies came out at 5:00 p.m. The diarist and the people she is visiting play bridge, escort another visitor to the streetcar, "and then took in the picture show but declined to go with the crowd to see Hargus Creek out of bounds."