Goodbye (and good riddance) to a year of Decembers!
Wishing you some much-needed Aprils, Junes, and Augusts in 2021
December in the Northern Hemisphere brings the longest and darkest nights of the year. For many, it’s a cold month of forced isolation. And so, in many ways, 2020 has felt like an entire year of Decembers.
A year ago at this time, in December 2019, we were all looking forward to a clean slate of a year, oblivious to what 2020 had in store. I had been working on a sci-fi book and a new Greek mythology project, both of which had already been several years in the making. My modus operandi as an author has been to make steady progress with an overabundance of revision on projects that stay private for years at a time until I dub them complete, and then to move on to something new. If 2020 has had a silver lining for me, it's been a liberation from this process.
Mythoversal started as a lockdown project. Trapped in a house with society closed down all around, I turned the first chapter of my novel-in-progress into a series of poems. Although I’m reluctant to call them “poems,” since most lack meter or a rhyme scheme. These are “verses” by format, “chapters” by structure, or “word-blobs” until I find a more accurate term.
Given the times, it seemed appropriate to type my word-blobs on an ancient typewriter, Old Elsie, that had already seen a decade of use by the 1918 Flu Pandemic. I started a website and released a new word-blob each week. I have not missed a single Sunday update in what has become the longest run of regularly scheduled on-time weekly publishing of my life, so . . . 2020 for the win!
Throughout 2020, I also did more research. I read more books. I picked up video editing and streaming skills. And week by week, the Mythoversal Project began to take shape. It’s still taking shape, even as we enter 2021. Like the unfinished manuscripts on my laptop at the start of 2020, the Mythoversal Project has not yet become the thing it’s one day destined to be. But unlike those old projects, thanks to this Year of Decembers, the Mythoversal Project is taking shape in a public space.
The first chapter of my old project has become Run!, 17 word-blobs introducing Pyrrha, a Bronze Age Theban teen who encounters a supernatural force during the plague described by Sophocles in Oedipus Rex. I'm planning another section of this story for 2021.
The first chapter of the Posthomerica of Quintus has become Amazons!, restoring some of the strong female characters who were erased when a vast section of Epic Cycle between the Iliad and Odyssey fell out of fashion. 10 word-blobs are public, an additional 17 are available to subscribers, and some 50 or so are in need of revision. I'm planning to also retell Quintus’s second chapter, which brings an Ethiopian army into the Trojan War.
I've begun retelling the Iliad as Rage!, which is 8 word-blobs in so far. Like the Sophocles story, this one also starts with a plague. In fact, both of these ancient stories use plagues as indicators of a problem in the social structure. And in both of these stories, actions taken to dispel the plague provide the conflict that drives the plot, which makes them topical as well as timely.
And speaking of time, our calendar will soon flip to January, beginning the return of daylight to the Northern Hemisphere. Spring is still months away, but earlier dawns and later dusks will mark our daily progress toward longer, warmer, and brighter days.
January is a month of hope, and my hope is that 2021 brings a year of new beginnings, much-needed renewal, and carefree summer months for us all.
Stay warm, myth readers!