“Egyptian spell on Silicon Valley” by Elena Martina

An Egyptian Museum in Silicon Valley? That is exactly how I responded; surprised, when someone told me that there is an Egyptian museum in Silicon Valley.  He recommended it as, “A wonderful place to visit.” So one sunny weekend, I took his advice, grabbed my camera, and headed there to find out what it was all about.  Free parking was available at the back of the museum and after a short walk to the main entrance I came face to face with its architecture, greenery, and gardens.  A low entry fee of $9.00 allowed me to get in, where I was told that I could take pictures, but without a flash.

I was so intrigued that I put thoughts in my mind about this visit and expected something grand, and got it.  The front interior was dark, giving the impression of mysterious elegance, but it was well illuminated in display areas.  Slowly but surely, I started looking at all their art and historical descriptions at different floor levels.  Amazed at the variety of items displayed, some I could actually touch and watch at a very close range without anyone telling me to back off.  I also learned that the museum was established in 1928 and it was architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak and houses the largest exhibition and collection (over 4,000 items) of Egyptian artifacts in Western U.S.

The museum’s actual name is The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. “Rosicrucian” is an international organization specializing in the ancient mystic, devoting their studies to mystical, philosophical, and religious doctrines concerned with their application to our modern life.

As I was taking several photographs I kept looking back at my pictures to make sure they were good.  I knew then that I would be writing a piece about it, and glad it has come to be months later.  The museum is very interesting! And yes, there are a couple of Mummies in visible cases you can lean on for further inspection.  A ten minute video showed how ancient Egyptians embalmers rolled up their dead in wraps, after taking out fluids and internal organs.  A modern medical machine is now able of seeing through these corpses without unwrapping their ancient cloths.

By reading the museum posts, I learned that Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, religion, and art, and that Egyptians loved their cats and considered them protectors of their homes.  Most cats were called Ta-Mieuw, or “The Meower,” and were very spoiled. Some even wore jewelry and got embalmed just like humans.  A household cat was mummified and given a burial after death.

 

I also read there were dozens of Egyptian dynasties, but the first two from 3000-2800 B.C.E., showed typical characteristics of Ancient Egyptian culture; language, architecture, art styles, construction, administrative organization, calendar, weights, measures, and royal activities; were important enough to leave a legacy and where the Step Pyramid construction technique started.  In my many observations, I came across a black flat stone, and after reading what the post said, it turned out to be a copy of The Rosetta Stone.  I thought that Rosetta was a language learning tool, but how wrong I was. It used to be an ancient village in Egypt where the stone was discovered, by accident, in 1798 by one of Napoleon Bonaparte soldiers.  This stone was “key” for early researchers to decipher ancient Egyptian writings!

Once I had visited all the museum levels and left the main building, I was happy to have found such treasure in Silicon Valley.  What greeted me afterwards were outdoor gardens that included an Egyptian game floor that looked like checkers, but wasn’t.  I then leisurely meandered around, zigzagging the green areas and gods and goddess statues seemed to greet my every turn.  As the museum does not have a cafeteria, I would recommend visitors to bring a picnic basket and sit at the Peace Garden for lunch, while listening to a waterfall nearby.

And I leave you with an Egyptian proverb that says, “Stretch your legs as far as your blanket extends” which means: “Don’t live beyond your means.”

Want to know more? Check out their very educational website at: http://www.egyptianmuseum.org/ Address: 1660 Park Ave., San Jose CA. Hours: Wed – Fri: 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sat – Sun: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Mon – Tue: Closed. The Museum is also closed on: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

ElenaMartina, Author

Clinging to Every Writer’s Dream

It may be every writer’s dream to write a spellbinding story, to be discovered by a literary agent and have your breakout novel be the object of a bidding war by powerful publishing houses followed by a national book tour and all the celebrity that comes with newfound fame and fortune.

For ElenaMartina, a native of Peru, that may still be the case but she is also pragmatic and knows that this scenario happens all too rarely in the real world of publishing. Instead of waiting for fame to find her she has set out to create her own success. It is a road traveled by many an entrepreneur here in Silicon Valley and the similarities are there- she has created a product (her novel) and now she must get it out to market.

ElenaMartina (as she is known by her literary name, both first and middle names conjoined) has been a writer since 1998. She began as a columnist for a newspaper in North Carolina and wrote a weekly bilingual column there. Her successful column was picked up by other newspapers and she also co-founded a Spanish language paper before arriving in California in 2010.

It was while she was still in North Carolina though, where she lived for 16 years, that she first started her novel: Clinging to Deceit.

There is a saying that writers should write what they know. For ElenaMartina that meant recalling an episode in her own life when at age 16 her mother confessed that she and ElenaMartina’s baptismal godmother had schemed to see if they could match their respective children into a romantic relationship. But the young ElenaMartina would have no part of it and thus originated the genesis of her novel.

Clinging to Deceit tells the story of two families who have arranged the marriage of their children. The girl accepts the idea of an arranged marriage but the young boy is reluctant as he is already in love with someone else. Theirs is a story of romance, violence, deceit and murder.

Being a first time novelist the writing process did not come easily for ElenaMartina but she utilized her background as a reporter and experience in the court system to bring realism to her story.

But writing a novel proved more challenging than a weekly column and for ElenaMartina the whole process from concept to publishing took 2 ½ years.  “The pain of writing a book” (as it pertained to the grueling agony of writing and editing a book that took 2 1/2 yrs to come out) “was worse than having a baby”, she joked,. but like a pregnancy she was glad when her self-published book was finally done in April of this year.

But, like an entrepreneur, having published her first novel was just the beginning.  Now she had to market her novel and create her own book tour and promote it through popular online sites like Amazon or social media sites like Facebook.

ELenaMartina has utilized her author’s page (facebook/author.elenamartina), her book page (facebook/ClingingToDeceit) and her own website (ElenaMartina.com) to promote her novel. In addition she also maintains a blog page (facebook/HappyLivingOneDayatATime).

And now with her first novel under her belt she can offer advice to other unpublished authors. “Concentrate on writing one book at a time”, she says, “and go at your own pace but focus your writing on just that one story so that you can finish it and then publish it.” She also recommends networking with other writers, asking them lots of questions on the writing process and self-publishing, attending weekend writer retreats and letting close friends and family review your novel so that you can get honest reviews and feedback on your story.

For ElenaMartina her next project may include teaching others how to navigate the world of self-publishing as well as working on her second novel that will continue the theme of deceit but with a whole new plot and characters.

Clinging to Deceit can be purchased as a soft cover for $15.95 or as an E-book for $4.99 through AuthorHouse, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Books, Books-a-Million and Indigo websites.

An autographed copy of her novel is also available for $20.00 (includes shipping) by contacting ElenaMartina at: onlyelenamartina@aol.com