After the Roman deities swallowed the Greeks who came before,
only to find themselves swallowed by the Crucified God in turn…
After Olympus finally fell into disrepair and myth…
Athena—now shacked up with the last remaining Vestal
snuck one night into the clubfoot god’s cobwebbed smithy.
Found and filched the tool she sought.
Standing over her father’s bed, she matched her breathing to his rattling chest.
Thought: “his hand looks small without lightning in his fist.”
Then: “can’t make an omelet without—”
And brought the hammer—cracking—
On me and my mythologies:
I have been writing and rewriting my own versions of Greek mythology for as long as I can remember. Ever since my mother told me bedtime stories cribbed [and heavily sanitized!] from her dog-eared copy of Bulfinch’s.
Until recently, the mythological figure I have felt deepest affinity for is Cassandra: the cursed prophet disbelieved by all who heard her true foretellings. That she continued to speak at all amazes me. How much denial can one person withstand before she withdraws into herself, acquiscent to the claims from everyone around her that she is surely mad? (“Poetic-sounding, perhaps—but undeniably cuckoo!”) How long before she believes them more than she trusts her own god-gift?
When I have written in Cassandra’s voice, she has always felt to me both resigned to her fate and utterly detached from the world. Prophet as dankest fatalism personified.
Against this backdrop, then, I find it interesting—and perhaps encouraging?—that my interests have been shifting more and more towards Athena*. The motherless Goddess of Wisdom, who sprang fully grown from her father’s mind.
The last time she appeared in this blog, she had more than a touch of Cassandra about her; the Muses, in that version, had chosen to edit her story for posterity rather than reveal certain undesirable truths. I gotta say, I’m really grooving on the Athena who showed up to my pen tonight: raw, unapologetic, willing and able to take action** when even clichéd words fail her.
I foresee more adventures with her in my future.
♦ ♦ ♦
*This in no way changes the fact that I still really, realllly want to write a story in which Cassandra attends a writer’s critique group—and everybody praises her memoir as “a great fantasy novel!”
**Still, tho. Don’t smash people in the head with hammers.