Z is for Zanzibar

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Number 26 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.

The tide at Jambiani, Zanzibar, withdraws for half a mile, revealing a vast expanse of beach. Which is fine: at low tide, you walk; at high tide, you swim. And in between, you laze in a hammock, reading. So how, you ask, can such a place become a writer’s affliction?

Well, holidays are nice, sure, but the thing is, I was just gathering steam in the first draft of Mystery Manor, 3rd in the Magali Rousseau series, when I was transported to Zanzibar. And my morning routine fell apart. This wouldn’t be so bad – a few days’ break is refreshing – but while I was there, I had another idea. And I couldn’t stop it growing. I thought about it in the hammock, made a few notes, started filling in the details. So now I’m back, there are two books competing for the limited space in my brain. You see? If you try hard enough, it’s possible to be afflicted even on a beach in Zanzibar.

Well, here endeth the A-Z. Phew! Just as well I decided in the end not to do it in Cambodian – it has 74 letters. My thanks go to the organisers, notably Damyanti Biswas (whose A-Z about the project Why in New Delhi is a far more worthy contribution than my own), to all of you who have visited, liked or commented, and of course to my friend Arnold Pogostik, without whose help I would doubtless never have made it.

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  1. Congratulatios!!!!! You were able to write stories beginnig each one with the letters of alphabet, it’s because you’re a writer with a lot of good phantasy….

  2. I can tell you’ve done this before. Actually, I think you told us that. Whatever. Maybe you could add a third work to your brain (I do appreciate a good brain) – just a pamphlet of tips for winning one of these challenges on time. You know, for all of the procrastinators. Not me, of course. I’m gonna be all caught up by the end of the day, midnight PDT. Just see if I don’t.

    • First time in fact for the A-Z. I just do a lot of planning, started maybe three weeks before the beginning. Don’t think I could add another work to my brain – as Eddie Izzard says, who can live at that speed?

  3. congratulations Curtis ! here’s more of such challenges, may be in Cambodian, one day !

  4. It has been a fun experience to follow you. As perhaps the oldest newbie to the craft, I have enjoyed your posts and learned much from them. I love clever humor like yours. All good stuff, thank you–write on.

  5. What a lovely affliction to suffer. What do the standing sticks mark? What are the rows of brown stuff on the sand? Are the women harvesting it? Do people just leave their boats beached shortly before low tide and come back for them when the tide rises? Are they anchored in any way?

    Yes, when i see photos I don’t understand, my mind reverts to its 5 year old state. lol

    • Seaweed (q2) which the sticks mark (q1) is indeed harvested but the women were going out to collect shellfish. The boats are lightly attached and remain there until the tide comes in. There you go – a pleasure to satisfy a curious mind!

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