Thursday, June 26, 2014

Englishmen rule! So never stop dreaming....

When I had just turned twelve, I ran across an old book of my dad's called THE MASK OF FU MANCHU by Sax Rohmer. Apparently, my dad loved the book enough to, well, we'll say he liberated it from the public library, for the card was still in the back. At that time, I would read anything which fell into my hands—a habit which has continued to the present day, I'm happy to say. 

I can still remember how awesome the book was—adventure, excitement, danger, the mystery of Egypt, stalwart, brave and handsome Englishmen, brilliant criminals, a plot to steal ancient treasures—who wouldn't have loved it? The scenes where our heroes were staying at the Mena House Hotel, which sat on the Giza plateau in full view of the pyramids—THE the pyramids—made a special impression on me. I wanted to see it all. And more importantly, I wanted to write books full of adventure and danger and excitement—and handsome Englishmen.  

Flash forward thirty years. My lifelong love of all things Egyptian is fulfilled, at least partially, by sixteen days there. Ah, Luxor and the Temple of Karnak! Ah, the Valley of the Kings—I missed seeing Boris Karloff's Imhotep but he was probably just out of town. Ah, Abu Simbel, and a cruise down the Nile.  

And then, and then, the absolute culmination of a lifetime of dreams. I'm staying at…wait for it…the Mena House Hotel. Me. A country girl from South Carolina.  

But during the entire trip, I kept feeling that something was wrong, and I couldn't figure out what. I wanted to tell someone I was here, in the spot I'd dreamed of being for so long. But who? I'd told everyone I knew, believe me. Who, oh who else could possibly be missing the important information? 

Then it hit me. The one person I really, really, REALLY wanted to know where I was…was me. Twelve-year-old me. The little girl who had fallen in love with adventure and Egypt and the Mena House Hotel. Okay, yes, and handsome Englishmen. I wanted her to know, "We made it, kid. We got here. We grabbed for that dream and we caught it at last." 

Yes, there is a point to my rambling, and it has to do, not with travel to distant lands, but to writing. Writing is hard. Promotion is harder still, and rejection is just another word for intense agony. And some days, a writer would rather be doing almost anything else. That's when it's important to remember that kid in you who first read books, loved books and then got excited about the glorious, the amazing, the astonishing idea of actually writing books.  

That kid is still inside you, waiting for acknowledgement. Tell her. Tell her, "Yes, we did it. We're writers. And it's thanks to you and your dreams." 

And handsome Englishmen, of course.


(This post first appeared in a slightly different version at Writers on the Move)

1 comment:

  1. You make me want to go to Egypt, but I'll pass on the Englishmen (LOL). Now, some beautiful harem girl would be my dream. Oh well … Yeah, as a kid my pals and I played on the river banks, fighting pirates, and had gun fights with cap pistols while playing Hoppy, Gene, and Roy. I swung (or tried) through trees, like Tarzan. I loved adventure, but never thought I would write. I did visit many foreign lands, some good, some bad, but great people everywhere. All of this I use in my writing, of course. You lucky girl, going to Egypt (sigh).