One of the greatest aspects of being a writer is that there is so much we can write about, but choosing what to write about has it’s difficulties as trying to be inspired for new and interesting topics. I know I absolutely need my blog to express myself in different ways and I use my book to have a more structured approach to writing. Not that a blog shouldn’t be structured it should be, but I am more a free flow kind of writer at times.
For many who read my blogs you will see I have many interests from Political, Christian to Bigfoot and the paranormal. I find that my creative outlet is important to get it out until I no longer feel the need to write about it. There are certain topics I will always write about and then are some topics that seem to want to burn a hole in my heart until I write about it.
This leads me to my next topic and series that I have always had an interest for, many times due to my own personal interest and my influences such as film. Film is a very important influence to me as many of you have seen. I have seen so many films over my life time from childhood which has influenced my writing. For many who read my Stories from my childhood series you know this, but feel free to read these and catch up once again here. https://josephmeyercreatives.com/2020/05/10/weekly-feature-conclusion/
Life In the Circus
I think its about time I start a new series of writings that deal with a topic that I have great interest in which is wait for it…The Circus ! That’s right something that I have always had a love for and although we don’t have the true circus any more because in my opinion animal rights activist have destroyed the way we view this show which was around for years until a few years ago when the last great circus Barnum and Bailey circus disappeared forever.
There are still circuses that exist but many of them do not have animal acts. Some of you may be saying well of course the circus would have been abolished for being inhumane to animals, why animals should NOT be used a props. To a certain degree you may be right but its my opinion that animals have been used for entertainment for centuries because we as spectators enjoyed the tigers, elephants and bears at times among other animals. Most importantly there was human element of clowns, a ring master, jugglers and acrobats.
I understand in todays day in age we have tons of other forms of entertainment right in the comfort of our homes where as the Circus was created at time when there was no television , no radio but just a more natural form of entertainment something we know little about today, but find we need it more than ever.
The circus probably could have been revamped with the times such as with Barnum and Bailey but they chose to close shop due to amount of law suits and after a certain point they had to say enough to stop the suits.
I remember the last time I visited the circus which was in 2009 with my then girlfriend and future wife as we enjoyed the show, what an experience. There is a few other circuses that exist today such as Circus Vargas and there are a lot of small circuses from Latin America that come here, but nothing compared to what once was.
This series my hope is to really examine the history and even the people involved and their histories, especially those who were different. I will use the word different because many times they are called freaks, a term I don’t agree with because they were and are human beings.
I know in media they have been exploited for there differences especially in films like Freaks, PT Barnum and The Greatest Showman, which is what really caused me to want to dig deeper in those stories. I understand that maybe the circus has been written about to death, there are probably tons of books about the history and the origins of the circus and that’s ok we all have a different perspective and way of telling the story.
I hope my interpretation is one that you will read and like and do my best to make it as factual as possible with research and time.
Not really sure how deep I will go with this as with anything else time is of the essence and finding certain details can be difficult. But I will say this if there is a “Different person” that has been displayed in the media, that person most likely existed (i.e Bearded Women). I can only say that main reason I wish to write about it is because there is an interest and I think in my opinion there are not a lot written about those who are different, almost like a profile.
So buckle up, get ready to enjoy what I hope to bring forth, but to begin this journey, I will start with the basic history of the circus and then dive into the major players and its characters in future blogs.
The modern day circus could be said to be relativity new but can be traced back to ancient Rome. The great Roman amphitheaters-called circuses after the Latin word for “Circle” were most devoted to gladiatorial combats, chariot races, the slaughter of animals, mock battles and other blood sports.
The most spectacular of these arenas, the Circus Maximus, was in operation more than 1,000 years. Ancient people performed other acts associated with the modern circus. Acrobatics, balancing acts, and juggling are probably as old as humankind itself, with records going back to Egypt as early as 2,500 BCE.
For centuries there no attempts to organize such acts into distinct entertainment; rather individuals and small troupes of performers with specialized talents wandered through Europe, Africa and Asia. Fairs played an important role in developing trade throughout Europe from 7th century until the late medieval period at which point regular channels of marketing were standardized.
Fairs became a place less for trading than entertainment, providing a showcase for performers, trained animals and other elements associate with the modern day circus.
Modern Day Beginings
By 18th century they were regard as unsavory affairs, a gathering place for pickpockets, thieves and vagrants. The modern circus came into being in England in 1768 when Philip Astley, a former sergeant major turned trick rider, found that if he galloped in a circle while standing on a horse’s back and used centrifugal and centripetal forces to stay balanced.
Due to this discovery that he often credited with having invented the circus ring, but it was in fact a device that had been in use for some time by trick riders. He did however experiment with the ring in order to determine it optimum size for both rider safety and audience sight lines. Astley’s shows consisted only of trick riding exhibitions until 1770, when he hired a clown (“Mr. Merryman”), musicians and other performers for his show in order to provide spectators with diverse entertainment.
Due to these innovations, he is credited with have developed the modern circus, eventually building a roof over his ring and added a stage for dramatic performances.
The Rest is History
There is so much history to the circus and this will not be the end but the beginning of what I intend to write. In a sense this will be like a history lesson for many of us but one I find to be a fun history. I will say the other reason I am writing this is because of my daughter who absolutely loves the film the The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman among other great cast members.
I movie particularly resonates with me because of the music but also about a man who takes those who are different under his wing. At the moment I will leave out the political ramifications of his choices and who he was a real man because deep down we know he exploited those differences for profit, but if we focus on the movie for a moment there were real friendships and love between him and the performers.
I hope in my writing I will display the human side of these performer and the truth about those who may have exploited them. Obliviously in the film version they would not show him abusing the performers or the animals, but we know it happened as I have seen documentaries on those practices.
I do believe we have the ability to be humane to animals but many could care less about that they just don’t wish to see animal performers, but to this day there are still dogs, bears, cats and other animal performers in movies and TV which don’t seen to bother people, better yet it probably does but humane is the key word.
Please join me on this new adventure and I will do everything to make it worth your while, all aboard the circus! Will you join me.