Since I’m interested in ancient times, this couple leapt out at me. They are famous and there is more than a hint of a gay relationship between the two. I’ve devoured Mary Renault’s Alexander novels, and if there’s fanfic out there of the two, I’ll read it, and if there’s fanart, I’ll look at it. ;)
They were devoted to each other, and Hephaestion stayed by Alexander’s side from childhood through his royal campaigns in and outside of their native Macedonia until he finally died (some speculated poison). Alexander’s reaction to this death was a grief so deep that he nearly lost his mind, and he died very soon after Hephaestion. In the tradition of the ancient world and royal courts, he may have been poisoned as well, but there appeared to be a significant change in his outlook on life. It may well be that he died of a broken heart, and the romance and deep love that suggests has always enthralled me.
2. Ancient Egypt
In keeping with my interest in things ancient, Egypt is right up there with Greece and Rome. I find their way of life and what they left behind fascinating. I would love to see the Pyramids someday. An archeologist at heart, I am thrilled that we have such amazing artifacts as the Pyramids and the Pharoahs’ tombs that have been discovered since the 19th century.
Back in 1996 there was a comet that was visible to us here on Earth, and that was said to have last been seen 4,000 years ago when the Pyramids were new. The sheer length of centuries is mind-boggling to me, and ties in with Alexander the Great, who lived more than 300 years before Christ, and yet the Pyramids were ancient even then!
3. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln literally had maybe one year of formal schooling yet was one of the most well-read and intelligent men to every occupy the White House. He was a shrewd politician with a sometimes-tender heart, poring over documents in order to be able to pardon deserters whom the Army wanted to execute. He was practical about the slavery issue, saying he could tolerate it to keep the Union together, but that was the politician talking. His thoughts on slavery evolved throughout his lifetime, and personal accounts of the era from black people always emphasized how he treated them with courtesy and just as he would treat a white person, and that included the famous like Frederick Douglass or a servant in the White House.
I truly believe that history would be much different if Abraham Lincoln had not been in office during the Civil War. He had such a vision and strength of purpose, even while the horrendous loss of life was slowly killing him. Once he found his general, Ulysses Grant, there was no stopping him. And Reconstruction would have been handled very differently.
It’s almost mystical, like Destiny had brought him out of the prairies to lead the country at the worst time in its history. Just read his Gettysburg Address or the Second Inaugural Address. His humanity has sometimes been obscured by myth and legend, and his assassination is one of the most wrenching and famous events in American history. I’ve stood in Ford’s Theater and seen the box where he was shot and in Peterson House in the bedroom where he died. It’s like a pilgrimage for anyone who appreciated such a unique man.
Who had his share of faults and yet overcame them to be our greatest President.
I see a similarity between these two women that would make them a good couple: they’re tough and skilled in combat and aren’t afraid of their physical beauty. They both dress in skintight outfits (yeah, sure, most superheroines do! ;) ) but do it to emphasize their femininity while still being absolutely kick-ass. Dinah wears fishnet stockings and Selina a full catsuit. Both emphasize their bodies and yet are fully capable of defending themselves and being the best among their peers in fighting skills. Dinah is a fighter par excellence and Selina’s agility and cleverness are on par with Dinah’s skills.
Both have had difficult relationships with their men of choice and might find a romance or sexual liaison with each other worth it. I see them as possibly building a life together in the future, but they are more about a mutual respect, friendship, and sexual enjoyment of each other, as I write in The Cat And The Canary Series.
5. New England
Born-and-bred, with the culture and history deep in my bones. Part of my fascination with the Civil War is the sharp divide between North and South and how I’m Northern in my blood. This is not to say I’m ignorant of the racism that existed then and exists now here. I’m just a firm believer that in the long run, it was better that the North won, and we’re seeing the fruits of that to some extent at long last.
I love the six states and how within an hour’s drive from some starting points you can go to the seashore, the mountains, and rolling fields of farmland. Autumn is my favorite season, and it’s glorious here: ablaze with color from trees, fields, pumpkins, gourds, apples…the words ‘riot of color’ truly fit. There’s nothing like a crisp, autumn day or the taste of a fresh orchard apple or a gust of wind sending fallen leaves into little arcs down the street as clouds scud across the face of the moon, and the magic of Halloween is here! :)
The culture here is like most things, a mix of sometimes contradictory elements. While we are known as the bluest of the blue states (nicknamed The People’s Republic of Massachusetts or Berkeley East), this is the state with the most Irish-descended people, and that meant Catholic Church influence for generations. Which has waned since the pedophilia scandals but still can wield influence.
I am proud that my state was the first to legalize gay marriage in the United States, and we have other liberal laws that make life easier. Unfortunately, we also highly taxed, and that drives away citizens and businesses, too.
We enjoy seafood fresh off the boat, fresh apples from the orchard, and farmers’ markets. We are a mix of blue-collar pragmatism and Athens of America elitism. Colleges are all over the place here, and there is a library in nearly every town, no matter how small. Higher learning is prized, not denigrated, except for right-wingers who despise Harvard. FDR was educated at Groton and Harvard and there is of course the Kennedys. I grew up with the Kennedys as our Royal Family, and despite their numerous flaws, that Camelot luster still has some cachet here. JFK is still very much admired, and you can see the family’s influence everywhere here.
We are the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickenson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Alexander Graham Bell.
Boston is unbelievably snobbish in certain circles, and needs taking down a peg every once in awhile. ;)
We are passionate about our sports teams, suffering with their ineptitude and losses over the years and joyously celebrating their victories. Fenway Park is a baseball mecca and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012. The old Boston Garden was home to the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, and saw famous entertainment and political events. Gillette Stadium, the new home of the New England Patriots, has seen incredible football history in its short time.
While other parts of the country is crazy about college football, we’re nuts about college hockey, and hockey in general. We love our football, baseball, and basketball, and there’s even a curling club in Central Massachusetts. ;)
There’s Canadian influence here, too, as so many people are descended from French Canadians, and Irish Canadians. The borders of Vermont and Maine touch Canada.
Our accent is still distinctive and we still have outlooks and memories that make us New Englanders.
With all the pros and cons, a pretty darned good place to live. :)