Tuesday, March 01, 2005

My Turn To Ask A Favour

At various times in the past, people reading my blog have suggested that I should try to publish in book form. One of those people was working in the industry and has given me some information on organising a book proposal. A prospective publisher would like to know who might be interested in buying my book, so to that end I would love it if some of you who read my blog would send me either a private email or write a comment to say a bit about who you are. (I have to admit to some curiosity myself actually.) Some of you have done that, but many post comments anonymously.You'll find my email address in my profile.

This project of writing about my life here is terrifying at one extreme and absolutely as exhilarating as a gallop in the desert at the other. I worked as a staff writer and editor for a few years on a monthly English-language magazine here in Cairo. It was really my first job as a writer and I was a bit amazed at how easy it was for me. I had a ball with The Egyptian Reporter, which is now unfortunately no longer publishing, as I had something new every month to explore and write about. I talked to scientists, rose breeders, horse breeders, biologists, businessmen and students about everything from bugs to gun control. When my husband died I was still working with them and in fact we'd started a children's magazine as well, but the demands of his life as taken up by me were too severe and I had to quit.

I stopped writing anything at all for about two years as I struggled through the morass that is Egyptian banking and business until one day I sat down and wrote a poem. It was quite naturally about grief and anger and dealing with a loss, but somehow it popped the cork on the bottle and the genie was out. For another year writing poetry kept me sane in endless board meetings where I was there only because I was the widow. Poetry let me open a window for a short look out and close it again when it got too scary or the psychic winds became too strong. Many of the things that I could write in that format, I don't know if I could ever write in prose. I discovered blogs in 2003, but it took a while for me to become comfortable with the form and habit of frequent posting. Now I'm something of an addict and my housework has been known to go to hell in a handbasket when I start writing.

Writing a book is going to be a new challenge. The blog helps me to remember what was going on in my life at various times, but I can't just publish the blog, so it is a total rewrite with a lot more organisation and information to sort out. Big job but I'm looking forward to it. And thank you for the emails in advance.