The writing’s on the wall…er…tablet?

I don’t usually re-blog my own posts, in fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever done it before, but I saw this post I blogged in May last year and just loved the subject matter – writing and the history of writing! Enjoy! ūüėÄ xx

Sophie E Tallis - Author/Illustrator

The Deluge tablet, carved in stone, of the Gil... The Deluge tablet, carved in stone, of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian, circa 2nd millennium BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, the writing‚Äôs on the tablet and I‚Äôm not talking computer tablets here, in terms of writing and technology, it seems we‚Äôve come full circle! ūüėÄ

Like many of us, when I was a child I believed that the ancient Egyptians invented writing. That hieroglyphics were man’s earliest endeavour at making sense of the world in written form.

Of course, we all know this to be untrue now, that actually Sumer (southern Mesopotamia) and the ancient Sumerians invented writing, Sumerian cuneiform by writing on clay tablets with a reed called a stylus, at least 200 years before the Egyptians.

"The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the mo...
“The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like…

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The writing’s on the wall…er…tablet?

The Deluge tablet, carved in stone, of the Gil...

The Deluge tablet, carved in stone, of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian, circa 2nd millennium BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, the writing’s on the tablet and I’m not talking computer tablets here, in terms of writing and technology, it seems we’ve come full circle! ūüėÄ

Like many of us, when I was a child I believed that the ancient Egyptians invented writing. That hieroglyphics¬†were man’s earliest endeavour at making sense of the world in written form.

Of course, we all know this to be untrue now, that actually Sumer (southern Mesopotamia) and the ancient Sumerians invented writing, Sumerian cuneiform by writing on clay tablets with a reed called a stylus, at least 200 years before the Egyptians.

"The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the mo...
“The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim¬†was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land. ME K 3375.” In the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we grow and get older, thus our knowledge grows. What will we learn tomorrow? ūüėĬ†¬†¬†The reason for my focusing on ancient history, apart from the fact that I love it, study it and it continually inspires me, is simply the wonderment of the act of writing itself. That miracle of thought made manifest that we all take for granted.The Sumerians were this planet’s¬†earliest known civilisation, although new discoveries are being made all the time so never let your knowledge be set in stone!

Clay tablet with Sumerian cuneiform script lis...

Clay tablet with Sumerian cuneiform script listing gods in order of seniority, 2400-2200 BC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As well as inventing writing, the Sumerians¬†invented the round wheel, astronomy and agriculture¬†as we know it. A truly amazing people, thousands of years ahead of their time. Yet we know so little about them. Their great ziggurats¬†(pyramids) have not withstood the ravages of time as well as their later Egyptian cousins, many of their stele ‘stelae’¬†(huge standing stones inscribed with cuneiform) are but broken fragments. Of course, time has not been the only eroding factor. Sumer as it was, lying between the great river deltas of the Tigris and Euphrates, is modern-day Iraq, a country which has been ravaged by war for hundreds of years.

English: Ruins from a temple in Naffur (ancien...

English: Ruins from a temple in Naffur (ancient Nippur), Iraq, are said to be the site for the meeting of Sumerian gods, as well as the place that man was created. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sumer’s greatest city states were Uruk, Ur, Nippur, Eridu¬†and Kish,¬†though these are ruins now, their history overwritten by the Babylonian Empire which followed, the Akkadians, Assyrians, Hittites and a¬†host of other invading and overlapping peoples. In such a rich environment, it was hardly surprising that the fertile ground of the Tigris and Euphrates would be a prize worthy of fighting for.

English: Ancient cities of Sumer Espa√Īol: Anti...

English: Ancient cities of Sumer Espa√Īol: Antiguas¬†ciudades¬†de Sumeria Magyar: √ďkori¬†sumer¬†v√°rosok (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, the reason I’m focusing on the Sumerians in particular, is simply¬†because they also gave the world its very first story, The Epic of Gilgamesh. A wonderful fantasy adventure story on an epic scale, with our hero Gilgamesh, along with his friend Enkidu, trying to defy the gods and find the secret to immortality.

Gilgamesh Sumerian King

Gilgamesh Sumerian King (Photo credit: tonynetone)

Think of it, the world’s very first story, long before the Bible, Torah, Qur’an (Koran), the ancient Vedic Rig-Veda (early Hindu sagas), Buddhist¬†tales, Zoroastrian writings or ancient Chinese scrolls of Confucius, the Sumerians were writing about their lives and they were writing stories. We have¬†SO¬†much to thank the Sumerians for!

What made them first think of projecting their thoughts in written form? No doubt the need for trade pushed the need for communication between peoples.

Evidence suggests that it was this cuneiform, written on clay tablets, that travelled to Egypt and India and other parts of near/middle Asia as part of the ancient trade links of the time; and that these later inspired the Egyptian earliest proto-hieroglyphics and the written language of the Indus Valley Civilisation (centred around Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa), covering modern-day India and Pakistan.

English: Mohenjo-daro

English: Mohenjo-daro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose that is one of the contributing factors to my liking fantasy, particularly epic fantasy¬†– ¬†the fact that such sagas were written thousands of years ago, is certainly fuel for the imagination. The Sumerian King List for instance, a legendary text now where fantasy and fact certainly mix. The King List simply lists all the great rulers of the time, but it is not this which makes the record so extraordinary. It is the fact that this document cites many of those Kings as having lived and ruled for hundreds even thousands of years! Immortals? Talk about a feast for the imagination. If you’re looking for inspiration look to history.

Mace dedicated to the hero Gilgamesh (fifth ki...

Mace dedicated to the hero Gilgamesh (fifth king of Uruk, according to the Sumerian king list) by Urdun, civil servant of Lagash, Ur III. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The melding of fiction and fact is something I adore. Looking at history as we know it and daring to ask, what if this happened? For me, researching for an ancient forgotten people/culture¬†that pre-date humanity, I had a lot of rich source material to draw from. Were these Sumerian Kings immortal exiles perhaps? Banished from their own¬†«ľllfren¬†or Dworllian kin,¬†to live amongst lesser humans?¬†Perhaps it was these early sun-gods with their¬†advanced knowledge and long life that seeded our civilisations? Are they the¬†reason for the sudden unexplained¬†jump in technology and culture all those thousands of years ago?

For me, my mind boggled with the possibilities. Certainly a rich pre-history from which to hang the tapestry of imagination.

But, fact and fiction aside, all we do know for certain, is that as readers and writers and lovers of the written word, we owe much to that ancient civilisation and their miraculous inventions!

ūüėÄ xx

Ziggurat at Ur

Ziggurat at Ur (Photo credit: jmcfall)

The rollercoaster continues…another newspaper article!

Okay, so all good things come to an end, right?

I’m expecting the same to happen here too, and the anvil to drop on¬†my head at any moment…that’s the pessimist in me trying to be optimist by the way!

My debut novel was published exactly three weeks ago and in that time I have had three wildly successful author signing events, several interviews and have been in three newspapers and even mentioned in the Cotswold Life magazine.

Now, I really am not expecting this momentum to continue, but I do¬†intend to hang on to the rollercoaster ride for as long as I can, or at least until someone pops the brakes on and I go splat!¬†ūüėÄ

So, on Tuesday I have another interview, this time with the lovely Debbie Young of Readathon¬†UK – a wonderful charity that promotes reading for pleasure in schools and libraries across the country and raises money for sick children. What’s not to love, eh? Readathon UK has also had some huge literary names supporting it, such as honorary chairman Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, current Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, Frank Delaney and Micheal Rosen to name but a few. Little old me will be somewhat overwhelmed in such company, but I’m looking forward to the interview.

As for now, I’m thrilled to share with you guys, that The Stroud News & Journal newspaper has featured my book in their ‘Books Special’ (Wednesday 17th October 2012, p26) and in their Arts & Entertainment section on their website!

Check it out guys! :

http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/leisure/9990207.Beaudesert_teacher_pens_fantasy_novel/

Many thanks to the Stroud News & Journal for their support. Thank you guys! ūüėÄ xx

Wow! My fifth interview!!!

It’s been less than¬†two weeks since the publication of my debut novel, White Mountain – Book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles, and what a¬†wondrous whirlwind it has been, with hardly a moment to catch breath!

I guess that’s symptomatic of life really. Remember of the old saying about waiting for a bus then three come along at once?

Well, I’ve been in the very VERY fortunate¬†position¬†of having been on the most magical bus ride in recent weeks, with a few bumps in the road, the occasional¬†pit stop and some breathtaking views along the way…not to mention the magical destination!

So, I must share with you (a few days late I’m afraid)¬†the wonderful interview I did with the multi-talented writing powerhouse that is Morgen Bailey.

For those of you unfamiliar with Morgen with an ‘e’ Bailey, you simply MUST check out her amazing writing blog/website: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

An astonishing site and resource for writers of any genre. The multi-talented interviewer extraordinaire showcases poetry, short stories, flash fiction, competitions, forums, events, submission info., writing exercises,  author spotlights, blog interviews, writing tips, podcasts you name it! An emporium of everything a writer and reader could possibly want.

Where Morgen finds the time, I have no idea.

As frequent visitors to my blog will know, I¬†really struggle on a daily basis to juggle the demands of life, work, writing and promoting…just never enough hours in the day!

So, sit back for a moment, relax, make sure that coffee or tea is piping hot and you’re nicely snuggled with your arrangement of cushions, for my¬†5th interview and Morgen’s no.512!!! Wow!

Check it out guys: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/daily-interview-no-512-with-writer-sophie-e-tallis

Short link:  http://wp.me/p18Ztn-43V

ūüėÄ xx