Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching up, plans, MOROCCO!, and some writing room pics

Oh such a shameful shocking lapse in blogging. I just can't get my blogging act together. Some things that are going on:

--Clementine under the weather. A little cold plus a little teething = a little misery :-(

-- Starting a new book. Wooo hooooo! So exciting! So scary, inspiring, and wonderful! Have come up with some ideas that totally set my brain on fire. I am currently in love with the opening scene.

-- Laini's Ladies emergency. That is, I find myself with a sudden deadline and new designs to produce in the midst of much else going on.

-- Assorted "much else" in the way of life stuff -- good stuff, but busy-making.

-- Impending copy-edits. Eeek! Will be receiving tomorrow!

-- Revisiting the title of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which just isn't quite right. Wracking my brain for a kick-a** title.

--Preparing to go on a trip! Yay!!!!!! Guys, we're finally going to Morocco!!!!!!! Yippeeeeee! I have been in a daydream-land of kasbahs and camels, zellij tiles and carpet souks, tajines and caftans, mountain, desert, beach, city. Seriously: the Atlantic, the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains, and Marrakesh. Oooooooh, names out of fairy tales. I am SO EXCITED I CAN'T SEE STRAIGHT. I want to see the goats in the argan trees. Date oases on the fringe of the Sahara, with mud-brick castles baking in the winter sun. Leather slippers in every color, all lined up, gorgeous as candies. Mountains of oranges in the Jemaa el-Fna.

How cool of a UNESCO designation is this: "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". I think that that designation was created specifically for the Jemaa el-Fna, which the heart of Marrakesh, this big madhouse of a square filled with acrobats and henna artists, snake charmers, musicians, street dentists (ouchy!), storytellers, and more more more. And food, of course. Here it is at night:

And here is one of the most famous kasbahs, Ait benhaddou. It may be familiar to you from being in many movies, including Gladiator:

And oh the luxury, the luxury. Part of the awesomeness of traveling in Morocco is that even the hotels are destinations, and I don't mean just the expensive ones. Here are some pictures of the "modest" riad where we will be staying:

(Look at this ceiling!!! And the tilework! Oh my oh my. Camera, I think you are going to get some use :-)

Oh my gosh, I am so in love with this country, and I haven't even been there yet! Can't WAIT to show you my own pictures. It will be a little while yet, but just you wait. Photos will be had. Forced on you. I will sucker you in and make you watch my two-hour trip slideshow of Clementine riding a camel, Clementine wearing a tarbouche cap (fez), Clementine on a magic carpet, etc etc. Tee hee.

In the meantime, some pictures I can show. My writing room is in the new issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors -- the Studio edition. Yay! I haven't seen it yet, but am dying to. But here are some of the pics I sent in. Don't know which they will have used:

On another note, I was following the National Book Awards on Twitter last night. Has it already been a year??? Whoa. Congrats to all the winners!

And lastly, a book recommendation. Best book I've read in a long while: Plain Kate by Erin Bow. Such gorgeous gorgeousness! Erin Bow is an award-winning poet, and it shows in her marvelous prose: so evocative and lovely (without being flowery or "poem-y," never fear). But it's not just the prose. The storytelling, the imagination, and the heart -- and heartbreak are all tippy top. My favorite kind of book. It actually made me well up numerous times, and I am not a teary-eyed reader, usually! I could try to tell you the plot, but I have a deadline to get back to, so best you just read the flap when you go to buy it! :-)


tone almhjell said...

One Plain Kate going on the Christmas wishlist immediately. You know, I think your writing room tastes of Morocco. Morocco and willows. And fairies.

Jennifer K. Mann said...

Ooooo, Morocco. And, I would be happy just to visit a room as inspiring and vibrant as your writing room. It's wonderful, and makes me think my converted end-of-the-garage-studio could use a little love and care, a little vacuuming, a little color, so that it might become a better retreat/temple. It seems as though yours is just that!

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

Oooo....I know exactly what you mean about Morocco!!! I would LOVE to go! I have been (several times) to the tiny Disney version in favorite "country" there. But I've been dreaming of Morocco for years. I wish you an AMAZING trip, and I would more than LOVE to come to your two hour slide show!! (Assuming you don't explode from the combined amazing-ness of the country and cuteness of your daughter on a magic carpet.)

Anonymous said...

I'm so envious over your upcoming trip and your gorgeous writing room! I have no talents in the visual/decorative arts AT ALL, I just want the magic elves to come and make it happen while I'm sleeping.

I'm dying to know your strategy for traveling so far with a one-year-old. My little guy - who's super energetic, doesn't like to be strapped in, etc - will be 17 months when we travel cross-country in December and I'm just dreading the plane ride.

Thanks for all the exciting news!

- Tinamarie

andalucy said...

I read the same about the special cultural heritage designation created for Jemaa el-Fna, so it must be right.

I am SO looking forward to your photos! I'm sure yours will come much closer to reflecting your experience. My photos were awful compared to what I saw, felt, smelled, etc. :-)

Yes, those leather shoes are gorgeous! My daughter bought some.

Stephanie Perkins said...

So many beautiful pictures, I wouldn't even know where to start. Le sigh.

I ordered Plain Kate yesterday! :)

persnickety_jen said...

I can't believe you're going to Morocco!!!!! What an amazing experience (for you and for Clementine)!

...I'm shamelessly flouting my "three exclamation point per comment" rule right now, but how often does one get to squee about Morocco?!?

And if you don't post a million pictures when you get back, your readers will probably stage a revolt. Just saying.

Bon voyage!

Catherine Denton said...

Congrats on Morocco!! So exciting. AND I saw your writing room article about a week ago in our bookstore!
Catherine Denton

Elena said...

How exciting! Morocco sounds fantasious! Great pictures of the writing room, and thx for a new something to read!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I feel sorry for you. Making a title must be hard

Anonymous said...

i'm sure you'll love morocco! i just have to gush a bit, but you're of course under no obligation to read it. :) feel free to troll around my set from being there this past june:

because you are traveling with a man, you will have a much more pleasant time than i did, in a moment-to-moment sense. i enjoyed morocco very much, and my take-home lesson was that i would not go back to a muslim country without a 1:1 man:woman ratio. it wasn't dangerous, but there was a LOT of commentary. being a minority was an important experience. speaking french was also priceless--most people don't speak much english, although they DO know their numbers, so they can sell you things! :) the riad we got in essaouira was AMAZING, very much like the one you posted pics of, and for only 22 euro/night/person! my biggest advice would be to whet your bargaining appetite. in order to get the price i thought i should (which was much higher than a moroccan could have gotten, but much lower than they offered!), i literally had to walk away. if they chase you down and try to bring you back, you're in the right place to be thinking about buying. in general, moroccans were SO SO SO nice and helpful! and the pastries in fes...0.50 dh/ea. YUM. and the mint tea. mmm. yes. yes. such an experience.

a book i really enjoyed was "the caliph's house" by tahir shah. i like reading about places while i am there. (i also read "arabian nights" by him but didn't like it as much. still good though. and "mrs. pollifax and the whirling dervish", which was total candy. it's surprising what you can turn up at powell's. "see ouarzazate and die" is still on my stack to read.)

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Anonymous! Glad to hear your enthusiasm!!! I love Tahir Shah's books too :-) I will check out your flickr!

Evie said...

Envious of your trip to Morocco, and your beautiful writing room. I finally have a spare room in my house, and I'm going to decorate it in much the same color palette, striving for an exotic feel.

Can't wait to see your pictures and read the true tales of your journey. Will you have a guide? Will it be just you, Jim and Clementine or are friends and family going as well? I've always wanted to travel the world, but life and children happened, so it was delayed, but thankfully my husband and I are now able to begin our adventures. We've been to some beautiful places thus far, but my hubby is intimidated with even the thought of going somewhere that English isn't at least marginally spoken. I'll have to work on this.

I must fess up--I enlarged your bookcases to see what's on your shelves. Lots of good stuff there.

Kjersten said...

Oh I'm so giddy and excited for you and your trip to Morocco. Are you taking Clementine? If you need hints for what to do with little ones on long airplane rides, I'm your girl. We've taken Oscar on so many long airplane rides this year, I feel like I should start putting together airplane kits for kids or something.

Looking forward to your pictures.

Jeanine said...

Just saw your studio in the new Studios magazine. Awesome! I have one question, what is the main color you used on your walls in there? It is beautiful. I am going to have to check out your books too.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

That is very cute! Makes me want to paint murals again. Can't wait until I have a house to do it in =)

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