What if I lived a hundred years ago? I, among many others, certainly tend to fantasize the world of the distant past. I like watching shows set in a time gone by, I love the look of clothes that were worn, the luxury that the upperclass citizens of those days enjoyed. I frequently set stories in worlds where I can describe such a style of living.
But if I actually did live in that time? Well, I’d probably read more. But there would be major drawbacks that my current self couldn’t face. For one, I love traveling, and a hundred years ago the option of hopping on a plane and going to Moscow, or Paris, or Sydney did not exist. (No I haven’t been to those places in my life, but they’re on the list…) Also, if the choice was between luxury where I did nothing of use or hard labor in poverty, I can’t say I would be entirely satisfied with either option. I need something useful and productive to do with my life.
But my characters are not me. I can write them into a dreamy world (before they hit their own challenges) and not reap the negative repercussions. I can immerse myself completely in them.
Some of my fellows here in the 21st century though? They don’t dream of a by-gone time. Perhaps they’re just more realistic than me, but I’d like to think it’s all about the will to dream. So I’ll keep dreaming and let those waking dreams drive my fiction.