Escape

Friday and the first work “week” of the new year is coming to an end. This week has been kind of crazy from start to finish–a lot of stuff got crammed into the last three days, believe you me–and starting off-balance to begin with (result of the weird work weeks of the last two weeks with the extended weekends) wasn’t a good thing. I think I am getting everything back in balance, and I am really hoping I’ll be back on top of things and my usual Gregalicious self soon.

I’ve been off-balance now for quite some time; a lot of it has to do with the day job move and its aftermath and after-effects. Add in a trip to Kentucky, the holidays, and the Great Data Disaster of 2018; there’s your recipe for an off-balance Gregalicious. But I managed to get some things done, I managed to get some work done on the books, and now I am going to try to get myself settled back into the new normal.

So, of course last night was a shitty night’s sleep and this morning i feel like crap. My sinuses are also acting up (thank you, cool damp weather!), and I had gone to bed with high hopes of powering through today and getting caught up and getting a handle on the things I don’t feel like I have a handle on–which is everything. I need to get organized, make a list of what I need to get down with notes on how to get them done, and take control.

But I don’t feel good.

Ah, it’s only forty-eight degrees outside at the moment; which is why it feels so cold in the Lost Apartment and probably part of the reason why I don’t feel so hot. I’ve also had a toothache most of the week.

I’ve been watching this interesting series on Prime called Great Greek Myths, and every single episode I think this is not how I remember this myth! But of course, Greek mythology had to be sanitized in order to be taught to children! The gods of Olympus were always petty, even in the sanitized versions, but wow–the way the myths are told on this show–they are even more petty than I would have ever dreamed. Also, this show goes into more detail about homosexual relationships amongst the gods, particularly with beautiful human males, which makes it even more interesting for me.

But hopefully I can get everything done today that I need to get done by powering through it all, and maybe even get a good night’s sleep tonight. There’s a lot I want to get done on this first football-free weekend of the year…and without football to distract me from everything else I should be okay.

And on that note, I’m going to get some more coffee and head back down into the spice mines.

198922_100357216839065_672095647_n

How Do You Talk To An Angel

I’ve always loved Greek mythology.  Reading Greek myths is one of my earliest childhood reading memories (others include Scholastic book catalogues, The Children’s Bible, World Book Encyclopedia, etc.); and I have mentioned before that I would love to write a novel of the Trojan War. Mark Merlis’ brilliant An Arrow’s Flight is one of my favorite gay novels of all time. I also loved Mary Renault’s novels based on Greek myths (The King Must Die, The Bull from the Sea) as much as I loved the ones based on Greek history. And of course, I love love LOVE Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and the sequel series, The Lost Hero.

But Madeline Miller’s Circe…it’s just amazing. Absolutely amazing.

circe

When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.

My mother was one of them, a naiad, guardian of fountains and streams. She caught my father’s eye when he came to visit the halls of her own father, Oceanos. Helios and Oceanos were often at each other’s tables in those days. They were cousins, and equal in age, though they did not look it. My father glowed bright as just-forged bronze, while Oceanos has been born with rheumy eyes and a white beard to his lap. Yet they were both Titans, and preferred each other’s company to those new-squeaking gods upon Olympus who had not seen the making of the world.

Oceanos’ palace was a great wonder, set deep in the earth’s rock. Its high-arched halls were gilded, the stone floors smoothed by centuries of divine feet. Through every room ran the faint sound of Oceanos’ river, source of the world’s fresh waters, so dark you could not tell where it ended and the rock-bed began. On its banks grew grass and soft gray flowers, and also the unencumbered children of Oceanos, naiads and nymphs and river-gods. Otter-sleek, laughing, their faces bright against the dusky air, they passed golden goblets among themselves and wrestled, playing games of love. In their midst, outshining all that lily beauty, sat my mother.

The one upside to being sick is it gave me the chance to finish reading Circe. 

It’s…incredible, marvelous, a joy to read and truly exceptional.

It is just as good as The Song of Achilles, her first novel, as beautifully written and lovingly told, and like Achilles, the end of Circe also made me weepy.

Miller, who holds both a BA and MA in Classics from Brown, writes absolutely beautifully. Like Renault, she is able to capture the magical music of words, so that the prose reads like a poem, a song, something the bards would sing around the fire in the houses in Athens, Sparta, Corinth or Thebes. Like Circe herself, Miller weaves a magical spell over her readers, draws them into this stunningly beautiful world where gods sometimes appear to mortals and intervene in their lives.

An unliked, ignored daughter of the sun god, shunned by her fellow nymphs and siblings, Circe grows up an outsider. She doesn’t have the voice of an immortal; the others complain about her screeching voice–it isn’t until much later that she discovers that she actually has the voice of a mortal, which is why the gods cannot abide it. She soon discovers power in plants and in words; she falls in love with a mortal and uses her knowledge to turn him into a god. But once she does this, he spurns her for another nymph, and she goes out in search of more powerful plants, ones that were grown out of the blood of a dead titan. She then transforms her rival into the monstrous beast Scylla, and is punished by being put in exile on the island of Aiaia, where she lives alone and becomes even more powerful by practicing her witchcraft.

She is present when her sister Pasiphae gives birth to the Minotaur; she knows Daedalus and his son, Icarus. Jason and her niece Medea stop on her island for her help in escaping her brother, Medea’s father. Odysseus and his men eventually arrive, and Circe’s life and destiny are changed forever. I won’t go any further than that, for fear of spoiling the story.

Circe is a story about finding strength in yourself when you are despised; of learning to trust in your own strength and power, and that even the most despised is worthy of strength and character and, most of all, love.

It’s beautiful and powerful and moving.

I cannot wait for Madeline Miller’s next book. I do hope she writes about Medea next.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Tuesday and my second long day of the week; just like last week, Mondays and Tuesdays coming in as long days. When we move into our new building in October (I am still in denial about that) my schedule will probably be long days on Monday and Tuesday every week, so I am trying to get used to it ahead of time. I wasn’t tired at all yesterday; but remember, Sunday I was drained and worn out from the game Saturday night and went to bed relatively early that night. I’m not necessarily tired today, but more a little on the drained side. Hopefully, I won’t be too tired to finish editing/revising two Scotty chapters tonight when I get home from work.

If so, I’ll try to read some more of Circe. I hate that it’s taking me this long to read it! Not an indication of its quality, people! Buy it! Read it! Savor it!

I’ve always loved Greek mythology, ever since I was a kid and I read a library book, when I was about eight or nine, called The Windy Walls of Troy. I’ve also always wanted to write about the Trojan War; it’s a tale I’ve always loved, and one I have always wanted to try my hand at telling. (Which is why the Troy: Fall of a City series on Netflix was so disappointing; as was the Brad Pitt film Troy.)  I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a y/a set during the last year of the war; the part that the Iliad primarily focuses on, from the point of view of one of Priam’s bastard sons, promised to the priesthood of Apollo and raised in the temple, but still a part of the royal family. (I’ve also tried tracking down a copy of The Windy Walls of Troy, to no avail.) Madeline Miller also covered the Trojan War with The Song of Achilles, one of my favorite novels of this century; it made me weep, and I kind of want to read it again, now that I am enjoying her Circe. She did a really interesting job of weaving the gods and demigods into her narrative; how does one write about the Trojan War without including the gods? My thought, of course, was to try to do it as real, without the gods actually appearing in the story, but rather things that happen being seen as their work. But how do you do the Judgment of Paris without the golden apple and the three vindictive, spiteful, jealous goddesses?

Something to think about, at any rate.

I’m also having a lot of fun doing some slight research into the history of both New Orleans and Louisiana; I had another book idea the other night as a result of a Twitter conversation with Clair Lamb and Rebecca Chance (so it’s THEIR fault), but I think it actually applies and will fit into a paranormal series I want to write set in rural Louisiana in the parish I invented, Redemption Parish–doesn’t that just sound like a perfect name for a parish where supernatural stuff happens? It’s a matter of tying in all the stories and things I’ve already written set there…it also occurred to me the other night that even the novels and stories I write that aren’t connected to others actually are–I realized that my character Jerry Channing, who appears in the Scotty series AND appeared in The Orion Mask, also writes for Street Talk magazine and that awful editor who Mouse worked for originally in Timothy, which ties Timothy to the Scotty series as well. I always thought Timothy was the one book that stood on its own…not so much, as it turns out.

And now back to the spice mines.

36222748_1869197803374454_7295939582271422464_o