robot_mel: (Seshat - for Egyptian)
( May. 3rd, 2009 10:50 am)
Yesterday I started to learn some Egyptian. I think this is going to be MUCH harder than Chinese. There is far too much spelling! The thing that makes Chinese characters easy is that they have a stroke order, which makes it easy to write and remember the order, no such luck with drawing birds. But I managed to practice the alphabet and learn a bit of basic theory. Hopefully this week I'll be able to manage to memorise the alphabet and then can move onto more interesting things.

Learning ancient Egyptian gives me the giggles for all the wrong reasons, last night we went through Bill's Egyptian dictionary looking at all the birds and he told me which ones were common! Apparently when you start to draw them you end up with a lot of fat birds. I cannot say how happy this makes me. ;)

After studying in Green Park and a coffee shop I needed a nap. After the nap I had a very sore ear so failed to make it out to Dead and Buried and instead we stayed home and watched, "The Awakening" (The Charlton Heston film "based" on the Jewel of the Seven Stars). It was good fun, with lots of lovely shots of Egypt. I would have so loved this film at 12, Stephanie Zimbalist with waist length hair turning into an Evil Egyptian Queen. I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Afterwards I started reading a book about Egyptian mythology. Needless to say last night I had lots of Egyptian based nightmares. But not enough to put me off studying again today.
After finishing Widdershins I decided I really needed to go back and re-read the Onion Girl. The book which Widdershins was kinda a sequel too. It was interesting to see how in this book there was a much less of the magical fairy tale type reality and much more of the real world. It seemed to be around two thirds of the book took place in the real world and most of that was about coping with abuse and tragedy.

The two main characters of the book, Jilly and Raylene had both been horribly abused as children. Jilly is a character whose appeared a lot before, Raylene was new. In this story Jilly was the "good" character and Raylene was "bad". Though I really didn't see it that simply in my mind. Jilly ran away from her brother, became a junkie and a prostitute and was "saved" by a social worker and given a chance to finish school, and became an artist whom everyone liked. In this story the tragedy she faces is being hit by a car and becoming crippled. Raylene seemed much stronger. She had a close friend she stayed with her whole life. Her friend gave her a knife and she was able to stand up to her brother, cut him so he'd stop abusing her. She was determined not to become a prostitute, and never got into drugs. She was strong and clever and used her knowledge to take care of her and her best friend. Though of course she also became a con artist and a thief, but she managed to pull herself up and never relied on outside help.

It was a very interesting book, without such heavy moralising, and without a happy ending, especially compared with Widdershins. It seemed less exciting but much more tragic. There was a lot more sitting around talking and a lot less going around and rescuing people. It was interesting to read the two back to back, and in the wrong order. I think I did prefer Widdershins, and you could probably read it without reading this one first, but they do go very well together. There's just a couple times where the gritty realism doesn't quite seem real enough. But I did really enjoy it, particularly the characterisation was very good. And as I said about Widdershins you can really picture everything that's happening and it totally absorbs you. It's good to go back and remember why you like an author so much.


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