It's Camp Nanowrimo. Back in April, I did a whole 50k words, so I decided to set that as my goal for this summer camp. Except that once again, I've shifted gear and I'm writing the much earlier Amnar book. That'd be the one about Maali. This must be the ADHD side of my brain kicking in, but in the interest of just being able to write, I decided I would go with that.
And so far, it has gone well. I've written every day, I've met all my goals. This is despite the start of the week being quite intense and then some events happening in my personal life that've shaken me up at this end of the week to shake me up.
What's kept me going, not going to lie, is writing on 4theWords. It's ironically hilarious that the week I spent arguing with my dentist of all people about aliens not building the pyramids is the week the site revealed their focus for the summer camp was going to be aliens.
There's no escape.
One thing I haven't done is the World Anvil Summer Challenge. Typical me, I was sure I could do both! After all, I'm not doing a PhD now, so I have all the time in the world, right? This is aside from needing to earn money like a regular person and then recover from earning money because that's challenging for my brain.
I don't know if I'm going to do anything with the Summer Challenge yet. At some point, I have to accept I don't need to do All The Things to be okay.
Last week, I shared a little something about curse tablets. These form a key group of objects that developed in the ancient world. But of all the objects we think of as "magical", I'm guessing "rings" are the first ones that spring to mind. Thanks for that, Sauron.
I won't talk about Lord of the Rings here because I'm pretty sure there is a very large scholarship dealing with the materiality of the One Ring, and because that's not something I've read on extensively, I don't want to assume I know what I'm talking about.
However, as part of my thesis, I did work on a number of procedures from first-century Roman Egypt that describe how to make magical rings. Key thing to note about these rings is that, unlike the One Ring, the rings themselves aren't apparently the most "magical" part. This finding was first presented in a study by Moyer and Dieleman in 2003. It seems that the ring described in what was once known as PGM XII.270-350 (the name has changed now that the new version has been published), was all about the magical stone carved with an image of Helios.
Why does this matter? In terms of understanding the materiality of magic, it can be really helpful to understand whether it's the whole of the object is what's magical, or only parts of it. I do make some arguments around the role of the other materials involved the ring, but I'll save that for the thesis.
Read of the Week
I haven't done much reading this week. The only reading I've done, to be honest, has been for work. However, it might be worth thinking about whether you can or should read other things while writing fiction. I've sat on both sides of that particular fence.
Do you read when you're in a writing phase?
That's a tricky question. A few years ago, I saw an author say they didn't because they didn't want other authors' voices infecting their own. For a long time, I agreed with that. At other times, I have read at the same time as a way to kickstart my creativity. When I can't bear not to write any more, that's when I put the book down and start my own work.
I've been reading for review. Neither of those books were especially inspirational. I'll save that for whenever the reviews are published.
Podcast of the Week
The Retrievals is only on its first week, and I only listened to that pilot episode this morning out on my run. This comes with a heavy content warning, because it's about fertility treatment and medical misconduct. It is not an easy listen by any stretch of the imagination, especially if you're living in a female body and you've had bad encounters with the medical community.
And I'll say it right now, I'm not sure I've encountered somebody who hasn't had a bad experience with the medical community. The Retrievals tells the story of the women affected by the case at the Yale fertility clinic of a nurse who stole fentanyl.
It's harrowing and it doesn't hold back. It reminded me of many of the difficult experiences I've had when asking for help from medical professionals, and how difficult it is to be truly heard. This especially applies when it comes to issues surrounding anything sensitive like that.
I've recently had perimenopausal symptoms. In fact, these symptoms were what led me to develop anaemia. The attitude from the doctors has been either weirdly blasé, or insistent that I can't be in perimenopause because I'm too young. As though bodies obeyed the bizarre rules the medical community assigned to them.
What I've Been Doing
On that note, I've been disappearing down an internet rabbit hole of "internet drama". Except that it isn't internet drama. That term diminishes the suffering and possible criminal activity involved in this. I have been tempted to write a subscriber-only bonus about it, because it has some personal resonance for me.
I'm still learning British Sign Language. That's what I'm doing instead of reading. This was the week I discovered that there's actually a huge crossover between autism and sign. I found this out because I Googled the sign for "autistic" and the results were very focused on why it might be a good idea to teach non-speaking autistics sign, because it's easier to communicate that way.
Last weekend, I hung out with my writing group. At one point, I got overwhelmed by the noise and rush around us in the café, and had to leave. As I was trying to follow the conversation, I found myself wishing they were signing, because it would be easier to follow if I didn't have to try to get two of my wayward senses to filter everything. Even though I can speak, it can be hard, especially when I feel overwhelmed.
Now. This weekend I'm going to get a new tattoo—the first in ten years—and I have more writing ahead. I'm four chapters in and I'm enjoying it. Next up: on Tuesday I'm going to post the work I've been doing on the materiality of magic in Babel. That is much more heavily focused on speech acts and the importance of manufacture in making something magical. See you then!