There are an insane amount of museums in Tokyo, let alone the whole of Japan. I’ve been reading up on all kind of museums from the Sumo and Old Edo Museums in Ryogoku to a Parasite museum in Meguro-ku. But yesterday, I set out for the Tokyo National Museum wanting to visit before it closed for the New Year holidays.
All through Primary school I wanted to work in museums, either as a paleontologist or a curator. I think there was even a point when I wanted to be the Big Cheese of the Queensland Museum. Needless to say, I can make a museum visit in to a full day trip. For 600 yen (about $6), I got entry in to three different museum buildings (one was closed for renovations to make it earthquake proof). Though many of my photos are of samurai armour and swords, I was suprised to see not only Japanese artefacts but pieces from Egypt, Iran, China, Korea and Germany.
All through school I was disappointed that the Queensland Museum didn’t have the cool artefacts from the Middle East or Europe like the big international museums did. Admittedly, it’s only in the last two years that I realised how controversial ownership of artefacts is. Many of the artefacts on display were gifts to the museum from other governments but there were other acquisitions from countries that, perhaps, should not have owned it in the first place.
Having said that, I was so excited to see this piece.
These are glass beads from a necklace of the Myceneaen culture of Ancient Greece. The Mycenaean’s took over from Minoan Crete (whether by force or mutual agreement to assist the Minoans lifestyle crippled by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, no one knows). I just couldn’t believe that in the middle of Tokyo, I had been given a little reminder of my current project.
A few weeks ago, I was watching the documentary, Cracking the Maya Code, when a photo of this guy came up on screen…
Meet Russian linguist, Yuri Knorosov.
When this came on screen I started laughing so hard, I cried. Don’t most people try to look happy and sociable in photos? Even the cat looks like his evil sidekick. He makes me want to yell out, “Next time, Gadget!” and smash my fist on the desk like The Claw.
All bad guys need an evil cat sidekick
As soon as I see a photo like this one, I’m already putting a story together in my head. Just have a look at this later photo of him…Even in colour, he’s still pissed off! This guy is so awesome!
***Update: And just for something completely different, I’ve found this column about tearing-up in Sci-fi films by John Scalzi. Read through the comments as well, it’s fascinating to see the moments in films that made other people reach for the Kleenex.***
I’m not sure what it is about May, but yet again I am too ill and busy to get out to all the great activities and lectures on for National Archaeology Week. *heavy sigh* Though, I have been up to some nerdy historical stuff this week.
I’ve been playing around on the Cyark website, which shows project details and 3D scans of various archaeological sites. From what I’ve read this is still fairly new technology and is not used on every site but the best part is plebs like us can check it all out for free. Huzzah!
I have also finally figured out Google Earth! It’s not rocket science, I just didn’t realise I needed to download it on to my computer to use it (yeah, yeah shut up already). This is just an image I saved from trying to figure out the path of the Incas once they began to rebel against the Spanish conquistadors and also where Pandora and her dad are in my contemporary storyline.
I’m still working on it but you get the idea.
So, I hit the 40,000 word mark on my draft and then everything froze up. It’s taken me a few days to realise that I had fallen into a great big hole.
This draft is not about tightening words or checking the emotional arcs of the characters. It’s what I call a vomit draft. I smash out all the scenes down and in order, so I can read it over and see what’s missing and what’s not working.
No matter how much planning I put into the vomit draft I usually end up screeching to a halt in the process. This time just happened to be at 40 000 words when I thought I was totally killing it.
I had hit the big action part towards the end of the middle, which I have always been very excited to get to but I couldn’t write it.
I did my usual routine – sook, eat chocolate, read blogs, facebook, glare at manuscript on laptop – until the reason came to me. I didn’t know what to write because there were still a few questions that I hadn’t answered.
They were all questions on the character’s motivation and their expectation on what would happen. These aren’t secret writer questions either, they are insanely obvious to any reader, writer, film junkie. Though for some reason, I thought I could get away with not answering these questions until the second draft. Foolish much? Yes, Yes I am.
When I’m stuck in my writing, it’s usually because I don’t know what to write. First step – acknowledge you have a problem, right?
Second step is figuring out what to do and I think that’s where people give up and start a new project. Instead of giving up, I ask myself questions to try and break through this stage.
What does my character want?
Do my characters in this scene have conflicting objectives?
What does my character think is going to happen?
I’m not sure if it’s these questions that help everyone out but they seem to be the ones that get my writing moving again.
And just on a finishing note, how cool is the news of that archaeological dig that may contain the tomb of Anthony and Cleopatra? I think it’s just as cool that there’s an Egyptologist called Kathleen on site…