Friday, November 18, 2011

Sickness, Possible Christmas Gifts (?), Sphinx's Queen, And Youth Ambassadors!

I spent the afternoon feeling sick, and that is always very, very frustrating. I don't know precisely what's the matter with me, but I think this time my anemia and this crazy sleeping habit are taking revenge for the way I neglect my body.

It doesn't help that I forget to take my iron pills. And, also, the fact that I barely eat during the day, always distracted with my writing, or job hunting. On top of that, I can't avoid staying up all night to write. From midnight to 5ish in the morning, my best ideas are at their peak. My words flow smoothly, and I feel I can better see my story when the rest of the world is asleep. But, going to bed so late is killing me slowly.

Do you also sometimes put work before your own health?

This afternoon, then, I'm paying the price for being reckless. A few hours ago, I felt so tired and weak, almost as if my body was begging to shut down. I thought I'd end up falling asleep, but I did my best to keep my eyes open, and tried reading a book. I did some reading, and then decided to watch a documentary. It was a BBC one. It was on Egypt.

When I felt stronger, I got paper and used markers to write down a few ideas for the short story I am working on for a literary magazine. So, I wrote as I watched the documentary. I felt like a scribe, inspired by Ancient Egypt.

Something I've always, always wanted to have was a calligraphy set, and parchment paper. Like these, for example:

It is very upsetting, though, to feel like the way I'm conducting my work is now starting to affect it. Physical and emotional pain, though at least today the latter is nonexistent in my case, are obstacles to writing. How can I concentrate, for instance, on describing happiness, when my body feels like it is falling apart? I remember earlier this year I was reading George Eliot's journals (or, perhaps, it was Frances Burney's!) and she complained that she couldn't do any writing that day because of a pestering migraine. One of those two writers complained about other migraines that didn't let them work.

I'm feeling much better now, yes, but I'm still a bit queasy and drowsy. I shouldn't be glued to the computer again, but I can't help it. I suppose I should try going to bed early tonight, but that will probably be difficult after so many days of my undisciplined routine.

On a different subject, I'm almost done reading Esther Friesner's Sphinx Queen. The book is great, the reading goes easily and fast, and I'd recommend it if you're interested in Ancient Egypt. At least when I'm interested in the life of an iconic figure, I can't help picturing what their lives really were like. What were their likes and dislikes? What thoughts did they have when facing such and such event? 

In general, it's the sort of stuff no historian would be able to address, because they not always have access to such information. Unless there's a journal or some other type of personal documentation, it's almost impossible to know what worlds people like Nefertiti brought within their heads. So, in this case, historical fiction plays an interesting role. Although it takes many liberties with history, which might annoy a few people profoundly, it also allows us a chance to continue building up our fascination for ancient cultures and historical actors, as we pretend we know what they were thinking, how things really went, and what mannerisms they had.

Here's the link to Sphinx's Queen on Random Buzzers:

Finally, I'd like to ask you a favor. The Youth Ambassadors '11 were not able to go to their reunion, because I guess the U.S. Embassy couldn't afford to fly everyone to Sao Paulo this year. They decided to participate, then, in a photography contest. The winner will be able to take 50 friends on an all-expense-paid trip to Sao Paulo to attend a party hosted by MTV. That would be their best shot at getting everyone together.

This is very important because these kids haven't seen each other since January. They live in different Brazilian cities, and it's very unlikely they'd have a chance to see each other again. And we're talking about a group of teenagers who only spent two weeks together, working as diplomats in Washington, D.C.; but, despite this short amount of time, developed really strong, dear friendships. The great majority of them come from financially unstable families, so traveling is a luxury they can't afford on their own.

The contest is Panasonic's “Lumix: A Vida Como Voce Nunca Viu” (Life As You've Never Seen), and to help them you only need to 'like' (curtir, in Portuguese) their photo on Facebook. Here's the link:

Many thanks, and feel free to comment.
Happy Friday!

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