Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Holidays!

My gift to all of you this fabulous season: Santa Herc and his steadfast companion, the Nemean Reinlion! Have a Happy Holiday, Friends and Followers!

You can thank Mr.  Z. Tringali for putting together this particular masterpiece of holiday cheer for us!
(Original from wiki commons, by Rufus46.)

I'll be back January 2nd for the No-Kiss Blogfest

Friday, December 09, 2011

History Happened Here

from Wiki commons, by Wolfgang Sauber
I've been thinking about Eiriksstadir a lot. In part because I picture my orcs living in a very similar climate to Iceland* (shocking, I know). And in part because I really would like to see it with my own eyes one day. It seems like it would be a powerful experience, whether Erik the Red actually lived there or not. There is something tremendous about standing somewhere which housed someone so many years ago -- and someone so different, part of something so completely other from what we know. And the more I look at pictures of Eiriksstadir, the more I can't help but dream stories for the people who lived in the same manner.

I grew up in the Northeast United States, and when you drive down the Interstates in New York, there are all these "history happened here" sites and placards. Almost every major rest area has one, giant, blue and gold. Some incidental something related to the revolutionary war, or the civil war, or some other piece of American history that I just can't get excited about, because there is nothing to see. There is no lasting impression, no mark upon the earth, just some words on a sign. And sure, the building of Eiriksstadir has been rebuilt and reconstructed, but there was enough left to SPEAK of what was, and some one took the time to give it more than just words on a sign, to bring it back to life.

Europeans lived so much harder on the earth. They left footprints and dug themselves deep. Comparatively, America is just a child, and the people who lived in America before the Europeans came, lived so much more lightly. No matter how hard New York State tries, it is just never going to have the depth of history that a place like Iceland does -- just as Iceland will never have the depth of history of Greece.

from wiki commons
I've never left the United States, but the only history I have ever loved has been outside of it. The only history that has ever felt ALIVE to me, is long, long dead. And I want to walk the earth and know that with every step I take, history happened, so thick in the air, in the ground, that it would not be possible to mark it all with signposts.

Also, Eiriksstadir just looks cool. Turf houses in general just look cool!
*There is an AWESOME picture of Eiriksstadir in the snow at this blog. And when I think of Orcs living on mountains, it is almost exactly what I picture in my head.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Daughters of Ares

Yesterday morning I read a blogpost over yonder at Firefly Willows about Mars. It's kind of a reflection on what Play might mean to him, and that aspect of his character, and all I could think about was how much I kind of gloss over Ares in my head.* What do I really know about the character of Ares, or his personality? How do I think he plays? Off the top of my head, I would say hard. A god of war seems like he would definitely play hard, and for keeps, too, but I couldn't think of any myths to back up my impressions.

Ludovisi Ares from Wiki Commons
So I did some brief research, which led me to a fascinating discovery. Ares has daughters!

It was while I was writing Helen that I wondered about how many sons the gods had in their affairs. It seemed like everyone had sons, and the reason that Helen was so sought after was in part because she was a rarity. I'm not sure I know anyone who can name another demi-god daughter of Zeus off the top of their heads, and according to Theoi, he only has two: Helen and Herophile (of Libya).**

In contrast, Ares is named as the father of the entirety of the Amazons, and several of their most important leaders in particular (Penthesileia, Hippolyta, and Antiope!) as well as a Queen (Thrassa) of another tribe, and an Athenian girl (Aklippe), who doesn't seem to be of much consequence at all, except for her rape and Ares' murder of the man who did it. Ares fathered and re-fathered an entire people of women!

So what does this tell us about Ares? Maybe it meant he wasn't quite as virile as Zeus, who never once shot a blank, and his only failing was producing two girls out of the 50 named demi-god children (Ares has 30). But maybe it also says something else -- maybe it says Ares wasn't ashamed of the girls he fathered. Certainly it's a rare thing to hear about a god killing a man for raping his daughter. Helen is raped at least twice, and Zeus doesn't so much as grumble. He used her outright to start a war that would result in the deaths of most everyone she ever knew or cared about, in fact. Maybe it says that Ares believed in his daughters, no matter how great or how lowly. Perhaps the god of war had a soft spot for women -- and not only for the pleasure he could take from them, but for their overlooked strengths.

But what else would you expect from the father of the Amazons?

*I can't really see how Mars and Ares could be considered as two separate entities, personally, but I know there are differences, where Mars has his own Roman myths alongside those the Greeks gave to Ares. Not unlike Hercules and Heracles.

** there is also Keroessa, but she's possibly a nymph, not a mortal, so I don't think that counts.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Brief Return to Blogging

Because there are more holidays around the corner, and there isn't really a lot of point in blogging to an empty room during the Christmas rush-- but I am back! For the moment. Things are really up in the air on my side of the computer, and mostly there's a lot of finger-crossing going on (seriously, cramped fingers from crossing them so hard), so I'm not sure how LONG I'm back for-- maybe two weeks, maybe just today. If we do have some upheaval, it will be for a great reason, so have no fear! I'll return to the blog bigger, better, and stronger.

In the meantime (and just in case I don't get another chance to mention it) be sure to head over to Frankie's blog and sign up for the 3rd annual No-Kiss Blogfest! I have officially signed myself up and I'll probably go through and pick out a suitable scene tonight. Between Pirithous and Bolthorn I think I have plenty of fodder, and I can't wait to read the other contributions!

I'm digging into another round of revisions on Postcards from Asgard this week, and hopefully I'll be able to get it back out the door again in January. And by then, I hope I'll have some preliminary feedback on the Orc Romance from a few early eyes so I can get into revisions there, too. The second half of November really got away from me, with the two weeks away for the Thanksgiving-Family-Palooza. Working in a house full of siblings, with a new niece and a toddler nephew really was kind of an unrealistic expectation, but I hadn't expected it would be as busy as it was!

I hope all is well with you, blogfriends, and I am wishing you a wonderful winter, if winter actually ever decides to show up this year.