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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, December 28, 2006

of weddings and kings

Kimmie races against time to finish Jen's wedding cake.

I have spent most of the day down here in my office, working on notes toward The Mission. I find myself digging around topics that I worked on early in the project, when I first returned home from Gampo Abbey in 2002 and spent my days pleasantly in the sunlit living-room, my left leg in a cast. One such problem is the genealogy of Jesus.

The genealogies in the books of Matthew and Luke conflict, and these in turn conflict with the king-list given in 1 Chronicles. How I worked on that back then! I came up with my own solution to the problem, but I had forgotten my thought-process, so I was trying today to reconstruct it, as well as get more of my notes in typewritten form on the PC, rather than lying in handwritten form in the old (and fat) blue project-binder.

I'm strengthening my knowledge of kingship in general by reading one of my recent online used-book purchases: Kingship and the Gods by Henri Frankfort, published in 1948. In this he examines the institution of kingship as it was practiced in ancient Egypt and in ancient Mesopotamia (the two approaches were apparently quite different). The hardback I got, a reprint from 1969, is in excellent condition. I'm on page 58, having moved this book into the rotation of my reading period each afternoon (other books currently in that rotation: Pragmatism by William James; The Prize by Daniel Yergin; and The Earth System by Kump, Kasting, & Crane).

As I understand it so far, Frankfort's thesis is that the kings of those most ancient civilizations were the connectors between the gods and their societies, with the king serving a different function in each civilization--as an actual incarnation of the all-powerful god Horus in Egypt; and as the human intermediary between the gods and the people in Mesopotamia.

Once again, I found today that I could apply myself more consistently, for a longer time, to my project, now that I'm on a kind of "vacation"--the routine of regular life has been interrupted with Kimmie off work. If only I could relax enough to immerse myself in my own work while going through the regular "work" days. There is some blockage about that: fear of boredom, I think, is part of it.

Tomorrow is Jen's wedding. The cake must be finished tonight--and it will be. Kimmie has coated the three large stages of the cake in white fondant, and is attaching swags of icing around the top of each stage. These swags will drip icicles, and gum-paste vines of ivy will somehow be worked around the whole thing. The crest ornament will feature an arrangement of gum-paste calla lilies, roses, and carnations. The flowers, already made, all look as though they were picked from the garden. It will be magnificent.

Now: on to tea. I may not be able to write, but at least I can read. I'm validating all those other writers' lives.

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