I have a story I’d like to tell about a small number of people from disparate places who wind up living within a few blocks of each other in the first few years of San Francisco’s history. I’m trying to figure out if I can tell the story as a speculative history with a lot of “must have,” “would likely have,” and “may have” language and still make it interesting. I don’t have a big argument I want to make about the history. I am an historian, but also an anthropologist who watches and records in order to make sense of the culture. I think there’s value in using the historical record and the digital tools available to us in order to document the patterns of movement of individuals and invite into the narrative all of the other possible participants and observers of events from the past.
On the other hand, I think maybe I should just write a fictional account with a lot of careful historical research about the city and the circumstances of the times. We’ll see what happens. Because I don’t know exactly how I’m going to piece it together, and in order to preserve the possibility of keeping this in the realm of History, I decided to use this blog format to organize my research and my thoughts. Again, we’ll see what happens. I can be a sharer when I decide to be, so I’m sure I’ll write more about myself, but for now I want to pull on the threads of this story.