Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Nightmare of a Book

I woke up in a panic from a nightmare. Check, I was in my apartment in Swakopmund, Namibia, not in Kampala as in my dream. Check, I was in my comfy bed, not driving--and losing--a white Toyota in front of the big boss. I’d been riding a horse the day before but hadn’t driven a car in over a month. Not the worst dream, I decided, and much better than the terrifying nightmares from the previous two nights.

I’d learned that I couldn’t get back to sleep after these nightmares, so I got up and worked on my book.

Yes, the book. Remember the book? I’m in Africa to write the book about the Cape Town-to-Cairo part of I wasted most of my time here chasing deadlines for comic books (my other job), but I have now gotten into the nitty-gritty of book-writing.

It’s tough, as anticipated.

I heated up some water for decaf coffee and did a word count on what I had so far.

93,156 words.

That’s 53,156 words too many. And I haven’t even tried to figure out how to include material from 2005 yet.

I groaned and got my laundry together. Sometimes the laundromat is a good place to think, as there are no other distractions. And yesterday’s clothing—including my only pair of jeans—smelled distinctly horsey.

The horse ride had been a bust. My hope was to get out of the house and into the desert, to a remote place to take some photos. What I got—not surprising in retrospect—was a bouncy hour-and-a-half look at some scrubby bush and sand. This trip was about being on a horse, not a means to an end for me to see dramatic scenery. I sadly reflected upon the hard-earned dollars I would never get back and the dire state of my bank account in New York. A grand total of US $600 was nothing to be proud of. So I made a bad choice when I booked the horse trip. We all make bad choices sometimes and then sometimes we have bad choice marathons. I just added it to my recently growing list.

What I need now, I thought as my jeans orbited around and around in the dryer, is a title.

My book title was formerly Slow Boat to Everywhere. But then, the book had been about me going around the world for a year. Now it is about me going from Cape Town to Cairo the hard way. It has to be catchy, clever, and simple. I pitched Hakuna Matatu and was shot down by just about everybody. Others liked Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik. The editor did not. I’d been reading and re-reading the journal titles from MariesWorldTour.

Suddenly Sudan.

Denial Ain’t Just A River in Egypt… It’s In Ethiopia Too.

Crazy Like A Kudu.

I clearly need help. Any suggestions? Dark Star Safari and Swahili for the Broken-Hearted are already taken.


Ed Ward said...

Cape Town to Cairo the Hard Way isn't a bad subtitle. But yeah, you need that blockbuster lead-in.

Anonymous said...

"Africa in Slow-Mo: Cape Town to Cairo the Hard Way" ?
How about:
"Ever Kissed a Seal?"
No, seals don't sound African enough--maybe "Ever Kissed a Camel?" Ew, ick, that's not a nice image....
"Namibian Nightmares" ?
Hmmm... this is harder than I thought.....

Anonymous said...

hmmmm I like Cape Town to Cairo the Hard Way -
I'm gonna have to sleep on this one.

Anonymous said...

ok ok, how about
Solo in Slo-mo?
this IS hard....

Sara Kocher said...

Hi Marie,

Don't know if you've come up with a title yet, but I was killing time and avoiding my deadlines by playing with a Swahili translator online. I came up with these:

usafari (travel or journey)
maneva (trip or excursion)
usiri batela (slow boat)

Don't know how accurate the web translation is, but I kind of like "Usiri Batela: Cape Town to Cairo the Hard Way."

Hope you enjoy Cape Town more than Swakopmund. I'm thinking SA sounds like more fun than mini-Bavaria right now.