Friday, 10 March 2017
Back From A Writing Retreat In Egypt
I'm back from Cairo! Actually I've been back for a few days but returned to a heap of ghostwriting I needed to get done. I'm just now coming up for air.
This is my new writing buddy, the priest Padiamenopet, shown here posing as a scribe. He worked at the vast temple of Ra at Karnak in the 25th dynasty (760-656 BC). His right hand would have held a reed pen, which is now missing. You can see the scroll he's working on. I wonder what his daily word count was? Now he lives in the Egyptian Museum, which was just five minute's walk from my hotel. I ended up going there a lot! I also, of course, visited Giza, Saqqara, and Dashur. The last is the home to the famous Bent Pyramid, seen below. The last time I was in Egypt, way back in 1991, it stood inside a military base and was closed to visitors, so it was nice to finally get there.
I was very fortunate to attend the Cairo Video Festival, an experimental film festival, early in my stay. Because of this I met an interesting circle of Egyptian and Sudanese filmmakers, artists, historians, and writers who kept me busy for the rest of my trip.
Of course I was there for writing, and I got 35,000 words into a novel set in Cairo during the 1919 Revolution, an early major push for independence. Called The Masked Man of Cairo, it's a neo-pulp adventure story of a disfigured WWI veteran who, disgusted with Europe, moves to Egypt and starts a business selling antiquities. Soon he finds just as much trouble as he had during the war! More on that novel as it progresses. Our hero (more like antihero) lives in Old Cairo, a labyrinth of medieval streets and centuries-old buildings. I spent much of my time wandering this wonderful part of the city catching inspiration.
I'll be posting lots of Egyptian photos here and over on Black Gate, where I blog on Wednesdays. You can also see more pictures on my Instagram account. Stay tuned!