May. 2, 2022

You Can't Buy a Vowel

I really enjoy the research part of writing, which is probably why I'm not invited to a lot of the better parties. Of course, not being invited to the better parties (or, as I recall, ANY parties) left me with plenty of time to write The Book of Invasions, in which the mythologies of Ireland and Egypt collide. What kind of a collision? Imagine a camel, to which hundreds of pounds of TNT had been tied, galooping at top camel speed (40 m.p.h.--I looked it up; research is fun) and barreling headlong into a flaming sheep running at whatever top sheep-speed is. (25 m.p.h.--I was surprised; more fun.) Kaboom, right? Well, that's a terrible image. Forget it, because the book is actually nothing like that. But it does illustrate how much fun research can be. Just imagine: I could be chased down by a flaming sheep. So could you, unless you're Usain Bolt. And even then it would be close. I think that's interesting.

I should mention here that there's really nothing about flaming sheep, camel bombs, or Usain Bolt in The Book of Invasions. But there are many things that needed to be researched, such as the language of the ancient Egyptians. And in doing so, I learned that the archaic Egyptian alphabet had no vowels. It was what we call an ABJAD language. Using English words and letters, we might write something like this: FLMNG SHP. Throw in whatever vowel sounds you want (flumming shup, flemming shep, flomming shop) and it comes out sounding close enough to what a really drunk guy might say if he were for some reason trying to say 'flaming sheep'. (Note: I also learned that Egyptians drank a lot of beer, so this could be why they felt vowels were not particularly necessary.)

Abjad language, beer-drinking Egyptians, high-speed Camels, and how sheep could be our masters if they ever realized their inherent superiority. Research certainly taught us a lot today. Go on home. Relax. And if you have a party, remember to send an invitation to RD VCK.