I attended the Historical Novel Society's first North American conference over the weekend. A wonderful time was had by all, but in one presentation in particular, i realized it take a certain kind of person to write historicals--namely, anal. ;)
The speaker was discussing how women's history has been left out of history in general and how, when she sees a powerful man, she asks, "What's the female equivalent?" something she learned from the daughter of a friend of her family. This led her to a story about the daughter who, on the way to a bar mitzvah, asked her father what the ceremony was about. The father "didn't want to talk about such things with his daughters, but he gritted his teeth, clutched the steering wheel and began to tell them about circumcision and its meaning in Judaism..."
At this point, there was a general rumble in the audience. I, too, realized that circumcision had nothing to do with the bar mitzvah, but didn't feel the need to share it with my neighbor like most of the rest of the group. When question time came around, the first one was, "You might want to tell your friend that a bar mitzvah has nothing to do with circumcision" which the presenter said she knew but had nothing to do with the story.
I had to laugh. How many of those writers are just as demanding of themselves as they were of the presenter, do you suppose?