Monday, 21 July 2008

Self Revelations

No, THIS is my favourite.

Since my blog is a continuing stream of consciousness, this is what my consciousness is streaming today. I have discovered, much to my dismay, that I am a coward. I am not happy about this, an understatement, as I have always prided myself on my courage. My daughter is not the first person to accuse me of having a ‘rescue complex’, and it is true. In almost any given situation from earthquakes, to a man hitting a woman, to shots fired, I automatically assume I’m the only one there capable of handling the trouble. Yes, you’re right – I don’t play well with others. It’s really never been a problem, at least not for me, because every task I have attempted up until now I was well trained for and felt quite capable of executing.

What brought on this torrent of self-examination? I took a creative writing course last year from one of the American Universities. It was splendid, I learned a lot. A few weeks, all right a month, ago my instructor emailed me to see if I had continued with the novel I began in her class – I have but it’s on the back burner until I do further research, that’s why I am writing “Valley of the Kasbahs” – write what you know. Back to the act of cowardice – this lovely woman wanted to read what I had, and “any other writing” I had been doing. To say I was flattered would be another understatement, but have I sent her anything? That would be NO. I have found every excuse you could imagine – the wedding, the trip home, the rewrite, and on to blithering nonsense. I finally confronted myself last week and wrote said Professor and confessed, but did I send her the manuscript? That would be NO. I managed to find one more excuse.

I know why now, it’s because I’m terrified I’m not good enough. Understand I am one of the very fortunate people, and I know it, to have been excellent at everything I have turned my hand to in my life. I like that. Q says I ‘m competitive, a label I denied for years, but she may have something… I find it amusing that I am the first one in line to give encouragement to anyone who wishes to try something new. I also have an embarrassing amount of self-esteem, so what is the problem? Cowardice. Damn. But the definition of courage is to be afraid and do it anyway. I am sending the manuscript off today.


Saturday, 19 July 2008

The Professional Photographs

I think this is my favourite!

another day, another luxury...

Life is just so very difficult in Morocco.... Yesterday the hammam where I was steamed,scrubbed, oiled, massaged and given a facial; and then today having my hair done, a manicure and a pedicure - sigh. Someone has to do it (big shit eating grin).

I'm giving the locals one more reason to think me odd with my lovely red Japanese parasol. But I love it so, my own portable shade tree!

Back to work... no really!


Thursday, 17 July 2008

My butt feels so much better…

It works like this; I am one of those people who do not attach status to possessions, as evidenced by the fact that I never fixed that dent that a man put into my baby SUV because the car still ran just peachy. So, when my toilet seat developed a crack, no jokes Mutley, and then when Sally was here, broke through – I used the universal fix-it, duct tape. It worked just fine until the other side developed a crack (just how old that toilet seat was I have no idea). That was it for me and I informed Abdul I needed a replacement – pinches on my bum from handsome men are one thing, from an inanimate object – just not as much fun. Now that it’s here, whew.

Apparently all the scaffolding on the inner side of the big gate and museum at the entry to the Oudayas is a primping up of the walls. I am so pleased that the material appears to be that of the original, just as they did last summer out front. Now if they would just polish my cannons.

I’m off to the hammam tomorrow, oh joy and rapture! Which works out really well as I have another love scene to write. After they oil me up and massage me, the facial mask goes on, and then I’m left in the warm steam for thirty minutes or so – great for the creative process.


Monday, 14 July 2008

I can't get my bloody post to post!

How Big is Your World?

This is a question that I have often thought about, perhaps because I have done so much traveling in Third World countries. It came to my mind again yesterday as I finished reading “The Bookseller of Kabul”, which I recommend by the way.

When I was in McLeod Ganj teaching English to the monks, yes there are Tibetan monks about who speak English with a Scottish brogue – don’t you love it? – I was astounded by their lack of knowledge in the area of science, specifically cosmology. Because I have an affinity for physics and cosmology I use words from those disciplines for examples, which ended always with a long and convoluted explanation about space, the planetary system, etc. AS in the Madrassas (Islamic seminaries) the education of Buddhist monks is concentrated on religious text (but we leave out the “we are right and everyone else is wrong” diatribe). Most of the monks enter the Temple at the ages of eight or nine and that is their formal education. But consider this, where their knowledge of the physical world is limited, their familiarity with the spiritual world exceeds mine by far. The abilities of some of the older monks are astounding – the ability to control their body functions up to and including their deaths, the ability to penetrate and travel in spiritual realms that I have only read about.

What about a young woman in Kabul? The Taliban prevented the education of an entire generation of women and subjugated them. Even though the Taliban is gone, the mindset of many of these women prevents them from moving beyond the barriers that were imposed. They are for the most part, illiterate. They have never traveled outside their village or town; some of them have never left their father’s house. In Khost on the Afghan-Pakistan border the law of purah reigns, the total segregation of men and women. The town appears to be devoid of women as they are rarely allowed out. They move from their father’s house, after an arranged marriage in which they have no say, into the house of their husband. How big is their world? What they know of the outside world is what they learn from the men in their homes. Men who get their knowledge from the state television, the Mosque, and if (a big one) they can read, whatever state approved or smuggled in papers and books they design to take in. They know nothing of science, literature, world politics, the intricacies of economy, and the variety of cultures in the world.

The young boy in Rabat who has to work because the father is dead. He left school after only a very few years and now must toil from dawn to dusk to put enough food on the table for his family. He goes to the Mosque, listens to the older men who lounge in the coffee shops, and watches a great deal of television which in large percentage consist of the reruns of really bad American serials. He sees the wealthy tourists come through the Medina, and the rich Moroccans in their mansions in Soussi but knows he has no chance of ever living that life. There is no government program to feed his family while he goes to school in order to improve his lot.

It is not only the Third World is it? What about the children in the American ghettos? They see Hollywood’s version of life in the movies and on television, but does that help them make a life. Is there anyone there to tell them how essential an education is? Anyone to encourage them and support them? Violence, drugs, and the pressure of various gangs surround them. How big is their world?

This line of thought always makes me monumentally grateful for the education and worldview that I had as a child and young woman. Knowledge in my world was revered, any knowledge, all knowledge. Even though my talents lie more in the sector of Political Science and literature, I have a continuing thirst for physics and cosmology and I try to keep up with all the modern discoveries. And the other world, the spiritual world is one I continue to explore and strive to make my way on the Path.

So, that’s what I was thinking about. What do you think?

Here is an excerpt from “The Valley of the Kasbahs” for everyone

Here is an excerpt for everyone BUT JMB and Q.


Saturday, 12 July 2008

back online, ta da!

12 July 2008

Hello, hello all my lovely readers, and thank you to those who have come ‘round to check on me this past month while I was out of touch.
I have not been idle I assure you. I’ve put several thousand more miles on my passport; I now have a married daughter and a new son.
The heat wave, more like a scorch, is over for the present. Rabat is back at the normal 27 to 33 C until August when we get up to 37C. I have to tell you I have become more of a hermit than usual because of the delightful, refreshing, comforting, luscious, brilliant a/c in my little house in the Oudayas.
The cobblestone avenue outside my door is filled with the usual summer tourists. The fencing for the outside digs has been tarted up and there are scaffolds over the inside wall of the Bab Oudaia facing the Rue Jamaa. I will get some photographs for you soon.
The beaches are filled with the usual summer crowds. Whenever I head over to the Medina I see them coming up the sidewalks and across the road carrying their beach umbrellas, food, children, towels, and surfboards. They arrive in various states of dress from the young men sporting only shorts or a bathing suit to the mothers in djellabas escorting children in slacks or dresses. There is a surfeit of young men and a dearth of older ones.
I continue knee deep in the book, the later third at this point (whew). My goal is to have the full first draft finished by the end of summer – any prayers, good wishes, crossed fingers, and rotating prayer wheels will be appreciated. On Monday I’m going to post a couple of excerpts – remember first draft. I would like input, both praise and criticism. One excerpt will be for everyone, and the second will be for everyone but Q and jmb and it is rather – physical. Yes, Mutley I expect you to be first.

It’s lovely to be back and next week I’m going to do some visiting every day until I get around to everyone.