Where I write

Where I write

May 31, 2013

Cleopatra's Daughter

I've always been fascinated by Cleopatra. I've imagined her looking like this drawing even though I'm not sure if they had green eyeshadow in those days or, for that matter, red lipstick. I've seen statutes of Cleopatra and she doesn't look quite as beautiful as the drawings, or not as gorgeous as Elizabeth Taylor who played her in the movie a long time ago, but it's said she was attractive. Still, it was more than her beauty that intrigued me. She was a powerful leader way before women's rights. She lived a dramatic life and had a tragic death. All the stuff that makes a great novel.
A friend gave me this book when it first was published and even though it was a difficult read, nonfiction and dense with historical details, I enjoyed the book. After completing the book, I felt as if I had taken a Cleopatra 101 class. I plan to read the book again certain I missed some of the rich details in the first read. Author Stacy Schiff is a smart cookie herself.

I attend a writer's inspiration group, just an hour a week, where we do prompts...simple and fun, and no pressure to be perfect. Sometimes I think people who come for one or two visits to the writer's group, don't understand the beauty of its simplicity. How can writing be such fun?Example: this week our prompt was to write about root beer. Sure we eat a lot of sweets and laugh a lot, but we write, and that inspiration seeps into the rest of our lives without even knowing. Just that hour a week allowing yourself to imagine, play with words and ideas, can stimulate all sorts of ideas for a writer in his or her daily lives.

One day I began to think -- what if Cleopatra had a daughter?
Then Raquel came to work at the restaurant as a server. The minute I met Raquel I told her I wanted to write a book called Cleopatra's Daughter. She inspired me! I told her she would be the young woman I would imagine to fit the role. She looks as if she could have been Cleo's kid. Raquel is a college student at Arizona State University. Raquel's not just beautiful, but she's smart and fun and a pleasure to work with each night. Anyway, she giggles when I tell her I think she could be related to the the Queen of Egypt. But it's interesting how as writers, or artists of any form, can be inspired by our world, whether nature or movies or even coworkers. If we keep our heart's and mind's open and take just a small amount time each week to play with our creativity.
Now I just need to find  Mark Anthony's son.


Rita A. said...

How fun. That would be a Great novel for you to write. You'll have to practice at WIG. lol

Anonymous said...

Cleopatra is one of my favorite historical figures. Any time I come across a feisty woman in history, it reminds me of a quote - "Well behaved women seldom make history." :-)

Another great Cleopatra related read is "The Memoirs of Cleopatra" by Margaret George. It's one of my all time favorite books!

tracy said...

OMG Susanne, she really does look like Cleopatra's daughter. Now you gotta finish up your novel and start on this next one!

Love, Tracy