Do you ever experience a patch of apathy in your life or have a down time? I think it would be correct to say nearly everyone does. I get the ‘blahs’. A common saying when I was growing up was to feel you were in the ‘doldrums’. According to my computer dictionary, the doldrums is more than a state of personal inertia. It is also an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and very light unpredictable winds. Mostly it’s known by sailors for their vessels to float almost stationary on the ocean, unable to go anywhere, but to have them languish for days or even weeks in an oppressive heat waiting for a breeze to slowly push them south into more favorable sailing conditions.
In my last published fiction novel, Golden Promise, the convict ship bringing the prisoners from England to the new penal colonies in Australia, hit the Doldrums. Day after day the energy sapping heat brought out the worst in prisoners, which appeared to aggravate their guards more than usual. For the early pioneers, who sailed from England to settle in the new, barely explored territories in America and Australia, crossing the oceans must have been like living their worst nightmares.
Have you ever researched to find out if any of your early ancestors came from a far off continent where an ocean crossing was part of their ‘had to do’ to reach their new destination? As in the wagon trains’ exodus from east to west in America where months passed as the pioneers slowly moved towards their unknown future; so it was on sailing ships where people, faced with the most incredible odds, risked sea passages to hopefully find a better life for themselves.
When I feel I’m in the doldrums, I think of my ancestors, two brothers and a younger sister, who left their home land and sailed thousands and thousands of miles across the ocean to settle in a land infested with poisonous reptiles, spiders, dangerous sea life and a race of people they knew nothing about. That they survived the sea voyage in the wooden sailing vessels was a miracle in itself. I tell myself that their blood runs through my veins. If they had the courage to face the most horrendous challenges, then I have to dig deep on my ‘down’ days, to find the remnants of the same courage that I inherited via DNA.
I love going through museums containing artifacts of those earlier times. I marvel at the tools and household products they used to cope with life and I am filled with emotion for the women who were the homemakers. I have a lot of respect for the older generation. They can describe events and historical facts about those early days as told to them by their parents and even grandparents. Eventually, those older people will pass from this earth and unless they have left diaries or written stories about those times, this new generation won’t know about their roots. It’s important to have a written account of the past. We should all be inquisitive about where we came from, so we can pass it onto the newer family members. It gives them a goal to work toward to enable them to be determined to succeed just as our ancestors had to do.
In my book, Golden Promise, I have used historically correct events of the early days of settlement in my country, and how people coped. Readers can look back at those places and see what progress has been made since then. I have had it said that one reader didn’t know about some of the historical facts that were in my story and they were prompted to read further books about those times.
So, I hope I’ve given you something to write about. Keep a diary. Write about your area. Don’t ever say that there is nothing special to write about. Anything that is now past is of interest to somebody.
Happy reading and writing,