The earliest writings included in The Egyptian Book of the Dead were originally chiseled in stone in the tombs of deceased pharaohs and royalty. Tomb size, quality, furnishings, and decoration were all considered critical for determining the spirit’s fate in the afterworld, so careful consideration and planning were involved. The scribes responsible for carving the hieroglyphics had considerable status in their culture, but they undoubtedly endured adversities such as poor lighting, lousy ventilation, annoying co-workers, ergonomically incorrect work stations, and repetitive stress injuries. Their writing blocks were made out of granite. (No wonder their daily word count was so low!) We are fortunate to live in an age when more amenable settings and tools for writing exist.
Egyptian mythology names the ibis-headed god Thoth as inventor of writing. Whatever his role was in the creation of the written word, I suspect that Thoth blew off his hieroglyphic invention duties every so often and just hung out on the shore of the Nile, watching the barques float by.
I named my book for writers The Blocked Writers Book of the Dead because the Egyptians revered and held holy the art of writing, and because books of the dead were the world’s earliest self-help manuals.
It also did not escape me that The Egyptian Book of the Dead is thousands of years old and still in print.