Monday, November 05, 2007

New World, Different Time

I'm supposed to be doing a 50K word novel this month during National Novel Writing Month. I've joined up, and am reading and responding to alot of threads on historical fiction. I haven't gotten much writing done, due to the new job and my inability to concentrate as I try and pull the family into another "Mommy's working" routine. I likely will get something written, as I'm an over-achiever and don't want to admit I've missed this golden opportunity. But, having a day job (which really means working till 11 p.m.)sure is a kicker for your Muse! Only having half an hour for lunch doesn't allow for any creative scrawlings, even on a napkin.

My big interest today is the revealing of King Tut's full mummified body. Now we know the poor King had buck teeth and an underbite. That he was nineteen and probably not murdered, although the anthropologists haven't figured out yet how he died. (If they have, plse point me in the way of an article, because Egyptology truly fascinates me.)

What struck me is that the body didn't look any different than the creations of such bodies on shows like BONES. My husband and I never miss a show, and I've read all her books, including Bones to Ashes. Obviously, their special effects team on that show have done their homework! King Tut could just as well be a corpse on Tempe's autopsy table.

The ancient Egyptian obsession with life after death, and preparing for life after death, has no equivalent in history. You were "wealthy" if you could prepare a reasonable family tomb for yourself and your extended family. The treasures in King Tut's tomb have been eulogized for the past 85 years. Whatever he died of, his family and immediate people around him loved him very much to have ensured he would show up in the land of Seth (right god?) with such an extravagant face mask, gold, and treasure even our modern world has trouble calculating. The beauty of his tomb lends a beauty to his mummified face, if I can put that idea forward. Most mummies are horrible charicatures of the people they once were - how can they not be?

King Tut, on the other hand, has lost none of his majesty because his Egyptian guardians have removed his death mask and robes. A boy of 19 years, not a fabulous King, but likely destined to rule quietly and justly. A peek into a 3000 year old past, brought to life again with modern day technology.

This is why I love time travel novels so much. We get the joy of a look at the past, along with a good story in the present. Hmmm, maybe there's something there for NaNoWriMo!

At any rate, I hope his mummified body survives in that air-controlled glass case, and we can learn more from him about his culture and his life.

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