Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Beginning 346

“I am the goddess Kalypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas," I said as my mortal visitors stepped on the shore. "Ogygain is my home, my haven, which no man may see without my leave. I have allowed you to find it so that you may learn the truth of what happened when Odysseus’s god-driven wanderings brought him to my shore.”

Michael, Susanna and David glanced at each other. It was David’s drunken musings about hunting Greek legends that had lead to their trip across the Adriatic Sea. I knew they hadn’t expected to be on anything more than a pleasure cruise. But, the problem with searching for a goddess is that occasionally I want to be found.

Fears skittered across their conscious minds. That damned Homer had made them nervous. They only knew the fabrication he told. I should have struck him down rather than let him spread that atrocity.

"You believe I held the hero captive by force, don't you?" I asked them. "You believe Odysseus begged his release?

"No, my children. It took only this warm sand and soft sun to tether his wanderings. And, of course, free access to this." I let my robe fall open, revealing the sweet curves and buried treasures of my youthful, nymphic body.

"One look is all it took. Seven years later, that damn clingy archetype was still trying to prove himself bigger, better and longer-lasting than any satyr or centaur. But did he care about my feelings? Oh, no. It was all about him. 'When I slayed the Cyclops . . . when I sailed between Scylla and Charybdis . . . when I got past Helios' cattle . . . when I tricked Circe . . .' Gods, he was insufferable! I kicked his sorry ass out. Had to build the damn boat for him, but it was worth it. Now you go home and tell--uh oh. No, not again. Damn!"

The three travelers had already stripped off shoes and shirts, and pants were quickly following. Closing her robe, Kalypso frowned. It was going to be another long seven years.

Opening: King's falcon.....Continuation: phoenix


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

But fortunately, Odysseus beguiled me into following him to an anger management seminar. I thought he was dragging me to one of Dionysus' drunken shindigs :-)

Anger management as changed my life and I want these dear, overly privileged youngsters to know my joy.

--Bill Highsmith

It was Susanna who spoke first.

"Um, actually," she said, nervously twirling a lock of her hair. "I have, like, no idea who you are?"

"I am the goddess Kalypso - " I started again. "Wait. Have you not you heard of me?"

Susanna and Michael shook their heads. "We're Americans, you know," said Michael sadly. "Our public school education ain't what it used to be."

"No Child Left Behind," I said, nodding. "I have heard."

"Yeah," David said. "I wanted to study you in high school, but my teachers were totally lame."

"Ah," I said. "Well, perhaps I can school you."

"Cool!" David said, nearly squealing. "I brought my Homer!"

I rolled my eyes. "You will not be needing it. He's right here. And this time," I said, "he will be telling the truth."


"As you circle my mystical home today, you will find delights that no mortal has seen in a thousand years -- crystal blue water lapping at white sandy lagoons, ripe fruit that falls from the trees into your hands, flowers that befuddle the senses and make you too feel like gods."

I paused for a moment. They were more interested than before.

"You can purchase your own part of this paradise here at Oxygain Farms with a lovely two bedroom condo in our timeshare highrise. If you will follow me, I have a beautiful gift bag for you loaded with local Oxygainey handcrafts, which is yours right after we watch a brief power point presentation. Trust me, you will never want to leave."


If only he wasn't so cute and lovable. D'oh!


Finally michal spoke. "Ok, whatever. Here's a twenty. That should buy you some clothes."

They walked off, nervous.

My plan was working. Only a few more, and I would have enough money to have Homer Dawson killed.


“That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout,” the males declared, butting chests.

“Silence,” I demanded, waving my hand. I narrowed my eyes at the tag-a-long in the short skirt, and she stopped her cheer routine mid-clap.

I spoke again. “I first must instruct you to believe not what Homer has told you.” The males gave each other questioning looks, but I shrugged off their ignorance. “I should have never allowed him to spread his false truths. I have been stewing over the whole thing for thousands of years.”

Susanna opened her mouth to speak, but, knowing she had just completed that freshman Psych class, I silenced her with a smoldering look.

I paced as I spat each syllable. “Homer has profited greatly from what some have declared the greatest classic of all time, a work that is completely unprecedented, a marvel to behold. You mortals can walk into any Book Barn and purchase these lies, still turning profit today, bound in leather and hawked as fiction. However, you have been led astray, for this fiction is not fact…”

Susanna eagerly raised her hand, jumping around like that know-it-all Athena used to do at the Untied Worlds War Conferences.

Pushing back my urge to strike her down for interrupting, I waved my hand. “Speak,” I said.

“Um, technically, fiction isn’t factual, that’s nonfiction you’re thinking of.”

This gave me pause. “OOOhhh,” I said. “OK, ‘cuz I thought he was trying to pass that off as…”

“Oh, no,” Susanna said, shaking her head.

“Oh, Ok,” I said sheepishly. “Ah, are you guys all right to cruise back on your own, or should I call a ferry?


jjdebenedictis said...

Everything in this is telling, rather than showing, and it sounds like Kalypso is about to do a bunch more telling.

There is also no tension, and the premise so far is a pretty obvious authorial trick: the humans are there because the writer would have no story if they weren't there.

I am sorry; I would not keep reading. The quality of the writing itself is good, but this is poor storytelling.

Nancy Beck said...

I liked this a lot, but then I took a CD "course" from The Teaching Company on Ancient Mythology (mostly Greek myths), so I might be biased in that way. :-)

This sounds like fun.

Of course I'd read on!


Bernita said...

For some reason, I want to replace "said" in the first sentence with "intoned."

Evil Editor said...

More importantly, let's replace "lead" in the second paragraph with "led," and move "only" after "knew" in the third paragraph.

none said...

I can't help feeling that "The problem with searching for a goddess is that occasionally I want to be found" would make a better opening line for this piece. It draws me in more than the existing opening, anyway, and hints at good stuff to come.

Robin S. said...

I agree with buffy on the line -
it would make a good opening. It stood out when reading your opening - really good.

Some really good continuations here as well.

EE - you were on a 'word tear' today, weren't you? You beat the hell out of Spelling/Grammar Check with Word (the lead - led thing...
I just wrote "I was lead form the room." and hit spell/grammar check. It passed me with flying colors, even though I constantly type form rather than from, because, uh, I can't type.)

Anonymous said...

I get confused with the POV here.

We're in Kalypso's head in the first para. In the second we start with Michael, Susanna and David, and it seems we're in their shared remembrance of what has already happened for the "It was David's drunken musings ..." line. But no, we're still in Kalypso's head because the next line shows she knows why they have come. Why and how? Does she read minds? Does she randomly tune into people's drunken conversations in countries across the sea and doesn't that give her information glut? It doesn't make sense to me.

The same thing happens in para 3. "Fears skittered across their conscious minds" seems to be an omniscient narrator but the next sentence is Kalypso's so I guess she can read minds? If so, make that plain ("I could see fear skittering across their pathetic little minds...") If not, you need to work on a wandering POV.

writtenwyrdd said...

This could be a good story, and I would have read on. But I agree that if you started with "occasionally I want to be found" you'd have a better opening.

Bonnie said...

I'm not sure on this one. I like the way you handle the opening, but Kalypso comes across as a manipulative bitch that I don't really want to spend time on an island with. If it's going to be in her head -- well, I'd read on to see if there's going to be any good sex to make it worth the trouble.

I agree about changing the opening line.

Unknown said...

There were some great continuations. Freddie’s had me laughing out loud. We had a similar discussion on over whether people would know who Atlas was.

Thank you for all the comments and work on the continuations.

I can move that line up. It makes a lot of sense to do so.

On the POV, Kalypso is the Goddess of Concealment. In mythology she knows the Secret of Life. I took a great deal of leave with what being the “Goddess of Concealment” means. So yes, she can and does read their thoughts. She knows about David’s idea in the dorm because she gave it to him. The Goddess of Concealment line is in the next paragraph. I probably should move it up too.

Michael and Susanna are her decedents and David has Odysseus’s soul. She needs them to understand what happened so they can make their own choices.

Bonnie, why does Kalypso come across as a "manipulative bitch" for you?

It's also a short story and not a novel.

Bonnie said...

Uh, mainly because she dragged them across several oceans to do some trivial task for her. Plus throwing all the Homerian language around and then dissing Homer didn't sit too well.

Plus I'm in a snarky mood today :)

Unknown said...


Snarky is good. I miss Miss. Snark.

Thanks for the clarification.