Writing Update

It’s been a while since I mentioned anything to do with my own writing and I guess you’re wondering what’s going on.

As I reported a week or so ago, I’ve finished the rewrite of Book 1 in my triology and that has been sent off to the editor for a work over. I don’t expect to get anything back for a few weeks, at least, perhaps even longer. I know he’s extremely busy at the moment.

There are other projects I could go on with but May is a busy month where the 2005 anthology is concerned. The first workshop is in progress and I have four stories to read and crit by the end of the month. This doesn’t sound difficult but I’m a very slow reader and I want to give a detailed crit, so it does take many hours to do each crit each week.

What will I do when I’ve done them?

There are several options:

1) Work on my Sam novel. This is a young adult fantasy novel.

2) Continue with the collaborative novel. Chapter 20 has been completed, which is a stones throw from the climax.

3) Plot out Book 2 in the trilogy. I know what the story will be about and several chapters have been written but it needs a thorough overhaul.

4) Write some more short stories until the edited verson of Book 1 comes back.

Hmmm…I’m not sure what I’ll do. I need to give it more thought.

I’ve been tagged!

Sorry, Benjamin I’ve been catching up on your blog this morning and noticed that you tagged me days ago. πŸ™‚

What’s all this about?

Well, some bright spark decided to start a meme (whatever that means). Anyway, the question is: Who would be your top 5 people, living or dead, that you’d want to see blog?

OK, I can do this. *thinks*

1) Paula Volsky – because she wrote my all time favourite novel — Illusion.

2) J K Rowling – she has a great website but I’d like to see a blog written by this woman, giving day to day details about her writing experiences.

3) Yusuf Islam (better known to me as Cat Stevens) – because I think he’d have a lot of interesting things to say. I’m not religious but I’d like to hear what this man really thinks in terms of music, religion and the truth on how he feels about his conversion and if he has regrets.

4) Tutankhamun – because it would be great to have a true day to day account of the live of a Pharaoh.

5) I’m struggling now. *thinks harder* Princess Di – because I think there’s more to her death than we know.

This was harder than I thought it would be and it showed me how shallow my life is. I have few interests except writing and that isn’t really a great thing.

Anyway, I tag Darren, Terry and Gone Away. If you care to take part in this exercise please do. I’ll be twisting no arms though. πŸ˜‰

Egyptian Poor

Although life for the poor was hard in Ancient Egypt, by comparison to other societies of the time, even they were comparatively well-off and had a reasonably high standard of living. Most peasants worked in the fields, while many others were employed in the massive building programmes of the pharaohs. Most were well treated.

A stable family life was important to all classes of Egyptians. Great respect was given to elderly relatives. Once children became teenagers they often became servants to more afluent families. Houses, whether in town or country, were constructed of dried mud, mixed with straw and made into bricks. They were reasonably spacious, usually two stories, with flat roofs in which a vent was provided to catch the cool north winds.

Here are some snippets showing life for the poor:

Getting Around

Few poor people could afford wagons, horses or camels to transport themselves and their goods about. The most common form of transport for them was donkeys. There were few proper roads so transport was always difficult. For many people the only journeys they ever undertook were to and from the local market. Donkeys still provide the main means of transport for poor Egyptians in remote areas today.

A Measure of Worth

The measure of a man’s wealth was calculated by the number of beasts he owned, such as goats and geese, but particularly cattle. Scribes recorded the details and people were taxed accordingly. The agricultural season in Ancient Egypt was governed by the annual flooding of the Nile. Each year the river burst its banks, depositing a thick black silt over a considerable distance of the surrounding land making it very fertile. Farmers also constructed irrigation channels from the river far into their fields to grow more crops inland.

Slave Trade

Although the Ancient Egyptians did extend their rule over a small empire in north Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, they were not by nature a war-mongering people. When they did make forays into other lands, such as Nubia, Ethiopia or Lebanon, they captured native peoples and brought them back to Egypt as slaves. Some were put to work as servants in rich households, but mostly they provided the labour for the almost continuous building programmes of the pharaohs.

Egyptian Rich

As is the case for all societies at any period in the past, what remains are the belongings of the wealthy and, more especially, royalty. While the magnificent buildings, art and artefacts tell us a great deal about the sophistication and wealth of the Ancient Eygptians –they tell us little about daily life of the ordinary people.

However, it is certain that wealthier Egyptians and nobles enjoyed an opulent lifestyle. Comfort and hygiene featured strongly in their lives. They had strong family values and most wealthy households employed servants or slaves to carry out the mundane tasks.

Here are some brief snippets showing the world of the rich:

Ornate Furniture

Wood was in short supply in Egypt, but the wealthy could afford exotic imports, such as Lebanese cedar or ebony. Carpenters were skilled craftsmen and decorated their work with fine inlays and friezes.

Ornamental Glass

The arts of glass-making and enamelling were well known to the Egyptians. They also made fine white and coloured porcelain of a comparable quality to that made in China. Houses of the wealthy were decoreated with many fine art pieces.

Fine Jewellery

Egyptian jewellery was striking in the originality of its design. Skilled metalworkers fashioned all manner of shapes by welding thin strips of metal into intricate designs using molten sulphur. Gold (beaten or moulded) and fine jewels, such as turquoise and amethyst, were commonly used. They were embellished with fine ceramics and painted glass which, to the Egyptians, were almost as expensive as semi-precious stones.

Spacious Houses

The houses of the rich were quite large, often occupying two stories, and were made from bricks covered in white painted plaster. They were raised on platforms as protection against damp. Most also had a small, shady garden with an ornamental pool. Inside they were highly docorated with frescoes and enamelled wall paintings.

Keeping up Appearances

headrestMost Egyptians took pride in their appearance, especially the wealthy who could afford the finest materials. Both men and women had their hair cut short, but wore elaborately braided and decorated wigs. The wealthier they were, the more elaborate their headdresses were. Both sexes seem also to have used cosmetics, in particular eye make up.

Comfortable Lifestyle

Houses were quite comfortably, if simply, furnished, making great use of rare woods and fabrics imported from abroad. Most furniture was quite elaborately carved, such as lion-claw feet on tables and chairs. Beds, complete with stuffed mattesses, also had head and foot rests (see the photo) and reclining back boards.