I've mentioned briefly that this new book I'm working on is shaping up to need a whole lot of that research....which isn't going so well.
Ok, I admit it: the internet age has ruined me. I no longer remember how to do traditional research.
I really don't know what I used to do before some dudes invented Wikipedia. I mean, I have these vague ideas that I read encyclopedias and books and stuff, but I don't even know if physical encyclopedias still exist. These days, when I need to do research, I spend my time wading through mountains of Google results for things like "British colonial era in India British family life", or "Tibet mountain villages ancient culture gender roles".
Yes, I know; my Google searches look like stream-of-consciousness exercises. This is what happens when you try to get quick answers to complex cultural and historical questions on the internet.
Clearly, this reliance on these new-fangled interwebs isn't working too well for me. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Wikipedia when you need to quickly find out how many people live in Botswana, or what the state animal of Montana is (for the record, it's a Grizzly bear.) But if you need to understand why a British family might have moved to India in the 1890s, and to get a clear picture of their lives there, as well as understand how an Indian woman would have viewed and interacted with said British family, then Wikipedia isn't going to be super helpful.
This wasn't really an issue when I was doing research for Cloudland. That's one of the benefits of making up a land in the sky: no research required. The rest of what I needed to look into was fairly simple, and pretty easy to find. Want to know what a school social worker does? Great. Interview one. Want to know how kids process death? Perfect. There are giant piles of child psychology books on that one.
My new project, however, is going to be heavily reliant on good research. Right now, I have ideas for six lifetimes for my two souls... none of which take place in present-day New England, which is the only time and place I'm qualified to talk about without doing some research first.
This is, as I said, a bit of an embarrassing problem. As my Google search terms grow ever longer, my actual tangible results wear thin.
So, internet friends, I'm going to do something silly and embarrassing and rather odd, and ask for your help. I need some reminders of where to look, and how to research, any or all of the following:
- Day-to-day life in the Classical Period of Ancient Greece, including specifics on the worship and temples and priests of Apollo;
- Day-to-day life, religion, culture, and gender roles in villages in ancient mountainous Tibet, 500-600 CE;
- Information on the indigenous peoples of South America in pre-Columbus times (around 1200-1300 CE), specifically in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, and the details of their culture, religion, and daily lives;
- The lives and work of the British colonialists and their families in India around 1890, as well as the lives of the Indian people, with specific information on Hindu religion at the time, and any rebellions being mounted against the British. I'm also specifically wondering how these two cultures viewed each other;
- Life as a sheep farmer in southern Australia in the 1960s or 70s, including day-to-day running of the farm, climate and weather patterns, as well as motorcycle culture during that same period;
- And finally (for now), the day-to-day life of a preeminent bio-geneticist doing cutting edge research, in the present day.