Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A book in 2 blog pages

I just have to share an amazing blog post from Rachelle Gardner. So here it is: What the Fiction Editor Looks For, Part 1 and Part 2.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Camel skeletons

Just finished Visit to the Great Oasis of the Libyan Desert, by George Alexander Hoskins. (So high-tech--I read it on my electronic reader.)
Note to self: Camel skeletons. On the way to the oases in Egypt's Western or "Libyan" desert, Hoskins passed many camel skeletons. I already knew this was a delightful feature of the Arabian desert, too; and a feature that needs to be in my fictional desert narrative somewhere. Maybe, now I've told my friends about it, I won't forget. Inch'Allah.
I wonder whether vultures and carrion crows visit "Empty Quarter", the barren heart of the Arabian desert. Probably not. Hmmm. Insects must live in even the driest desert, though.

Also just finished Letters from Egypt, 1863-65, by Lady Lucie Duff Gordon. (Also electronic.) A pretty lively account. She spent most of her time in the Luxor area. She depicts well the amazing tolerance of Luxor people for the foibles and eccentricities of foreigners. She also depicts a picturesque culture, much of which may have been lost, although people here still tend to dress in a more traditional fashion.

At church yesterday, I met a German woman whose grandfather collaborated with a remarkable Nubian man, preserving the songs and other traditions of Nubian Egypt. As we focus on antiquities, we shouldn't forget the importance of other aspects of Egypt's wonderful heritage.

And, in yesterday's sermon, Brice, the amateur egyptologist/professional clergyman, threw out the fact that ancient Karnak temple had a population (priests and others) of 80 thousand! Well, in the New Kingdom, for many decades, it was a hub of the Amon priesthood. And the Karnak site is 200 acres! (verified today at Mark Millmore's amazing Egyptian website). The temple precincts alone cover 61 acres. Just a bit or two of trivia.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Touching mother/daughter moment. LOL!

Touching mother/daughter moment. LOL! This little slice of life comes from one of my favorite bloggers--Rachelle Gardner, literary agent.
I've been in the doldrums about which direction to take my blog. Rachelle has given me sufficient direction for today!
If you have any opinions/suggestions relevant to the blog, please let me know. I think I know what you'll say--"Lighten up!" Which is why I'm posting Rachelle's post.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vehicles in Luxor

By popular request (thanks Gail), here's a little flavor of Luxor streets--in the city center, that is:

Caleches (horse-drawn carriages), giving the tourists rides.
Taxis, typically white and mid-blue.
Minibuses, sort of like 16-foot vans, fitted to cram in about 14 passengers. (Must be fun in the hot weather--a joy I have yet to experience!) I ride these buses all the time. They come along every minute or 2 on Television Street, and the ride costs half an Egyptian pound--that is, under 10 cents!
Motorbikes with loud annoying horns, ridden as fast as possible up & down Medina & Television Streets in the evening by young fellows trying to show off.
Cars that have to be covered overnight, and/or hosed off frequently, in order to keep the dust off.
Bicycles here and there, sometimes ridden in an alarmingly incompetent manner.
Motorcycle pick-ups--motorcycles with a pick-up bed on the back--and all sizes and shapes of gasoline-powered delivery vehicles on four wheels.
Donkey carts--the most common type of delivery vehicle--loaded with anything from fruits & vegetables, bread, and other foodstuffs (sold right off the cart, either in the market or as the cart passes along the street with someone braying out the wares through an electric megaphone); to
cans of propane gas for the kitchen stove (also sold right off the cart, as it passes along the street with someone banging an empty propane can loudly to summon customers); to stock for supermarkets & other businesses; to a set of wooden furniture; to coils of rebar and bags of cement powder.

Not very elegant. Quite noisy. Although the sound of hooves on my street is a sound I love, and so is the braying of donkeys. If you want elegant, or at least a little more serene, go to the Corniche (riverside road) or cross the river to the west bank.

Oh, I left out full-sized tour buses. But they're more common along the Corniche, anyway, transporting people back and forth between cruise boats or hotels and Luxor and Karnak temples and other destinations. Tour buses are making a comeback, a few at a time. Soon the Corniche will be jammed with tour buses again--inch'Allah.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Charlotte Bronte--in love?:

I just finished re-reading Villette.

Wow! Charlotte Bronte is a master of dialog--real people talking. Anything good that I do with dialog, I learned from her, I guess.

Now I'm reading Mrs. Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Bronte (one of my mother's favorite books).

Question: When Charlotte married Mr. Nicholls, did she find bliss at last, or did she "settle"? That is, was she marrying for love, or for other reasons? Or was she just confused, like the rest of us?
I always thought she found bliss at last. Finally, a soulmate. But, now I'm starting to wonder.