Sunday, 1 April 2012

Alexandrine Tinne: Lady Explorer


An extract from a work in progress inspired by the experiences of Alexandrine Tinne, the first European woman to cross the Sahara. As yet untitled, so for now just known as:

Alexandrine Tinne: Lady Explorer
As we wind our way through the desert my eyes ache as they constantly try to refocus, seeking change. The endless expanse of sand threatens to send my mind spinning. For my sanity’s sake I look down at my feet sinking into the dune we are climbing – focus on the tiny avalanches that are created with each step. If I look to the right, away from the sun, I see rows and rows of ripples marking the sand, like the wavy lines children draw to represent the sea. If I look to the left everything disappears in the white glare of the sun, which is also endangering my state of mind. Its ruthlessness scares me. It seems angry that we have dared to venture into this vast domain that it rules over with its scorching rays.
There are no animals here, except for the camels we have with us that carry our gear, and sometimes me. I do catch glimpses of something under the sand now and then, something living down there that doesn’t want us to see it. It slinks along just beneath the surface until it has passed us then, I’m sure, it bursts free, happy to glide freely along the dunes again once we are gone. Ahead, Ammon, the lead guide, has reached the top of this dune his silhouette momentarily imprinted on the hard blue sky before the sand swallows him as he starts to descend the other side. He is a surly man who has little to say. I’m not sure about him. He is very different to the guides I have had before. I need to stop, drink water, make camp, sit in the shade. But I have learnt already that he won’t allow it. We stop when he says so and not before. I may be paying him and his men for their assistance in getting across the Sahara but I am not in charge. I must not ever think that.
I hope you like it.

27 comments:

  1. Enjoyed this, very descriptive. Look forward to more of your A-Z posts. Good luck with the challenge!

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  2. This is really good, Amanda! I've been in the Sahara, and your writing took me right back there. Very well done. Keep writing, you've got the hang of it.

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    1. Thanks Vero! I'll always be writing - if you stop by again leave your blog address so I can check yours out too.

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  3. interesting post A
    here is mine
    http://pa-ul.blogspot.com/search/label/GAC%20A-Z%20Artists

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    1. Thanks Pa, I will check your blog out.

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  4. Very nice. I felt I was there with her. I'm glad I found your blog!

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Theresa. I'm glad I found yours too so I can relive my 80s youth this month!

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  5. Hi Amanda .. what a great story .. I can see it .. I mentioned the Sand Library recently in my posts on libraries .. it's a fascinating world the Sahara - I've been to the deserts in southern Africa, but not the Sahara - only the tv traveller with Michael Palin on this particular sand foray.

    Looking forward to reading the rest .. cheers Hilary

    PS I'll be subscribing, but can't see your followers ...

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    1. Hello Hilary, sorry for delayed reply but your comment has been floating around in space somewhere for a couple of days and only just arrived! Thanks so much for your kind words. You should be able to see the blog followers on the right-hand side. Not that there are many yet!

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  6. Such a clever approach to write a diary entry from the point of view of the subject of study. Excellent job with it. And, I learned something.

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  7. Oooh, nice! Explorer stories have always been my favorite! Have you read the Unknown Sahara by László Almásy? I have a storytelling performance based on it :)
    http://www.fjexpeditions.com/frameset/almasybooks.htm

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  8. An excellent excerpt, well written and intriguing. I'm sure you've done a lot of research for this sort of story. Historical fiction (and history in general) is a growing passion of mine, and I'd be interested to learn more about this lady explorer braving the vast, desolate expanse.

    There's just one typo in the second paragraph, where expect should be except (I imagine a spell- checking or auto-correct snafu).

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  9. Thanks to everyone for their recent comments. I'm glad your all enjoying my writing. Martin - an extra thank you for your eagle eyes! Typo now corrected.

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  10. Your writing style definitely sets the feel of this piece at the outset. It has a very historical feel to it - for a moment one wonders if it was not actually penned by a woman from the 1830's.

    Looking forward to your post for Letter B.

    ~MAJK~

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  11. Very intriguing. You paint a vivid picture with your words. Looking forward to reading more:)

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  12. Nice. Love the imagery you invoke. I'm horrible at description, so I'm a minimalist at it.

    http://weavingataleortwo.blogspot.com/

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  13. This was super interesting. I'm a former history major, so I love reading old journals and historical documents. Great post.
    Happy A-Z challenge!

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  14. Ooh I loved this. Are all your A to Z's gona be based on this WIP? :)

    Universal Gibberish

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    1. Hello Anna, loved your Angel poem too. The posts are all going to be about something different, but all related to writing and there will be some more extracts from other things I am working on. I have a lot of WIP!

      Thanks to everyone else that has stopped by and commented too :o)

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  15. Very nice extract! I can totally see the little creature bursting out of the sand once the coast is clear :)

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    1. Thanks Catherine - really liked your April Fool's blog too. And today's baddies!

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  16. Great voice on that work. Love the descriptions.

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  17. Hi Amanda, just found Third Sunday Blog Carnival, and you site, browsing there. I like the entry to your story, makes me want to read on, being a lover of the desert. I'll have a fist contribution to the Carnival in June.

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  18. i really love this i used some of this info for my project at school

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