Fantasy is a big part of my life. It's my absolute favorite genre of books and movies since it's my escape from reality and at the same time a main source of my perspective on life. I love the way it reflects human nature and gives more depth to this solid plain world that people call reality. Since I was a kid I've read lots of fantasy books, but growing up I felt that I should discover the origins of all those pretty tales.
I became more and more interested in ancient mythology and old literature and I've been trying to read and know as much as I can about such original sources of human imagination. I went through the original Grimm Fairy Tales, Arabian nights, Kalila and Dimna as well as Tales from Greek and Norse Mythology. I loved them all but none of them, even Arabian nights, felt like it was my own heritage. I simply didn't see myself in most of the stories, and couldn't totally empathize with the characters.
Then, unfortunately lately, I was surprised to discover that I practically knew nothing about Ancient Egyptian mythology. My own country's very rich source of amazing tales. Other than a few famous names and rare fragments of stories, I had no idea about anything related to Egyptian mythology. At first I was furious at myself for not knowing these things. How could I miss such an obvious source of knowledge and just go on without reading about it? But as I thought about the reasons, I figured it wasn't entirely my fault, that I didn't simply forget about or ignore Egyptian mythology and that there is more to this than one person's forgetfulness or laziness.
As Egyptian kids, we were never subjected to our Mythological heritage. Fantasy was given to us in the form of Disney movies, translated children stories by foreign authors and simplified versions of Arabian Nights tales in TV shows and watered down books. Growing up we got glimpses of Greek and Norse mythology through Hollywood movies and American TV shows. But almost nothing about Egyptian old tales.
In school, all they taught us about Ancient Egyptian History were the dullest, most boring aspects of it, written in the flattest manner possible. We had to go through hundreds of names of kings, dates, description of policies and wars, then we had to memorize them all just to pass the tests. They never talked about the true culture, the daily life or habits of those great old Egyptians, let alone mythology. Nothing in the books was interesting to a child or could even faintly be related to. When you left school, you were just happy to forget all about this ancient nonsense that would do nothing to help you with your modern life.
Even if you had a Dad like mine who read you stories, provided a home library full of great books and encouraged you to read everything you find, it was still so difficult to come across a good book about Egyptian mythology. Most available books about Ancient Egypt were heavy, academic styled researches by scholars. Simply, Egyptian mythology didn't come to your attention as something accessible or available to read, specially in Arabic, our mother language.
Maybe this has something to do with the Arabic religious culture and not wanting to teach children about other gods and religions, even if they were in very ancient imaginary tales. Maybe it's a cosmic conspiracy to separate Egyptians from their heritage and deprive them the advantage of knowing their history and the perspective they might gain from that. And Maybe it's the same mere ignorance and lack of care and skill that wastes every good thing in our very rich very beautiful country.
Anyway, Egyptian mythology came to my attention and occupied my mind. So I've been searching for good books to build my knowledge about it, and I did find some, in English so far. I started reading these books, and I can finally, totally, relate to the stories and feel the deep connection to my own heritage.
I'm also still looking and hoping I will find someone like me, an Egyptian who cared enough to write about these amazing tales in a simple readable form. And I'm hoping that I may be able to to write about them myself, and write stories inspired by them to express how these tales are affecting my mind and heart and how amazing it is to experience a connection with your heritage and find your own roots.