My Seemingly-Indifferent Foreign Heart

I realize IUniverse sends this friendly e-mail warning to all of their clients, but it still strikes fear into one’s heart:

“By submitting your manuscript for an Editorial Evaluation, you’ve proved that you are not only willing to devote the time necessary to write a book but also ready to receive straightforward feedback from publishing professionals about how your book can be improved–even if what they have to say may not always be what you want to hear.”

Ugh. I knew this wasn’t going to be a fun process. I am now prepared to receive the words that “may not always be what [I] want to hear,” I guess in two to three weeks. Gives me lots of time to stew. I just know they’re going to tell me I need to prune it. I like to prune, but I’m talking about trees and shrubs here, not my carefully tended manuscript. But there is always this little part of me that keeps hoping they’re going to love it.

As you can imagine, we are raptly watching the news from Egypt, not knowing if what we saw was what these videos are showing, but it all looks pretty much the same–those drab, high-rise apartments, the roughly paved streets. They do show a bridge over the Nile swarming with chanting resisters, and I think perhaps it’s the one we crossed:

“Traffic slows as we cross a flat concrete bridge spanning the Nile. The river is so wide, smooth, and such a dark green; my heart leaps lightly at its sight. In a flash I sense its commanding power indifferently shaping and controlling multiple generations along its banks. Then the sensation is gone and I’m back on the bridge amidst the noise and fumes.

“As we move into the city’s heart, traffic slows to a crawl. It’s here where the traffic vendors and beggars walk amidst the stalled cars. A taxi filled with tourists is a magnet, and seated as I am by the right rear window, the lame and halt come to plead their case. I roll up the window, but still they come, mostly women completely robed in black save for their pale, round, moon faces, to beg with silent gestures, often lifting babies and small, thin children to the window, trying to melt my seemingly-indifferent foreign heart.

“I don’t like being trapped like this, forced to witness this parade of poverty, but I don’t know how to make it stop. I try ignoring them, shaking my head “no” at them, until I think I remember an important fact: Muslim women don’t like having their pictures taken. In the next moment, a woman holding a child closes in. I lift my camera and take a picture. I’m right; she turns and hurries off, and the photo, while somewhat blurred, is a good one. Just lifting the camera now works every time.”

Not nice. Not in the face of such poverty, but what is the answer to these pleas for help? Perhaps regime change? I don’t know.

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About Holly J. Pierce

You thought vacationing with small children was hard? Try traveling with your two daughters in their 20's, yet be glad that you have your peace-mongering husband along. Put it all together with your own laser vision of an epic journey and you have the basis for my book. Will I ever see it published? Will those self-published volumes ever move out of the garage? We'll see, won't we.
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