Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Rongorongo

Easter Island is well known for the giant moai statues and the mysteries surrounding them.

But the moai are not the only mystery found on Easter Island.

Rongorongo is a mystery written language found on tablets on the island. Known as Rapa Nui to the island's inhabitants the language is strange on multiple levels.

The first being that it didn't appear until the 1700s. Some scholars think the language came about when the islanders first saw written language from the Spaniards who hade traveled to their island, but there's just as much support that it could be one of the very few instances of independent inventions of writing in human history.

So the language suddenly appeared in the 1700s and in just two centuries it would be gone again, leaving the mystery as it is today.

Rongorongo is a pictograph writing system. It was found on wooden tablets and other objects, such as a chieftain's spear. Writing was unknown in any of the surrounding islands, which makes its appearance confounding to anthropologists. If no one around you writes, how do you come up with this system on your own?

Despite its recent birth, though, no archeologist, linguist, or scholar has ever been able to decipher the language. The closest any have come is discovering that one of the tablets referred to a lunar calendar.

The problem was that the island's population when it was first discovered was around 4,000, but the ecosystem was suffering and the island was overpopulated. Add to the mix western disease and the slave trade and shortly after that Easter Island would be reduced to a population of 110 by 1877. And the colonizers would decide the strange language was too pagan and would forbid it as a form of communication. Finally, missionaries would destroy the tablets with Rongorongo inscriptions.

Since then, scholars have tried to decipher the text, but any remaining inhabitants would refuse to translate, and the best help they ever got was when one islander, drunk, looked at a tablet and sang a song about fertility.

Only 25 texts survive, and what they hold will continue to be a mystery unless someone, someday, manages to decipher the mystery language. Maybe when that happens, we'll have a final understanding of the more well-known mystery of the moai statues.


Monday, December 15, 2014

In Which The End Of The Year Is Near

I always like when the year comes to the end in regards to blogging, because it sets me up for some easy posts in the new year (best books I read, goals I met, new goals, etc). But the end of the year is kind of a pain because I'm not sure what to talk about.

Mostly I'm just gearing up for my January Residency for my MFA. I'm really excited for it, and so pretty much I just feel like I'm biding my time until residency. I'm really hoping this week we get our workshop assignments so I can see which students I'm workshopping with (really hoping I get some of my classmates this residency) and which faculty. And then diving into everyone's workshop submissions.

And I'm working on my sequel. It's slow going, which is frustrating, and I think it's because I'm just waiting for residency. But I really need to nip that in the bud and buckle down and get to work. Especially now when I don't have any homework for my MFA or other demands on my time.

I just need to NaNo that book, I think. And it was my plan to write a lot of it during NaNo but edits interfered so that plan didn't get off the ground. But, what can you do? Just keep going forward.

How about you? Gearing up for the end of the year? Or the Holidays? Working on a new project?

This has nothing to do with anything. Just thought it was cool

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Fun

Here we are, ape-friends, another week gone by and one week closer to when we get presents!

So let's get this weekend started off right, with some fun!









Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Immortal Count Saint Germain

Saint Germain was a count born in the late 1600s (though records on this are still unclear) and who seems to have unlocked the ability to live forever.

Born the son of Francis Racoczi II, Prince of Transylvania, he was supposedly an accomplished alchemist and also claimed to have discovered eternal life. Between 1740 and 1780 Saint Germain, who was quite famous, traveled throughout Europe – and never seemed to age.

Let's break down this mystery man.

He spoke 12 languages
He could play the violin like a virtuoso.
He was an accomplished painter.
Wherever he traveled, he set up an elaborate laboratory, presumably for his alchemy work.
He seemed to have great wealth, but was not known to have any bank accounts.
He dined with friends frequently, but was rarely seen to eat food in public. He subsisted supposedly on a diet of oatmeal.
He had recipes for the removal of facial wrinkles and hair dye.
He was linked to several secret societies, including the Freemasons, the Illuminati and Order of the Templars.

So all of that is pretty impressive, but not, say, impossible for a man of means.
So let's get down to the weirdness.

Officially Saint Germain died in 1784, but he would continue to be seen throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century.

In 1785 he was seen in Germany with Anton Mesmer, the pioneer hypnotist.

Official records of Freemasonry show that they chose Saint Germain as their representative for a convention in 1785.

In the French Revolution in 1789, the Comtesse d’AdhĂ©mar said she spoke with Saint Germain. He allegedly told her of France’s immediate future, as if he knew what would happen.
In 1821, she wrote: “I have seen Saint-Germain again, each time to my amazement. I saw him when the queen was murdered, on the 18th of Brumaire, on the day following the death of the Duke d’Enghien, in January, 1815, and on the eve of the murder of the Duke de Berry.” The last time she saw him was in 1820 – and each time he looked no older than mid-40.

C. W. Leadbeater claimed to have met him in Rome in 1926 and said that Saint Germain told him that one of his residences was a castle in Transylvania.

Thoughts and theories?

Monday, December 8, 2014

In Which 2014 Was Awesome And Is Almost Gone

I can't believe we're already into December, and that Christmas is only a few weeks away.

Where did 2014 go? Wasn't it just summer?


But 2014 was a killer year for me. I landed and agent. I got a book deal. I started my MFA (which, honestly, was one of the best decisions I've ever made)

I'm officially done with my second semester. My next residency is in January and that will launch my third semester, which is when I have to write my critical thesis, a 30 page paper examining an element of craft.

I'm both looking forward to it, and dreading it. Looking forward to it because I want to write about monstrous characters.

Dreading it because I'm not actually looking forward to writing the paper. Or presenting it in the summer.

But, once it's done, that means no more paper writing for me! So that's another bonus.

But, also, my MFA is going sooo fast. Too fast, actually. I feel like the end is in sight, and that makes me sad because I love it so much.

So, what's up with you? Are you ready for the holidays? Utterly shocked that there's only a few weeks left in 2014?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Fun

Woo! First Friday in December, ape-friends!

Also, can you believe that we're already into December? What happened to 2014?

Did I nap through it? I must have napped through it

Well, we've still got some time left, so let's get down to some fun!









Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: This Time Last Year

This time last year, my life was already on a new course. I just didn't know it yet.

I had started querying my YA fantasy ALL THAT REMAINS on Halloween. I continued querying through November, and then I stopped in December.

And that would be it. That would be all the queries I would send.

I didn't know this of course. My plans were to start querying again mid-January, after my first MFA residency. But I never reached that point.

The agents who would later offer me representation already had the manuscript. Some of them were already reading it. And then reading it again. And maybe again (agents are awesome).

Later in December I would get 4 R&Rs. And a few weeks after that, I would get my first offer of rep. Then 6 more. I would sign with my lovely agent.

And 4 weeks after that I would have a book deal with HarperTeen. Everything would be different.

But back in the beginning of December, everything felt the same. I didn't yet know what was coming, the gears that were already turning to put my life on a new course.

So today, since it's Insecure Writer's Support Group, that's what I want to point out.

If you're still querying, trying to get an agent, sending out your book to big and small houses, hoping someone will pick it up, you could already be there.

Someone could be reading your query or your partial or your entire manuscript right now, and that could be it, the first moment that changes everything for you.

OR, maybe you're not even sending things out yet. Maybe you're drafting a book, or revising your  manuscript and it will be the exact thing an agent or editor will be looking for.

OR, maybe you self-publish, and you could be writing something, or getting ready to publish something that will be exactly what a brand new audience will be looking for.

The gears in your life could already be turning, too. Your life could already be changed, you may just not know it yet.

Today's IWSG co-hosts are:

Heather Gardner
T. Drecker
Eva E. Solar
Patsy Collins
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