It's no secret that many writers base their stories on real events and real people, such things planting the seeds for inspiration without knowing or intending it. Hundreds of inspirational and awesome stories have been taken from accounts and given us all manner of fascinating literature that have become staples of pop culture. Sure, a lot of stuff is stretched from reality, but hey, in the name of raw entertainment, sometimes that's justified. It usually contains some grain of truth.
But sometimes despite all efforts, reality tells you that the little seed your looking for just ain't there and that you'll have to set up shop somewhere else. Bugger all, why?
See, I'm kind of a fan of old adventurers throughout history. Men like Jim Corbett, Jim Bridger, Walter Maitland "Karamojo" Bell, Jedediah Smith, Hugh Glass, PJ Pretorious, Lewis and Clark, Annie Oakely, James Patterson, Calamity Jane, Samuel Baker, Theodore Roosevelt, Bass Reeves, Candido Rondon, and dozens of others that I don't have time to mention, these are just most of my favorites. What almost all of these men and women had in common was that they went out adventuring, exploring, hunting, fighting and shooting mostly just for the sake of doing it. Sure, a few of them had to do certain things out of duty for their country or job, but that doesn't lessen the fact that the things they did were amazing and insanely hard to do. In a day when one is able to get famous for absurd things, well more so than usual, these people are still legends that continue to live on.
In The Sandlot, the guy playing Babe Ruth gives Benny a pep talk and gives one of my favorite lines in cinema that still rings true: "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die."
There are entire websites dedicated to talking about people of every race, creed and religion doing awesome things, notably this place. http://www.badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi
So why in the holy heck is it that when I'm trying to find inspiration for characters for stories I'm writing who are of Chinese persuasion I can't find a single bloody one? In my storylines the Chinese are huge players, and I don't want to have just Europeans and colonists doing all the adventuring. But dangit, I'm having a devil of a time finding one, just ONE Chinese explorer, hunter or adventurer that operated within the 1700's or 1800's. It is just that they didn't have a culture that encouraged that kind of thing? Is there a conspiracy to suppress information on Chinese adventurers that went around doing awesome deeds in jungles and forests?
Or is it just that, and this bloody depresses me, they haven't had any guys in history that did that? Sure, they've had some sailors that explored around coastlines and islands along with super impressive soldiers. But nowhere can I find a grizzled wanderer who braved the odds, kicked butt, hunted down man-eating tigers or found a lost civilization and raided their treasury then skipped back to town to tell the tail.
In fact, no matter where I look on the internet, I can't even find information on casual hunters way back in the day! It looks like hunting has only cropped up there within the last few decades and has no real hunting culture, even in ancient times, which I find almost impossible to believe. They've gotta have something!!!
Dang it. Dang it all. Reality, why can't you throw me a bone here? With a population of hundreds of millions and a few hundred years, you don't have the courtesy to deliver just one person I can base some stories off of? One guy, or girl, to base a concept on and make a hero out of? I mean, sure, plenty of warriors, but that's not what I'm looking for. I need a frigging frontiersman, a hunter, a scout. Someone who sailed a small ship up the Amazon river while being beset by rabid jaguars. Someone who killed a man eating tiger. I'm not asking for that much, am I? C'mon reality, help me out here!
... No? Just gonna sit there all smug and just continue being reality? Sigh. Fine. Maybe you can help me Internet. Can any of ya'll help me out here? I'd be eternally grateful for any information you could give me. I really don't want to resort to flat out making crap up. I'm not ready to go this route just yet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaolin_Cowboy