Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tehtena's wisdom

"Better a night made bearable by the soothing anticipation of dawn than a day overshadowed by the constant dread of night." — Tehtena, Princes of Sheba

Monday, April 16, 2012


Just when I thought things would be a breeze from now on, here comes another major change to my second draft.  Although I am fairly happy with the 1. chapter, I am not so thrilled with the fact that chapters 2 & 3 are set in the same location as the seconf half of chapter 1.  In the current draft it is only in chapter 4 that the action takes place in a different setting, and so I shall now try to change the order of those chapters.  Since chapters 2 & 3 consist for the most part of flashbacks and inner monologues, I think they can be placed a little later in the narrative as long as the scheming and plotting contained in them precedes the planned action.  I will attempt, though, to condense the two into a single chapter. 
How about you?  Do you think it is crucial to have the location/setting change from chapter to chapter?

Friday, April 13, 2012

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My muse is clearly a sadist at heart. She's never more buoyant and chatty than when I'm heartbroken. Today she just wouldn't stop talking.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

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"Those tranquil words you see lined up so neatly in my poems—if only you knew how ferociously they rattled their cage while they were still in my head." — Solomon to his son, Menlik.


Editing...I can now read the first chapter of my novel without wincing at every other sentense. For me that's about as good as it gets. ;-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


GURSHA.  I learned that word only recently, but I have known for quite some time what it stands for. It describes a practice amongst Ethiopians where guests of honor—or simply dear friends—are hand-fed by those with whom they dine. Someone will tear off a piece of injera (the traditional Ethiopian flatbread), pick up a few chunks of food with it and then put the whole assemblage directly into the mouth of the lucky recipient.  The moment I first read about it, it seemed like a rather wonderful custom to me and I mentioned to a friend of mine how blessed I would feel if someone honored me one day in that fashion. That thought was only met with ridicule, however, and before long I forgot about the whole thing....until just a few days ago.

Remember the hug I wrote about so enthusiastically in my blog of February 14? Well, the same amazing young woman who had blessed me back then with her warm embrace, now also gave me this beautiful experience.  She took a piece of injera, folded it to pick up some food from her own plate, and then put it with her fingers right into my mouth.  It was such a simple gesture, done without any showiness, done, indeed, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.  And it was exactly this informality that made it so special. If you are aware of my great affection for the Ethiopian people, you can perhaps imagine how elated I was!  May God bless that precious lady!  What a remarkable woman!  I feel so incredibly privileged to know her.

Oh, and just before you get any crazy ideas, her boyfriend was present at the time, just as he was when I got that memorable hug. Just wanted to point that out. 

Experiences like this energize me in the writing of my novel. After all, the story is centered around the sister of Ethiopia's most illustrious Queen, and partaking in some of that country's beautiful customs inspires me.  One thing is for certain: I can now model the more endearing traits of my heroine's character after a rather remarkable, real-life Ethiopian princess whom providence has brought to New York City at just the right time.