Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"No One Can Be Caught In Places He Does Not Visit"

 Or what to expect when visiting an 18th century coffee house or its 21st century recreation.

Mad Dog in a Coffeehouse, Thomas Rowlandson, 1809.
One cold day in December 1663, Samuel Pepys did what many men before him, and even more after him, would do; he went to the coffeehouse. He was greeted upon entering the central room of the Coffeehouse by a rotund yet energetic coffee man with an exclamation of “What news sir?” and the offer of a steaming dish of coffee, which Pepys took happily, adding just a bit of sugar to sweeten the bitter brew. From here he wound his way through the crowd to a heavy worn table which filled the center of the otherwise open room. Scattered across the wooden surface were various newspapers, a well-worn copy of the French play “Heraclius, Emperor of the East. A tragedy”, three flickering candles despite the daylight hour and, mixed among it all, dishes of coffee in every state of consumption. Surrounding the table Pepys found an assortment of men with whom he would share “very good discourse” some that he was well acquainted with, having shared conversations in the past, others that he had not yet met, a fact that did not limit their discussions in any way.

Among the coffeehouse patrons Pepys found the flamboyantly dressed “Secretary of the Virtuosi of Gresham College” with whom he would enjoy a “very fine discourse” concerning a newly invented instrument to be tried at the college the following day. Next his attention was drawn to a less academic but no less enthusiastic “discourse with an Iron Merchant” where Pepys discovered the difficulties experienced in that trade between the Swedes and English. A thin boy, no more than 12 years old scurried among the crowd, ensuring that the men's dishes of coffee remained well supplied. At the cost of only one penny a dish, the men were unlikely to complain about this constant attention, preferring instead to continually sip at the hot liquor without interrupting their adamant discussions.

The Discomfited Duellists, 1784.
From across the crowded room Pepys saw his good friend, taking his dish of coffee he left the iron merchant and crossed to “[sit] by Mr. Harrington, and some East country merchants” whom he found “talking of the country about Quinsborough” and “the manner of putting their nets into the water” during winter. Soon his attention was distracted by the vociferous argument at another table, as the patrons dispute the suggestion that “all the opinion now is that the Dutch will avoid fighting with us at home. . . ” Finally, Pepys found his acquaintance Mr. Harris, who he “was to meet” at the coffeehouse for business. The two eventually leave the coffeehouse but most certainly returned another time for the latest news, freshest advices and camaraderie of other gentlemen such as had been enjoyed that day.

Widow Black's Coffeehouse, 2012.

I can not promise that if you happen "to stroll into a little coffee-house", perhaps on the edge of a green field, the checkered floors & a lot hanging roof, that you will find such entertaining friends as Mr. Pepy's did, or the excitement that Mr. Rowlandson drew. However, I can promise a constant supply of the finest true English coffee, the freshest advices from around the colonies & indeed, across the seas. But most of all, I can promise an experience as true to that of the original English coffeehouses, an experience that no other reenactor or historian has attempted to duplicate purely for the enjoyment of their fellow reenactors. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Widow Black's Coffeehouse "this year", whether that is 1650, 1760 or 1812.

For more information on visiting the Widow Black's coffeehouse, the Widow's lecture schedule or to bring the coffeehouse to your event; Please Visit the Widow Black Coffeehouse on Facebook.

Works Cited

Chole White, Camaraderie of the Cup: The 18th century English coffeehouse & the development of an enlightened public sphere (2011). 

Thomas Rowlandson, Mad Dog in a Coffeehouse, 1809 (Museum of Fine Arts Boston).

Samuel Pepys, Mynors Bright, and Henry B. Wheatley, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Transcribed by the Rev. Mynors Bright from the Shorthand Manuscript in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College Cambridge Vol. 1 (New York: Heritage Press, 1942), 8 March, 1663/4.

Joseph Addison & Richard Steele, The Spectator, Volume 5 (Philadelphia: Robert Desilver, 1819).

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

You'll Get A Pie In The Sky When You Die

or making the ubiquitous Cheshire Pork Pie.

It seems everyone & their mother has made an 18th Century Cheshire Pork pie at some point. The origin of this pie's popularity likely comes from it being featured on Colonial Williamsburgs "History is Served" website. Popular among reenactors, would-be historic foodies & the occasional Anglophile, History is Served offers modern redactions of historic recipes from the 18th century. In this way it is useful for folks wanting to try something historic, while still using readily found ingredients, tools & standard measurements.

Although the original isn't particularly difficult, the Williamsburg's Cheshire pork pie is one of the most popular recipes from the site. Don't just take my word for it, check out Revolutionary Pie's version, 19th Century Cookery's take and The Regiment Cooksite's review. Those don't even take into account the folks, like me, who worked from the various historic versions as well, like Bite from the PastThe Historic Cookbook Trials.

I have an unnatural love for making pie in camp, as I'm sure those of you who have been following Slightly Obsessed over the last 7 years may have noticed. My first camp pie experience came on a whim. I simply had nothing special to do in camp that day, the coffeehouse was still in its infancy & there were no school children to educate. Instead I decided that I simply had to make a pie, despite not having a single ingredient or even a formal recipe beyond what I remembered from a very brief reading. The result was amazingly tasty & I'm afraid the success spoiled me for ever baking a pie any other way!

When it came time to make this most recent pie, I can at least say I was a bit more prepared. I have started hosting friends for dinners in the coffeehouse on Friday evenings. It's a nice way to begin the weekend; those of us who have been demonstrating at the school days are ready to sit back & relax after the hectic day & those that are just getting into camp are always happy to have dinner plans already taken care of by someone else while they tend to their own chores. So I knew that Mr. McF--- & his lovely wife would be joining me on this particularly cold & damp October evening. What better than a warm pie & a glass of shrub to warm up the evening with friends?

The Widow's Rogue Version of a Cheshire Pork Pie

  • Pork shoulder roast left over from a previous dinner.
  • A couple of potatoes from the coffeehouse larder.
  • Some apples, because you always have a few rolling around in camp.
  • A Splash of white wine & an extensive conversation with the new servant Jane on what constitutes a proper splash. 
  • A pinch of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mace, Salt, Pepper & what ever other spices sound good at the time.
  • 1 batch of "The Only Pie Crust I Know By Heart".

A Cheshire pork pie waiting for baking.


Get a good solid fire & base of coals going.

Dice & fry the pork in a bit of butter if it needs it. Cook only until it is no longer pink but not so long that it becomes dry. Historic recipes tend to put the pork directly into the pie but we can't completely forget modern food safety.

While the pork is cooking, slice the potatoes & apples. Make sure to feed a few of those apple slices to the 3 year old who is now starving after a day of playing in camp & can't wait for formal dinner time.

Make a double pie crust. I have a standard pie crust memorized & can duplicate it in camp, whenever the whim strikes. Use what ever is your favorite.

Get to assembling your pie, finally!

Lay 1 crust in the bottom of your pie plate. Pile in as much of the pork, apples & potatoes as you can comfortably fit into the plate. This will cook down, but not by much so keep that in mind when filling.

Sprinkle your seasonings over the filling. We used salt, pepper, cinnamon & nutmeg but sage might have been a nice choice.

Add a splash of white wine, just enough to add a little moisture to the filling mix but not so much that it leaves the pie crust soggy. My servant insists this amount is "2-3 tablespoons" but I refuse to be that scientific about my cooking. While you are at it, add the remaining white wine to the very large bottle of shrub waiting for the evenings revelry.

Cover your pie with the second pie crust & decorate according to your personal preference & the quality of the expected dinner guests. I went with a very simple fork pressed edge & a few venting slits on the top, pretty but practical for a meal with the local distiller & his wife.

Set-up your bake kettle with a trivet in the bottom to prevent the pie bottom from coming in direct contact with the hot kettle. Place the prepared pie into the kettle & cover, topping with a few hot coals.

Rotate the kettle & lid in opposite directions in roughly 15 minute increments to ensure even baking. Check the pie after 30-45 minutes, depending on the strength of the fire. Our pie was finished, in fact a little burned on one corner, after only 45 minutes. However, it could take as much as an hour & a half, so be patient.

Remove from the fire, serve & enjoy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Since Evolution Became Fashionable

Or, the 5 year evolution of my 1550-1610 Flemish Market Woman's Impression.

There is a common feeling among new reenactors that you must do everything Right Now, must have all the clothes, the accessories, the weapons. All of it & in no short order. While part of that feeling is understandable when falling in love with a new hobby like reenacting, it is often times not the best approach.

Flemish Market Woman v1.0 circa 2008
Reenacting is a time consuming, money devouring, all encompassing hobby. Really the only ways to go about fully developing a complete, historically accurate impression is either to be some kind of independently wealthy play-boy who really likes old stuff, or to take your time & allow the kit to grow & evolve with you.

5 years ago, I set about making a Flemish Market Woman's outfit, not because I had any special plans for it to become a long term part of my reenacting hobby, but because my friend Kass, the force behind Reconstructing History, had some ideas about the cut of the clothes that I couldn't believe without seeing for myself. In the week before a local Renaissance Faire, I managed to put together a fairly accurate, comfortable outfit. But, because of the time constraint & the fact that I didn't intend to wear the outfit more than once or twice, I didn't really worry too much about making every accessory. My kit was bare bones, filled in with a few choice pieces (petticoat, shift, stockings & shoes) borrowed from my 18th century wardrobe. I even went so far as to borrow my 18th century straw hat & scrounged all the baskets, pottery & containers I could find in all my other reenacting periods just to fill out the impression without having to do any new purchases.

Flemish Market Woman v1.0 circa 2008
That is where my Flemish Market Woman sat until 2012. Sure I would wear it every year to the local Renaissance Faire or winter trade show, but I never needed to move beyond that very simple, half borrowed kit. That was until some friends invited me to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for a day of drinking & debauchery (mostly drinking).

Suddenly, I was seeing all the flaws in my quick costume! The pinned on sleeves were just a tad to short. I really needed the black partlet to help hold my bust at the right height. My old 17th century men's shoes were no where near what would have actually been worn at the time. Worse, some of the short-cuts I had taken to get the clothes wearable, were starting to actually damage that same wear-ability. Most notable was the constant poking of the lace through the front of the kirtle. Sure it meant that I didn't have to sew lacing rings or eyelets at first, but the more I wore it, the more those holes tore the fabric. Clearly it was time to consider up grading my Flemish Market Woman kit.

Flemish Market Woman v2.0 circa 2012
First up were the shoes, I had a pair of wooden shoes I had purchased on a whim in Holland, MI several years earlier. While I can't definitively say that Flemish Women wore these shoes, their feet don't appear in images all that often or clearly, there was a pair much like mine in Pieter Aertsen's "The Egg Dance" painting from 1557. Since they were already in my wardrobe, & frankly not getting used for anything more than a door stop, I decided to use them. As it turns out, the public is awed by wooden shoes. I would get stopped no matter where I was going by multiple people with the usual question "Are those comfortable and/or hard to walk in".

Next up was a quick replacement pair of pin on sleeves. This time from some nice burgundy wool that was floating around in my fabric stash. I added a bit to the length to solve the too short problem of the previous pair & called them done.

The black partlet had been made during the first incarnation of the Flemish Market Woman's outfit, but for some reason, I hardly ever wore it. This time around I did, layering it over the plain white partlet. This gave me both just enough extra support in the bust but also brought the look even closer to that seen in many genre paintings from the era.

Flemish Market Woman v2.0 circa 2012
Now that all the old pieces were starting to look better, I decided to add a few more dedicated accessories & details to enhance the impression. Rather than wearing the bright yellow apron, I began tucking the front of the kirtle into my waist tie. This creates the very distinctive double layer look seen in paintings & quite frankly, is a lot cooler on hot summer days at Bristol than wearing the wool portion down all the time.

The last new addition to the second incarnation of the Flemish Market Woman was the "Rams Horns", or wired coif, worn on the head. This had seemed like such a daunting piece of clothing when I first made the outfit that I hadn't even considered making one. Boy was I wrong! It is nothing more than a rectangle of nice linen, with a wire sewn to the front edge. Of course, all that rolled hemming around the sides of the rectangle was enough to make me need a stiff drink, but once finished, ironed & starched, it was well worth the effort. The biggest obstacle was learning how to fold it up & over my head, pin it in place & get it to stay there. Nothing adding a few more straight pins doesn't fix!

Flemish Market Woman v2.5 circa 2013
It was about this time that I realized that for all the years I had worn this outfit, I still hadn't made the distinctive red jacket. It was that jacket that I really liked & seemed to gravitate towards in paintings. Yet it was the one piece missing from my own wardrobe. Of course, up until this year, every event that I wore the Flemish Market Woman outfit to had been during a hot, usually close to 90*, summer day. There was no real need for another layer of clothing. The Early Modern Muster of Arms in April was about to change that!

The Early Modern Muster of Arms (EMMA) would be my first over night camping experience with the Flemish Market Woman impression. Add to that the events focus on first person immersion, the potential for temperamental Midwestern spring weather & my growing interest in the slightly later 1580's era and you naturally get a reason to make that missing red jacket.

It was during a group sewing day that I finally pulled out the vivid red wool broadcloth I had purchased from Wm. Booth Draper just for this project. The jacket itself is more of an origami project than a sewing one, much like the matching kirtle. However, it was also extremely easy to make. I decided that this would be a good project to try out a new seam finishing technique that I had recently read about, the Elizabethan Seam. After all, I would be hand sewing the jacket anyway & there weren't any places where this seam treatment would interfere with pieces or shaping. The jacket is, after all, mostly a big folded rectangle with big rectangle sleeves.

Flemish Market Woman v2.9 circa 2013
Along with finally making the red jacket, I added a proper pair of leather shoes for the impression which were much safer while working in the kitchen than my usual wooden shoes. I also became determined that I had to have a new white partlet with a ruffled neck for EMMA. Little did I recall how much "fun" rolled hems are. Nor did I consider the sheer length of fabric that is needed to create a properly ruffled neck! As the event came & went, I was still hemming on that darned ruffle.

By the opening of Bristol in June of this year I had finally, after much swearing & a few very long movie marathons, finished the hemming, gathering, sewing, starching & shaping needed to finish the ruffled partlet. All that work for something that can barely be seen in a photograph! Oh well. It looks fantastic when worn & is spot on for what we see in paintings from the later portion of the 16th & early 17th centuries. The best part is now that I have made one, I don't have to consider making another for long, long time. Hopefully by then I will have forgotten just how much work it really takes to make one.

As you can see, over the years my Flemish Market Woman impression has grown & developed. It started out highly authentic, hand sewn from linen & wool & based on solid research into art of the time. But for as good as it was, there were still improvements to be made and pieces that could be added as time, interest & need allowed. This just goes to show that while it might be exciting to start reenacting a new time period (or at all), not everything has to happen at once. Heck, sometimes it takes years!

What's next for the Flemish Market Woman's impression you ask? Cloth hose, a nicer cap to wear under the coif, maybe another new pair of sleeves since I accidentally threw the burgundy pair in the dryer. Who knows. Just like with the evolution of life, sometimes the evolution of an impression just has to happen the way it happens.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Gone, but Not Forgotten

Rest assured dear readers, I am still here. Life has taken a few surprising turns in the last year. My love of reenacting had to take a back seat for several months and I am only now getting back to the place that I once was. Never once during all that transition did I ever consider giving up my reenacting.

Quite the opposite in fact! The longer I was forced to be away, the more I plotted & planned for a grand return. This new year and new outlook on my reenacting hopes, dreams & goals has resulted in a lot of growth. I now can officially add 1580s Flemish & WW2 German to my permanent reenacting portrayals. I have successfully enlarged my 18th century coffeehouse, have had the pleasure of presenting to museum visitors & come the end of the 2013 season, will have completed my busiest year ever with more than 20 events in various time periods. This year also marks the 3rd year of first person interpretation at the C. Black Coffeehouse.

But the year isn't over yet! I hereby promise that along with all the revamping of my reenacting, I will also make an effort to revitalize this long standing blog.  I have some juicy research on historic salads, a lovely 19th C gentleman's waistcoat project & several other tidbits that I'm sure you all will enjoy. So stay tuned!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Proficiency in Whist Implies Capacity for Success...

By popular demand, weekly Whist games will be returning for the winter season!

Starting with 2 opportunities to play in person at the coffeehouse, Mississinewa 1812 & Trail of History. These are you're last chance to show off all the practice you've had at events over the summer or to simply fake out your reenacting friends who think you've been practicing. Even if you haven't gotten the chance to learn this easy & period correct game, never fear. The Widow is always willing to teach newcomers and since Whist involves no gambling, your purse is safe.

Period correct beverages & treats will be available, but feel free to bring your own items to add to the atmosphere. Remember, the coffeehouse is a First Person Environment and visitors are encouraged to participate.


Whist with the Widow Returns

Friday October 12, 2012

7 o'clock

at the C. Black Coffeehouse, during Mississinewa 1812

Whist with the Widow Continues

Friday October 19, 2012

7 o'clock

at the C. Black Coffeehouse, during Trail of History

Look for further details and the Facebook event page for the online games, starting in late October and continuing Every Friday night, all winter long.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There can't be good living where there is not good drinking.

As any experienced reenactor will tell you, once the gates close and the public returns home, the true fun begins. More often than not this evening entertainment includes drinking, at times prodigious amounts, of alcohol. What are those of us who wish to remind in first person to do when the bottle begins to be passed? Surely we don't want to pass up the option of free booze and the rare opportunity to sample the home brewed concoctions of our fellow camp mates, lest of all we come across as a stick in the mud and not be invited back for the next event. Instead of sacrificing authenticity or giving up on the dream of 24-7 first person, why not incorporate those late night alcohol fueled shenanigans into our first person experience?

Of course, to truly pull off drunken first person, we must know the proper terminology to describe not only what we drink, but who we are with & how we feel afterward. So I give to you, my historically inebriated readers,
The Regency Era Drunkards Lexicon
or Terms to Turn the Tea-Teetotalers Toes.

Things to drink when you're in the Regency Era:

Adam's Ale : water, plain & simple.
All nations: the drainings of several bottles all into one pot.
balderdash: adulterated wine of any kind.
Bumbo: brandy, water & sugar,
calibogus: rum and spruce beer mixed
Cobblers punch: The frightening combination of treacle, vinegar, gin & water mixed. Yes, together.
conny wabble: eggs & brandy beaten together.
Crank: A classic gin & tonic water, without the tonic.
Flip: small beer, brandy & sugar combined & heated with a red hot poker.
Sir Cloudsley: flip with lemon added named after Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cloudesley Shovell.
grog: rum and water.
hog wash: a thick, bad beer. Like flat Pabst Blue Ribbon.
rot gut: small beer
scandal broth: tea-drinking
slip-slops: tea, water-gruel and anything taken medicinally.
tall boy: The same as it is today, a two quart pot or bottle.
twist: half tea, half coffee

What to say when you're drinking in the Regency Era:

We gave the bottle a black eye: drank it almost up
I'm chapt: thirsty, very very thirsty.
dead men: empty bottles
tipsey: almost drunk
toss pot: a drunkard
wet one's whistle: to drink
chirping merry: exhilarated with liquor
toast: a health said over drinks

How much to drink in the Regency Era:

a bumper: a full glass
like a beast: only when thirsty
a dram: a small measure of spiritous liquors
Bung your eye or fire a slug: drink a dram
Just a nip of ale: a half pint of beer
a cup of the creature: a cup of good liquor
a swig: a hearty draught of liquor

What NOT to do when you've had too much to drink in the Regency Era:

cast up ones accounts, cascade, to shoot the cat, flash the hash : vomit
churl: drink malt liquor immediately following wine
admiral of the barrow seas: vomit into the lap of the person sitting opposite due to drunkenness.
Become boosey, flustered, foxed or groggified : to get drunk
capsize: drink till you fall out of your chair
become cropsick: sickness in the stomach arising from drunkeness
guzzle: to drink greedily

List complied from Captain Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.

Self-Portrait by Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin, 1771.

“I'd love to participate but I don't have a character.”

I've heard this a lot since beginning First Person Interpretations Day at the C. Black Coffeehouse back in 2010 and feel the need to address what I think is a common misconception. There is this idea that you have to have a “character” in order to do first person reenacting. This is simply not true.

There is nothing in first person reenacting that requires us to take on anything fake, from the accents to the personal backgrounds and everything in between. The simplest and most honest persona is the one that you already have: yourself. There is no reason that whomever you are in your modern life, can't also be who you are when doing first person, only with a little historical twist.

So, in order to help others prepare for the upcoming reenacting season and the ongoing first person interactions offered at the coffeehouse, here is a simple guide to turning your modern self, into your historic self.

The Basics

Name: Use your real name. That way you don't have to remember to respond to a new name while at events! It is also easier for your fellow reenacting friends, especially if they are also doing first person and having a hard enough time remembering to call everyone “Sir” or “Mr.”!

Age: Subtract your actual age from the year you are portraying to get the year you were born. Stick with your real birth date, it's easy to remember & face it, no one is going to ask you when your birthday is while in character anyway. However, knowing the year that you were born historically, does help with the types of experiences you might have had. More importantly, it helps you to remember just how much of the era you've lived through! I am sometimes surprised to discover just how much of the late 18th century my Regency self would have experienced, or maybe I'm just older than I realize.

Occupation: What skill or trade do you already have? Do you typically demonstrate, sell items or do certain tasks around camp? What do you do in the modern world & how does that translate historically? When in doubt, be someone generic. A street seller, a sailor or a solider, a servant, anyone that is one of a large group is easier to portray. This is doubled if that generic person is also of the lower classes. Remember, there might only be one General Washington, but there are hundreds of Private So-N-Sos.

City or Country: This is probably one of the things that scares people away from first person reenacting the most, having to decided where to be from. I will let you in on a little secret, unless you are in a very organized event, with a focused time & location, no one really cares where you choose to be from!

Want to hear another secret? Only the super hard-core folks will notice any little flaws in the match between your personas location, clothes, accent etc. If anyone comes up to you while you are doing first person and starts nagging that (some picky little detail) wouldn't have been used by a (whom ever you are portraying) in (where ever you are from) in (what ever year it is), you have my permission to tell them to get stuffed, especially if they are not making the effort to do first person!

When ever I am asked where I am from, or more often where the coffeehouse is located, I always tell them we are “3 miles from town”. What town? Well “the” town of course, don't they know what town is just 3 miles away? Being vague, yet specific, is a great way to be flexible as event locations are always changing while our personas do not.

Self-Portrait by Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigee le Brun, 1800.

Class Level: Most of us are lower class, even those of us portraying business owners or tradesmen. Just like in life, start at the bottom and worry about working your way up over time. This goes along with your choice of occupation as well. It's easier to portray one of the masses. Don't be afraid to be a generic, lower class nobody! Want yet another secret? Portraying the lower class is also cheaper; less accessories, simpler clothes and no fancy duds to try and keep clean while in camp. This means more time to really enjoy not only the events, but the first person interaction as well.

Spouse & Children: If you have them, great. I'd suggest using them, especially if they are doing first person with you. If they don't reenact, or you don't have one, there are lots of reasons a spouse could simply be “someplace else”. The war, sailing, at work, in “the” town etc. The same goes for children. Indentures are another great way to get rid of your children, whether you actually have them or not. I frequently mention my own daughters “indenture” to various (and constantly changing) individuals, when in reality she is just at home.

As morbid as it sounds, death is another good way to explain someone not being there. One point of caution however, especially for widows, be prepared to explain how your husband died, the public always seems interested in that detail when you least expect it. As with everything, stick with simple, understandable modes of death, a fever, injury or that ever so helpful “war”. They are easy to remember should anyone ask, easy for the public to understand yet vague enough that no one will be unintentionally hurt by hearing the story.

Other important things to know about yourself: Can you read or do you just look at the pretty pictures? Do you play an instrument or sing out of key? Have a gambling habit? Like coffee but think tea is for wimps? Go to church regularly? Do you love gardening but the names of every single general in the war bores you to death? Think about your modern day personality and interests and how that translates into your historic persona.

Many people new to first person reenacting think that they have to know “everything about everything” when creating a persona, every battle, every politician, every tool etc. The truth is, if it's not something that you'd care to know about in the modern world, why would your historic self want to know it in their time? I can relate the recipe for a double chocolate mocha brownies by heart, but heck if I know the name of my senator; my historic self is no different!

I hope these simple tips will help many of you develop first person personas and encourage more participation in the first person interactions being offered at the C. Black coffeehouse. Remember, be yourself. The easiest way to create a historic persona, is to use as much of your real life as possible. Don't fall into the trap of assuming your first person persona has to be entirely different from who you are naturally. This just makes doing first person more difficult and creates unneeded stress, keeping you away from the fun of actually doing first person.

After all, who do you know better than yourself?

Self-Portrait by Benjamin West, 1758 or 1759.


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