icarus_chained gave me these questions.
Eep! I got really wordy with these answers. You have been warned! ;)
I love world-building! I enjoy the grand sweep of things and the small details when creating a new world. :)
I also love the psychological study when using established characters: what part of them is their adaptation to circumstances, and what part is their core essence, unchanged no matter what world they live in?
I remember a report I had to do in the fourth grade when I was assigned the Greek Gods and Goddesses and felt like I was home. The Pagan Gods fascinated me with their human-like emotions instead of a distant God on high.
Mythology was a wonderful, rich tradition that has lasted down through the centuries, the stories speaking to us today with their universal truths.
They were closely allied with fairy tales for me, and both genres are probably why I love superhero comics so much, with their tales of larger-than-life heroism and human emotions.
It’s one of the many reasons I love Wonder Woman: her mythological background is endlessly fascinating and gave her the Golden Lasso of Truth, her bracelets and tiara, and her powers, and wisdom itself.
The Civil War
Many periods of American history have been dramatic: the Revolution, World War II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, but none has ever been quite as wrenching as the Civil War. It’s our national crucible, as the country paid in blood for the sin of slavery, and the emotions were deeper as brother fought against brother, knowing each other so well and knowing how best to wound.
So many myths and legends sprang up during the War, complete with our greatest President who was shot on Good Friday and whose legend grew after that. Lincoln embodied the War and was sacrificed to its hatreds at the end.
The War ravaged the South and took away Northern towns’ entire generations, as the custom then was for the boys from a town to form a unit. If that unit was wiped out…
Every city and town in America has a Civil War monument, many with a very long list of names.
There are stories of the common soldiers making truce while on opposite riverbanks, sending each other needed or wanted things like fruit, tobacco, newspapers, united by a common language and past.
It was the last ‘gentleman’s war’ with honor important, and the first modern American war with new technology and civilians getting caught up in battles. Unfortunately, the medical profession was still medieval and a lot of soldiers died of disease and wounds as much as on the battlefield.
Common soldiers and elite officers wrote letters home and memoirs later. Letters were still uncensored and so you receive a fascinating look at the War by those who fought it. The primary sources are extraordinary, and many more people back then knew how to read or write in proportion to their numbers of the general population than they do today.
My parents always made a big deal about holidays. We’d (including my younger sister) decorate the house and change knickknacks and create little displays, going all out for Halloween and Christmas but also having fun with holidays like Valentine's and St. Patrick’s Day.
Halloween is nearest and dearest to my heart. I loved trick-or-treating as a kid, feeling the magic of the night!
As I wrote in the Mythology answer, heroes are larger-than life but with human concerns. Comics tell sweeping tales of adventure, or rescuing kittens from trees. :) They combine the elements of mythology and fairy tales and are a joy to write.