When I was around nine or ten years old, I read a book called “Good Night, Mummy!” one of the titles in the Shadow Zone series (If you never read the Shadow Zone series, then you missed out on some pretty mediocre young adult “horror” fiction, my friend.)
The book itself was, of course, not all that great. From what I can remember of the plot (it has been ten years or so) a mummy just somehow ends up in this kid’s house, and so the kid has to help the mummy find his missing coffin and his book of spells before the god Anubis and his death eater catch up with them. I also vaguely remember references to canopic jars, and the weighing of the heart against the Feather of Truth. While the story itself didn’t really have a lasting impact (clearly), the descriptions of the Ancient Egyptian belief system and the concept of mummies absolutely enthralled me.
Not only did I find the concept of scrambling someone’s brains through their nose to be utterly fascinating (I was a weird kid) but the motive behind the act fascinated me as well. Maybe it was the parallels to Christian beliefs regarding a life after death and facing a final judgement before being granted access to paradise. Or maybe it was the frightening notion of the Death Eater, standing at the ready to devour you if your heart weighed more than a feather. Maybe it was the magic, the spells and curses cast on mummies and their tombs to ensure their slumber would remain uninterrupted until they rose again. Whatever the reason, I suddenly found myself completely captivated with Ancient Egypt. And the more I learned, the more I loved. Everything from the Book of the Dead to the divinity of dung beetles delighted me. And when I found out that there had been a number of female pharaohs… well, suffice to say, I was hooked.
This weekend I took my mother to see the King Tut exhibit at the AGO and I think it’s safe to say my fascination with Egyptian culture has not waned over the years. The exhibit was extensive and absolutely gorgeous (albeit a little crowded for my tastes) and I could have spent hours there, immersed in the legends and the history, staring at the canopic jars and ancient statues, reading about the significance of each hieroglyph on any given item… While I was a little disappointed there were no actual mummies in the exhibit, it was hard not to enjoy having Indiana Jones talk to you on the audio tour as he explained what you were looking at and why. My mother also really enjoyed it which is good, since this was her Christmas present. We both also made the astute observation that Egyptians has really weird feet. Large, with long, finger-like toes. We had a hard time getting over it, especially when we saw a female depicted with feet larger than my own (I inherited my Nanna’s massive clod-hoppers.)
It’s so weird to me to think that one little book, a book that was probably less than 150 pages and not even particularly well written, should have such an impact on what I’m passionate about today. Have you ever asked yourself what some of your influences are, where your love of certain things stems from? It can be surprising when you stop and think about it, how something that seemed so insignificant can effect you so deeply.
- Did my thirty minutes on the treadmill. AND watched the premiere of Chuck while I did it! Two birds, one stone, thank you very much!
- Applied to 9 jobs. I really need someone to hire me, soon. This is getting depressing. Especially since there’s always one or two I get excited about, and then I never hear anything.
- Will start reading a new book. I know I said Under The Dome was next, but then my friend gave me my belated Christmas gift and it’s “The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs. So now I’m torn.
- Will finally write about It’s Complicated, which I saw a week and a half ago, but never got around to reviewing. Which I think speaks volumes on how much I liked the film.
- Will finally start watching my Buffy DVDs again. Mostly because I also have the entire series of Battlestar Galactica waiting to be enjoyed, and a friend who intends to borrow my DVDs in the near future.
- Try doing more than 30 minutes on the treadmill, and at a faster pace. If I fall off, I’ll let you all know.
- Will attempt to apply to more jobs. Next stop, government websites!
“I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand in suspense any longer, inquired anxiously “Can you see anything?”, it was all I could do to get out the words “Yes, wonderful things…” – Howard Carter, the man who discover Tut’s tomb