Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book of Penelope Update and The Book of Helen

Wrote this for my Facebook page, but since more people read the blog, I'm posting it here.

What have I been up to? Well, writing took a back seat in the month of March and April. I am listening to the Iliad on CD and it's very well done. Additionally, hearing it, you get something of the experience of the early Greeks and how the poem was intended, and thus those vivid descriptions stay with you in a way they don't when you're... going through the marathon equivalent of words. You hear more of the side stories, they pop.

I'm also slowly reading the Odyssey. My tendency in reading, as in writing, is to race through words. Being deliberate feels very Penelope to me, hers is a pensive reflective intellect as opposed to Odysseus's crafty and often impulsive mind. They are complimentary but not entirely opposite, as both she and he enjoy riddles, games of the mind, and strategies. He just loves the accolades of revealing his brilliance to the world --hubris, whereas she finds satisfaction in trying to get the right answer.

The Problem with Penelope...

Penelope's hubris is more subtle, a conviction she can find the right answer in all situations, and that hers is the right answer. She errs toward being self satisfied by her efforts, knowing she's exhausted the options. That doesn't seem bad, and it isn't necessarily, but relying solely on one's own mind, can mean one doesn't see the options others might think of, and having full faith and credit in one's own decisions, does not mean other choices are not valid if they disagree. She's like a writer, who has to learn to hear edits and suggestions if she would make her work better than it is. (Not me you understand, but every other writer in the world--sorry, channeling Helen there for a moment).

Additionally, drawing Penelope out in words remains a challenge, as she is an introvert. She reluctantly takes the center stage, but knows what is expected of her and will perform to her utmost, whereas Helen was and remains the ultimate extroverted celebrity who wouldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want the stage in the first place, but gets that if anyone should get the stage, it should be her. Even when I'm writing about Penelope, Helen is there poking my shoulder, "Hey, what about me?" I need a character exorcism, but in the meantime, she's useful in that I just think, what would Helen do, then how would Penelope do that in contrast, it helps sharpen the story.

Last bit of writing business...

The Book of Helen is up for a critical review at on May 9th, and being reviewed by Eat Sleep Write some time in the next few weeks. I need to start looking for conventions where I can plug Helen and introduce her to others. I need to create some physical drawings from the book for display, for physical events. I'm sifting through the book to determine what scenes would convey best.

Here, we run into a little problem, as one reviewer noted, we don't know specifically what Helen looks like. That decision was deliberate on my part, as she is an archetype, and whatever we paint, will fall short, so rendering her becomes more difficult as that would stamp her for all the world. But I did have a vision of how she looked, so I'm going with that image when I draw. I'll post when Helen is satisfied with my work. I've also been told by others who do book promotions to create a short film/trailer, (except I don't know how to do that). Maybe I'll ask my teens over the summer to take this on for me.

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