“Let me see if I understand you,” Pharaoh said thoughtfully. He raised one long fingered hand and ticked off the points as he spoke. “One the Crown Prince has gone haring off to parts unknown. Two you have no idea where Prince Khaemwaset is, but three you do know that he tried to drug his brother, and four a spy sent the Crown Prince’s ring back to him as a sign of urgent danger to Prince Khaemwaset. Five the army is in a state of alert, and six the city of Memphis is virtually under siege. Am I correct so far?”
It took me a moment to realize what was wrong with the text. Actually, it doesn’t look so bad, even now, but I’d placed hyphens in to highlight the way Ramesses was ticking off the points on his fingers. And the hyphen between ‘long’ and ‘fingered’ described the sort of fingers he had on his hand. Without it, His Majesty had a long hand equipped with fingers.
It should have looked like this:
“Let me see if I understand you,” Pharaoh said thoughtfully. He raised one long-fingered hand and ticked off the points as he spoke. “One-the Crown Prince has gone haring off to parts unknown. Two-you have no idea where Prince Khaemwaset is, but-three-you do know that he tried to drug his brother, and-four-a spy sent the Crown Prince’s ring back to him as a sign of urgent danger to Prince Khaemwaset. Five-the army is in a state of alert, and-six-the city of Memphis is virtually under siege. Am I correct so far?”
Sean´na`chieA bard among the Highlanders of Scotland, who preserved and repeated the traditions of the tribes; also, a genealogist
I remember reading a woman’s account of her mother teaching her some songs and saying ‘You’ll need this some day’, as though the songs would help her to cope with whatever life deals out. She said that it had.
I can attest to that. I was listening to The Mary Ellen Carter, a song written by Stan Rogers about the wreck of a ship. It had been recorded by an Irish group of pub singers (and darned good they were, too!), and I was enjoying the tale of the ship, how she was wrecked, and how the remnants of her crew determined to bring her back (‘make the Mary Ellen Carter rise again’).
And then I heard the last verse:
How many of us read a novel and get something from it aside from a moment’s entertainment? I know I do. (Heck, I’ve taken away some pretty profound lessons from Disney’s cartoon The Emperor’s New Groove – watch it and you may see what I mean!)
We write our books (most of us) to entertain people. I am still blown away when I see that someone shelled out cash to read something I ‘made up out of my own head’, but maybe that’s just my oddness. Our creativity is fueled by everything around us – whether stories our grandparents told us or myths we have heard or things we have read. When I talk to people about what they have read, that I have written, and what they have gained from reading it, I am left feeling a little breathless.
Perhaps I, too, am a seannachie.
I’ve been overhauling my book cover, and this day I worked on the cover for The City of Refuge. I’ve wanted to redo it for some time.
The story takes place in Akhenaten’s capitol city of Akhet-Aten (better known as Amarna). It occurs twenty-five years aftr it was abandoned. Although Akhenaten is long dead by the time of the story, his presence is definitely felt.
I’d be curious about others’ thoughts:
I do some graphic design in a small way, and I manage a couple websites. Recently I was asked by one client to find a photo of a cat she owned and send it off to another person to be used in an award that this cat won,
While the person in question is intelligent, charming and very good indeed, she and her equally delightful husband are firmly settled in the era of wax tablets and sealing wax.
They don’t understand the need for good photos and the ways to preserve them.
I asked them if they had a photo of the cat in question – a fellow named ‘Anzo’, which means ‘Young God’.
Anzo hails from Paris, and for the first couple years he lived in the United States he understood only French. At one point his owner was trying to coax him from his bed at a Cat Show. He just blinked at her.
I came over. “Anzo!” I said. “Leve-toi paresseux! Allez, allez!” (Anzo – get up, lazybones! Come on!) He widened his eyes at me and strolled over.
Six years later he is retired and getting an award.
One photo was tiny. I couldn’t make it any ‘bigger’ or clearer. So I located another, scanned by his owners in antediluvian times:
Poor color, faded… I cringed. And I decided to try to retrieve it. Anzo was gleaming black with bright copper eyes and a level look. I didn’t think it would be terribly hard to bring him back. So I set to work.
Photoshop has tools that enable you to cut blur, restore brightness and contrast, and cut ‘noise’ from a photo. If you know what you are doing, you can restore the ‘freshness’ of a photo. This has nothing to do with falsifying things (which, unfortunately, some people do), and everything to do with making repairs. Here’s handsome Anzo, the charming fellow from Paris, in all his original glory.
I’ll have to post some other endeavors, but that will be another time.
You went to the store to buy some croissants, but you remembered that George hated them, so you opted for the raisin bagels, instead. That’s when you saw him – the man you’d longed to meet and finally gave up meeting…
Khay lost his temper. “You’re an arrogant, hard headed fool,” he said with cutting deliberation. “You ignore what you know is good advice to follow your own half witted schemes. I wash my hands of you!” (you can see Khay’s reaction)
“And you’re the biggest fool in all Lower Egypt!” Hori snarled. His hand rose almost unconsciously to touch the bruise at his forehead. (now you’re watching Hori)
That slight movement made Khay take a half-step forward. “Wait, Hori!” he said. “Wait! Please – understand me. You aren’t just Crown Prince here: you are my brother and I love you. I don’t want you to be harmed in any way-“ (Khay sees the movement and his heart softens)
Rahotep plunged into the coolness of the night and moved purposefully across the courtyard toward the processional way that cut straight through the temple. If he hurried along there and then cut southeast he would come to the series of pylons that culminated in the ruined southeast gateway of Seti I. The pylon of Amunhotep III lay closest to him if he went that way, though it would entail cutting through the sanctuary.
He drew his robes closer about him and shivered. His night of triumph had somehow turned threatening. He thought he could feel eyes upon him, and the silent statues that he passed in the dimness all seemed to be staring at him.
Following the tide of memory can be risky. We turn our thoughts and emotions toward a moment in our past, recalling it through the eyes of memory and feeling it with our beings that lived through the moment and beyond and bringing to bear on that act of recollection the subsequent knowledge that our lives have brought us. The moment is not the same. We know too much now, we are able to see where we were before it, and where we went after it had its influence on us. We risk stepping into bitterness, the sense of the hollowness of hopes and dreams.
If we had the chance to relive the moments that we thought were the turning points of our lives, how many of us would behold them unchanged? Many of us would say, “I wasn’t so desperate then,” or, “If I had known how swiftly my happiness would flee,” or perhaps, “I was so deluded at the moment – and I didn’t know.”
And yet, as I sit here at my desk, I can turn the eyes of my memory back to one moment that remains in every particular just as it was at the time I experienced it. It hasn’t changed at all. If I could step backward, turn and enter that specific date and time, seeing it through the eyes of a grown man. I would feel the same way, see the same things, speak the same words. But maybe, knowing what I know now, there would be an added spice, the ability to sit back and say, Yes, that is how it was. I remember the feelings. I feel them now. That was then, this is now, but that moment so strongly ties them together, it is present and as strong as ever.
So, then, the moment.
It was, as I remember, a day in March, a blustery one. Snow lay on the mountains in untidy rags, diminishing each day…
It’s odd the way memory works. I just lifted a reed pen, scraped my thumbnail over the tip to see if it was sharp, and suddenly I wasn’t sitting as I am now, in a drafty stone hut in the midwinter with three days’ growth of beard on my chin and a stomach sour from eating too much sausage, but enjoying the warmth of summer, sound of body with a good horse between my knees. It’s HIS doing, I suppose, since it was he who taught me to hold a pen and first traced the letters for me.
I’ll think of him. God knows it’s better than letting my stomach churn while thinking of tomorrow’s fighting. Maybe I won’t be here tomorrow. Maybe I will, and right now I don’t care.
I had forgotten this journal. It’s odd to leaf through it and recall the events of a summer thirty six years in the past, remembered on a night twenty years ago, when I expected to die within the next twenty four hours. The ink is still dark and the handwriting resembles mine as it is now, but somehow cruder, more angular. I’ve been writing incessantly for the past twenty years, none of it important. Now I write a more elegant hand.
Importance. We mislabel so many things, calling important those events which should occupy only a fraction of our attention, and all but ignoring those things upon which rests the fate of our souls. As I look over this journal and remember, I realize that I have been measuring my life in spoonfuls day after day, a happy life but a hurried one, and now that I am close enough to see the ending, the past has touched my shoulder and made me turn my eyes back toward the beginning. And maybe just as well. There’s plenty of room in this journal to finish the story.
It’s odd how stories come to be.
He can see the storm behind him, as though through a transparent curtain, but the wind and the ice don’t touch him. He is in the lee of the building – the gatehouse of an old castle. As he looks up at the weathered, dilapidated stone, he can almost hear the word:
I will be working on this story. I blocked it out years ago and wrote a little on it. It was a magic-less fantasy – alternative history, maybe? The lands are my own invention – full of noble tragedy, courage, a love story, dying for a great cause…
I set it aside to work on more urgent things and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t in electronic form anyhow, and I’d have to retype it…
I revisited it recently, twenty-some years later. It had changed from a tale of high tragedy to one of –
North Country Cache: Adventures on a National Scenic Trail by Joan H. Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I encountered North Country Cache: Adventures on a National Scenic Trail while ‘chatting’ with other readers. The title interested me, I looked it up, read some sample chapters, and decided to buy it. I contacted the author to purchase a copy and found her gracious and humorous. I have never met her, except online the day I decided to buy this book. With that said, here is my review:
The title of this book refers to a ‘National Scenic Trail’ the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches from North Dakota and ends in Port Henry, NY, crossing North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The sections of the book with the individual essays/chapters refer to happenings and observations in different parts of the trail. A map with a star shows the location and general mileage of the hike.
So much for format.
Each section recounts the hike, and since what is going on inside your head at any given moment is a valid part of an event or activity, Ms. Young has that feature, as well. This is part of what makes this book such an enjoyable read: Ms. Young (I’m going to refer to her as ‘Joan’ from now on) has an active and retentive mind and a gift for observation and expression. An example is this bit from page 126 where she makes some observations regarding the economic impact of a (well known) hiking trail on the local community (hit: hikers will come to the community to purchase supplies and such):
It is interesting to observe the evolution of urban centers as their primary ode of transportation changed. Where the canals came first you now often see a row of very old storefronts that face on some dismal ditch, or perhaps just an odd linear depression which no longer connects with anything. Sometimes the railroad lines followed the same rights-of-way as the canals, and then there might be a newer set of buildings just a block away, but facing the same corridor…
Interesting thought. I tend to be very observant, but I hadn’t thought of that.
Each hike that she takes, whether a day jaunt or over several days, is a story complete in itself, presenting issues specific to that hike. Chapter 41 – SHE WHO BUILDS FIRE, starting page 211, speaks of a hike in Ohio. She wanted, she said, to translate the title into Native American, but the choices were troublesome and she kept them in English. She tells of the hike, which goes past Cedar Falls (nice photo inserted – more on that) and ends with a rather damp camp and the comment by her buddy that it would sure be nice to have a fire; too bad it’ll be impossible to start one. She offers to do that, is told it’s too damp, goes ahead, and…
Nevertheless, in just a few minutes we are squatting around a bright fire holding warm cups of coffee and chocolate. Buddy (the trail pup who was brought along) nuzzles close to enjoy a warming hand on his back. Soon there is a fine blaze going, sustained by rolling three large logs in toward the center of the fire. Whenever their ends crumble to coals I roll them in a little more.
Taking a long sip of his drink, Rich sighs contentedly. “I’ll have to give you a new name,” he proposes. “I think I’ll call you ‘She Who Builds Fire.”
Joan’s descriptions are enjoyable; she writes very well. Gray layers of shadow and fog soften the hard edges of the day as we spend a cozy night at the Klondike shelter.
She hikes with friends and acquaintances, with a trail pup (Chip, who passed on and was given a wonderful tribute) and she encounters people. Reading her account is like listening to an articulate friend tell what happened while on a jaunt.
I mentioned a photo of Cedar Falls. This book is full of photos – good ones that illustrate the walks, things that caught Joan’s attention, that point up her writing. Page 221 – 223 contains The Song of Hiawatha’s Friends (faked me out) complete with photos. My only criticism is that the photos would be more visible on slick paper. But then the whole book would have to be printed on slick paper, since there is a wealth of photographs, and I like them all.
All in all, Joan Young has put together a complex book that satisfies on many levels. It is a book that can be read in sips, that you can keep by your chair to sample, or else plow through. It is thoughtful, and it is effortlessly written (that’s hard to do). If I were to compare this to any others I’d read, I’d have to say that it reminds e of Edwin Way Teale’s work, my favorite being Autumn Across America. I also find myself remembering Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
This is an excellent book, well worth the five stars I’ve given it.
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Read frenzied boastings from the wannabees
Counter’d by the sneering of the hordes
Who fought to keep the threads promotion free.
I drew a breath, put up my feet and sighed
Why should my muse have led me to such grief?
Class’d with the rabble, scorned and vilified –
Seeking desp’rately to find relief?
“Alack!” said I, “To be so misconstrued!
“Grouped with Neanderthals who have no couth!
To wish both groups in hell would be too rude,
And heaven help the soul who tells the truth!”
Yet leap I must – So listen, everyone!
I’m off these boards until the squabbling’s done!