I’m back, fully recovered from the bionic repair of my left knee, and surgical repair of my left foot. I’ve completed a one-hour trial hike along the nearby C&O Canal trail. I hadn’t hiked without pain in five years, but I can now. Were the sequential knee and foot operations worth the excruciating pain? Yes, with a caveat: only because I’d done my homework and was confident of the outcome. Although I had not anticipated the depth of unremitting pain and four weeks of sleepless nights, I knew many who had gone through this successfully. “No pain, no gain.”
For those of you who like hiking in family safe places, I came to love hiking, not in the Marines but many years later, in the Point Reyes National Park and its trails, just an hour north of San Francisco (where else can you walk a beach for an hour and not see another human being?), and Mount Diablo State Park and its trails, an hour west of San Francisco. The best thing about hiking in the Bay Area is no ticks. I only found one tick on me in 7 years of hiking the Bay Area. But, in the East, I recommend hiking only along canal and railroad bed trails to avoid them.
During my convalescence, I discovered this best-by-far, 2-hour HD video of Hittite history from beginning to end. I scanned my blog and can’t believe I never presented this video before. Understanding the role the Hittites played in the Middle East during the Middle and Late Bronze Age is essential to understanding Egyptian, Anatolian, Greek, Mesopotamian, and Levantine history during that critical span of time, and in understanding the existing culture that the Sea Peoples destroyed during the collapse of the Bronze Age and succeeding dark age in the region. I highly recommend you invest the two hours, for this video is hands-down the most efficient way to get a holistic understanding of the Hittite civilization and its role during this time period.
The Hittite video will pique your interest in their long confrontation with Egypt, which is germane to a novel I read a couple weeks ago. You can read my Goodreads review of Nick Drake’s novel: Egypt, the Book of Chaos. I read a lot of novels while recovering, and this was the best.
The Raising Up Pharaoh sextet is being abridged into a trilogy tailored to entertain the Young Adult Market, with the cutting done by one of your fellow subscribers: Marilyn Janus. We are well past 50% on the first book and will be ready to publish the first novel in the Young Adult trilogy next winter (God willing, of course).
You might recall post 114 which contained my video interview by Derek Gilbert last October, regarding the Ubaid culture. You will find that post, which includes the video and a set of cross references on Southern Mesopotamia with links you’ll find useful here. In that interview, we discussed his upcoming book which starts with the Ubaid, looking for the intersection of events in Southern Mesopotamia with the Biblical narrative. His book The Great Inception is now published. I bought it, and have almost completed it. When I’m done, I’ll write a Goodreads review.
Based upon the research for my 17 posts on the Ubaid and reading Derek’s book, I’m now armed to write a novel set in that Ubaid culture. My remaining obstacle is reluctance to immerse myself in such a dark culture. For me to author within a setting, I have to go there in my mind every day during the duration of the writing, which could be up to a year. At this moment, the prospect of such a mental safari is daunting–but this could be a great, albeit dark, novel when done. My problem is that I’ve seen too much darkness in my life, and am reluctant to immerse myself in something even worse. Nonetheless, the fact is I already immersed myself in the Ubaid phenomena, think I know what was going on, and will only be creating a fictional account of other people living in it.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke