Downtown holds a special place in every citizen's heart. It's usually the place where townsfolk go to meet at the local park, city hall, or court yards overflowing with quaint store fronts. Most anyone in the world can name their favorite downtown. For me personally, one in particular comes to mind. Lawrence, Kansas.
Lawrence was a magnet for conflict from newspaper wars in the 1850's to August 21, 1863, when William Quantrill and 300-400 Confederate guerillas rode into town, killing 150-200 people. Lawrence was burned to the ground. What stands today memorializes the past by bringing it to life in the restored businesses, walking areas, and restaurants which survive. I feel a connection to Lawrence, Kansas. But that's not all.
While everyone has a favorite downtown, does everyone know about Downton? Yes, I'm talking about Downton Abbey, my addiction, complete with the Dowager Duchess Lady Grantham, her son, Lord Grantham, his wife, Cora, and their daughters, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil.
To those who've lived on a deserted island for the past three years, the first season of Downton Abbey was set in the early 1900's just after the Titanic sank, killing Lord Grantham's only living male heirs. He never had any sons, you see. Per the times, that was such a nasty business, so he was forced to rely on distant cousins to resume the care of Downton Abbey. When only one distant male relative could be found, that man was brought to Downton, in the hopes of taking the yoke of responsibility for the manse upon his shoulders. (Phffftt! It was also rumored that Lord Grantham and the Dowager Duchess had high hopes Matthew Crawley would marry Lady Mary, thereby keeping Downton in the family.)
Oh, the injustice! Lady Mary, you see, had already experienced FAMOOK!!!! Oh dear, it sounds like Famook, but I'm embarrassed to say, the gent's name is actually spelled Pamuk. Why, the injustice, you ask? Well, Pamuk, that handsome stranger who came to Downton for the weekend, died in Lady Mary's bed during a tryst. (Horrors!!!) As a result, she and her mother had to conceal the fact that Mary had killed Pamuk with the violence of her affections. Would you carry a dead man's body to another room in a stately manse to protect your daughter's good name and while doing so, keep the news from the prying eyes of the servants? (Someone get me the smelling salts!!!)
Well, as you can guess, many wonderful stories and side-stories about the family upstairs and the servants below stairs, have come to pass in the past three seasons. (Yes, we're already in the middle of Season three!) War has come and gone. Characters have been born, introduced, and killed off. Downton has been used as a home for wounded soldiers. Hemlines have gone from floor length to mid-calf. Hair styles, previously artfully arranged, inched up the neck to shorter fashions. By the by, through all of this, an overwhelming love for Edwardian history and costume has grown here and across the pond, giving Julian Fellowes and the cast of Downton Abbey a huge following.
Julian Fellowes, who also happens to be a Baron, is at the helm of this fabulous historical saga. If you watch this series, you already know how carefully he crafts each and every character, the artful interactions, and life-altering roles each plays to the primary character, the manse itself. As a writer, I'm continually impressed with the storylines, wity and intriguing dialogue, while interwoven plots web throughout the series. "I simply can't get enough!"
So what do downtowns and Downton Abbey have in common? Historically speaking, everywhere you go, life sources permeate the land you walk on, the very air you breath. Someone has experienced suffering, happiness, birth and death, war and peace, friendships and hatred. Every aspect of this is artfully portrayed in Downton Abbey.
Downtown binds citizens together via the experiences they've shared. Downton Abbey is an inspirational piece of history centered around a manse that binds generations of a family together.
Here's where I come in. My job, because I've chosen to accept it, is to bind emotions, travails, and characters's backstories into a pleasing adventure for the senses in every page of the books I write. To create something a reader won't want to put down by including everything I've learned from my own experiences and by watching Downton Abbey. Hey, what can I say. Lady Mary has FAMOOK!!! And Downton Abbey holds the violence of my affections.
Is there a downtown city you like most? Do you watch Downton Abbey? If so, who's your favorite character and why?