Randall’s Ramblings, September 17, 2023

It’s been a mainly wet week, with daytime temperatures ranging from 59-68F (14-20C). Nighttime temperatures were also lower, staying between 43-52F (6-11C) There was one day where it was dry enough so I was able to start raking up the leaves. Plenty more have fallen since then, but I’ll have to wait for another dry day to gather them up.

Over the past week, the price of gasoline (petrol) jumped another two pence, bringing it up to 1.56 a liter. However, the pound continued to weaken against the dollar, and the price of an equivalent U.S. gallon fell from $7.26 to $7.21. Meanwhile, the price of a liter of diesel increased to £1.58 a liter.

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” — George Orwell. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on 17 September, the third Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/):

Gilbert Burnet, Scottish philosopher and Bishop of Salisbury (History of the Reformation); Durastante Natalucci, Italian historian (specialized in history of Trevi, in Umbria); Gottlieb Rabener, German author (Vom Misbrauch of the Satire); Marquis de Condorcet, French enlightenment philosopher (Condorcet Method) and mathematician; Johann August Apel, German jurist and writer; Edward William Lane, British lexicographer and translator (One Thousand & One Nights); Émile Augier, French dramatist; Edouard Pailleron, French attorney, poet and stage writer; Clemens Baeumker, German historian (Patristischen Philosophie); Hans Müller, German music historian and writer; Owen Seaman, British poet and editor (Punch); Désiré Inghelbrecht, French composer, conductor and writer; Anton Hendrik Blaauw, Dutch botanist (Perception of Light); Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Bernes, British composer and novelist; William Carlos Williams, American physician and poet; Bastiaan de Gaay Fortman, Dutch historian and Justice of Curacao; Abel Herzberg, Russian-Dutch Jewish lawyer and writer (Persecution of Jews); Mary Stewart, British sci-fi author (Crystal Cave); Ken Kesey, American author (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest); Mischa de Vreede, Dutch poetess (Our Eternal Hunger); Albertine Sarrazin, French author (L’astragale, La Cavale); Robert Graysmith, American Zodiac killer researcher and author; Lawrence Anthony, South Africa, conservationist and author; Brian Andreas, American writer, sculptor, painter and publisher; Rami Saari, Israeli poet and translator; and Wendy Northcutt, American author of the Darwin Awards.

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me–Ken Kesey. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenThis week, I completed chapter thirteen  of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book 2. As always, it’s been posted to the two online writing sites I use. Reviewers provided another nineteen critiques arrived this week, bringing the total to 241. As always, they’ve provided plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into reviewing my work.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

A light knocking on the door woke Shatara from a restless sleep. Who is that? First person not to barge in. She cleared her throat. “You may enter.”

She listened to a key turn in the lock before the door eased open.

A head peeped around the corner.

Aw, someone who seems younger than me. “Come in, please.”

A petite girl squeezed past the open door, adjusting her traditional Sana’ani, a curtain-style dress in black with red and green trim. Sequins adorned the garment. Upon her head, she wore an Al-Momq, a cotton cloth covering her head. Like the Sana’ani, it was in black but had red and white inclusions. Her long, black tresses flowed down her back. She set a tan canvas bag on the floor.

“As-salam alaykum. I am called Uzza Al-Hammadi. I will be your attendant while you visit us.”

Visit? Does she have any idea what’s going on? “Walaykum as-salam. I am Shatara. How old are you?”

She smiled. “I am twelve years old. Soon, I shall be ready for a husband.”

Shatara shook her head. She has no idea. “What do you have in the bag?”

Uzza glanced down. “A change of clothing for you.” She wrinkled her nose. “But first, you must clean up. I can smell you from here.”

“Yes, I was in a place where I couldn’t keep myself clean.” Shatara sniffed and seemed to recoil from her own body odor. “I hope you brought some shampoo.”

Uzza giggled. “Of course, Shatara. I brought you a shampoo soap bar, which is good for hair growth. It is made with cedarwood, lavender, and sweet orange.”

“Sounds lovely. Where can I clean up?”

Uzza pointed to the interior door as her face beamed. “We are blessed to have modern toilets. There’s one inside, along with a shower hose. Do you need my help?” She picked up the bag and pulled out a bar of soap, along with a square of cloth and a towel, and handed them to Shatara. “When you finish your cleansing, I will have your clothes laid out on the bed for you.”

“Why can’t I take the clothes with me?”

Uzza shook her head. “There isn’t any place to hang them, and they will get wet.”

“Oh.” At least I can protect my modesty with the towel. “Let me go now. I’ll feel better when I’m clean.”

“Oh, yes. And smell better, too.” Uzza covered her mouth as she blushed. “I am sorry if I have insulted you.”

“You’re correct. I’ll be back soon.” Shatara opened the bathroom door and stepped inside. In addition to the toilet, there was a small sink with a cracked mirror above it. In the corner, a hose was connected to two taps via a mixer tube. The water will flow across the floor. Oh, well. At least I’ll be clean again.

Shatara put the towel on the toilet seat, stripped off her clothes, grabbed the soap, and turned on the water.

“Oh!” A burst of cold water caused Shatara to shudder. She adjusted the taps, and the water warmed. “That’s better.” She scrubbed her entire body before lathering her hair. When she finished, she wrapped herself in the towel, knocked on the door, and entered the bedroom.

Uzza smiled. “How was it? I think you enjoyed your showering as I listened to you humming.”

“It was fantastic.” Shatara grinned.

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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