Habitica, Time Travel, and Tea

A friend of mine encouraged me to join Habitica with him, so I did. I do feel a greater compulsion to tend to my goals when my Habitica party will take damage if I don’t. If you don’t know Habitica, it’s a way to gamify your To Do list and supports establishing good habits as well.

When I put all my tasks and goals for June and July in Habitica, I discovered that no reasonable person could do everything I scheduled. Normally, I’d just shrug and figure I’d try my best. But knowing that my group would take damage for my failures, I went ahead and created a still-ridiculous, but better list of tasks.

I’ve started doing research on Robert Fortune for the novel I’m working on. I’ve come to realize that when anyone writes time travel, they are forced to make value judgements about what events in history are important and which are not. In many cases, writers of time travel valorize the status quo (they prevent time from being changed).

I came face to face with this because Robert Fortune is an adventurer and a spy who stole tea plants and expertise from Chinese tea growers so that the British could plant it in India. He is the reason that tea grows so many places. He lived an adventurous life that should be made into a novel. He was a devoted gardener and botanist who added to our knowledge. But it is also the story of colonialism (and the atrocities of that) as well as increasing corporate control over life in many countries.

Which side am I on when it comes to time travel? Status Quo? Or something else? I’m not sure. Adventurers always steal my heart, but colonialism is troubling. On the other hand, China did wield sufficient power that she kept foreigners confined to a few coastal cities. I guess I’ll find out when I write the book. It does give me ideas for a worthy antagonist, though.

In my research for my book, I came up with a glorious fact that I intend to tie into my book. In 1942, faced with WWII and potential rationing of many staples, the British government bought up the entire world’s supply of tea (except for that produced by Japan). This is what makes history so much fun and why writing time travel is fun as well.

Be well, friends!

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