Sunday, May 22, 2011

Because I'm Going Through Old Shit

Another school project, this time for The Odyssey.

Odysseus; my Odysseus- my only son, the love of my life, taken from me. Driven to war, to defending his pride and his honor, and now-though the war is over, the Greeks victorious- he still wanders the mighty court of Earthshaker Poseidon. My poor Odysseus- I fear troubles far beyond a normal man’s capacity have befell him and his fleet. I can only hope that his incredible wit and bravery can pull him through these troubles.
My name is Anticlea- I am wife to Laertes, mother to Odysseus. It has been seven years since the Trojan war was ended and Odysseus sent on his way back home- I spend my days in silence, staring out at the sparkling blue ocean and waiting for the day when a white mast will poke above the horizon and bring my son home safely.
Laertes is no comfort- he dresses only in rags, and has refused to see me for days- I think he figures this was somehow my fault, that I could have done something to stop Odysseus from leaving. Oh, men- they can never see their own folly. Instead, they blame it on us women.
            Every day, I go to the market in search of gossip, of any news on my Odysseus. Oh, the tales I have heard! Of monsters, and storms, and the wrath of a god! My poor Odysseus, always favored by the all-loving gods and goddesses of Olympus, held accountable for a deed he couldn’t have avoided! I’ve heard stories spun of hurricanes and typhoons and horrible Lastrigonians- but most of all, of a Cyclops, Polythemus, taking my poor Odysseus and his crew and holding them hostage, of bloodshed and eventually, Odysseus’s cleverness as their savior.
I’ve heard such stories- and yet, my Odysseus hasn’t returned! How much trouble and pain can one mortal possibly endure before cracking? I can’t even imagine.

            The morning dawned as brightly as any other- the sun was shining over the deep blue sea, making it sparkle and shine like a sapphire. However bright it shined, I would never again see it as a thing of great beauty and mystery- to me, it was a monster. A monster working to destroy my Odysseus.
I stepped outside into the sunshine, shielding my eyes from its brilliance. Once they had adjusted to the light, my eyes beheld a peculiar sight. Up the rocky path from the village shuffled a stooped old man, a stranger I had never seen around the market before. He walked slowly, painfully, and I hurried to help him up the path to our house. Zeus Thunderer has taught us mortals of the rules of hospitality, and it would not be right to ignore them now, though my poor heart still aches for my son.

“Thank you, kind madam,” he said once I had him seated at our dining table. I smiled sadly and placed a platter of peasant meat in front of him, the best I could offer since Laertes had stopped working. He ate it gratefully, and when he was finished I cleaned up after him. As was custom, I waited until he had finished his wine and sat back contentedly to inquire after his name.
“My name is Athanasius. I come from lands far from Ithaca- lands I do not think you would have heard of. I am very glad for your hospitality- you should be rewarded. Is there anything you desire?”
Odysseus, my heart screamed, but I was not about to trouble this strange old man with my grieving- just because depression was my only companion for now does not mean I should bring down others’ happiness.
“Well, Athanasius, my son… you see, he went off to fight honourably in the Trojan War, but he- he hasn’t returned yet,” I said hesitantly.
He nodded knowingly. “You want news of him, am I correct?”
I hung my head meekly. “I hope it isn’t too much to ask of you… I just want to know if you’ve heard anything. My son… his name is—“
“Odysseus.” I gasped involuntarily. “Yes! Have you--?” I trailed off expectantly, my eyes shining, watching his every move. He sighed heavily.
“Your son, Odysseus, is with Circe, the witch goddess, on her island. Against his will, I’m sure,” he added hastily, seeing my look of shock and misinterpreting it as horror that he would forget Penelope and have an affair with a goddess. All I could see was blackness- I felt dizzy, and had to grab onto a chair to steady myself.
“H-he’s alive?” I said breathily, grasping at the only good news this tragedy brought. Athanasius nodded, watching my face warily.
“Is he going to be okay?” I asked desperately.
“That is for the gods to decide- I’m sure they’re doing the best that they can. Now, miss, I’m sorry to intrude on your hospitality for so long- I should be going.”
“Oh! Oh, if you’re sure…” I snapped out of my daze long enough to help him out of his chair. Athanasius hobbled across the room, pausing at the door long enough to look back and offer one last condolence.
“May the gods be with you.” He walked out of the threshold and shimmered, disappearing. I gasped again, clutching my hand to my chest. “Of course,” I breathed, wondering how I hadn’t seen it before. Athanasius- meaning immortal. Names were powerful- a god had just visited me.

The next couple of days were the worst of my life. Depression seemed to haunt me at every corner, and I wasn’t the only one. Laertes, after hearing my news, seemed to sink farther into his own sadness, and in doing so, he shrank even further away from me, the only comfort he might have in these lonely days.  

Now, I fear things are getting even worse. I have not heard any gossip, not even the wildest of stories- stories that I have now come to believe as true- and I fear for my Odysseus’s life. Without him, I’m not sure what I’d do. Thinking of his return and hearing of his travels is the only joy I had, with Laertes so far gone, and the gods have seen fit to keep even that bereft of me.

My appetite seems to have fled with my joy- I haven’t eaten in days, and I can feel myself growing weaker and weaker. I know I should eat, but I feel like denying that pleasure will somehow even the score with the gods and send my Odysseus back to me. I do nothing all day- nothing but stare at the ocean, with its endless tides and rippling waves, and send prayers to the gods to help my plight.
I long for Odysseus, for my son, to return home. I know not how long I can go on doing so- my body seems to betray me, and normal actions like walking or moving around seem as impossible as shifting a boulder. Even so, I am not worried- if I die, perhaps one day I will be reunited with my son, my Odysseus, once more; but for now and always, I wait.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Because I Haven't Been Here in Ages. Penis.

And also because my schoolwork is draining every inch of my creativity so that the only witty or thought-provoking things that appear in my brain are barely long enough for a Facebook status that nobody will appreciate, here is a story I wrote as a project for school a while back, where we had to describe a utopian society using animals. Like Animal Farm. Because it was an Animal Farm project.
Just kidding. I only have the first part on here. So here's a section. That nobody will read anyway.

Rolling hills covered in lush green grass stretched out as far as the eye could see. May gazed out at the fields in wonder, as she did every morning. Waking up to the same view everyday was in itself a new experience, an experiment with stability, security and happiness.
May couldn't remember the time before she was brought to Crystal Lake. All she could recollect were feelings of despair, loneliness, and fear. But that was all behind her now. Besides, she shouldn't even be thinking of that kind of stuff. Rule number one: forget.
Getting to her hooves, May blinked her great brown eyes slowly and set about her routine. Rule number two: memorize. Each cow at Crystal Lake had one job, and one job only. There was a strict policy about this; any cow attempting another job without written permission from another cow announcing they'd switch duties would be publicly reprimanded. This was the worst punishment one could receive at Crystal Lake, and it had been issued only twice in May's lifetime; once when Harold the educator tried to administer to a cow during childbirth, and once when Serena was caught conversing with a wild fox that lived in a den nearby. That was rule number three: quiet!
The cows of Crystal Lake did not interact with any of the other creatures in the land, not that there were many nearby. The other animals had their wars, their silly power struggles, their complex systems of government. Speaking with other animals would only result radical, dangerous ideas, ideas that could jeopardize the safety and serenity of their community. In the Crystal Lake, every cow lived by one mantra: “Only in simplicity is there peace.” This was the unspoken rule number four.
Life in Crystal Lake was carefree, but very structured. The day began at sunrise, when the cows set off to do their various jobs. There were educators, who spent their days teaching the cows nearing maturity what job they would have; calf -rearers, whose job was to watch and feed all of the calves at Crystal Lake; doctors, who administered herbal remedies to cows who fell ill; funeral directors, who were responsible for conducting the funeral when a cow passed away and taking care of the body (deceased cows were pushed off the cliff that bordered the fields to the east and into the sea; that way the bodies would not contaminate the grass); and May's own job, field tender. Her duties consisted of observing the field, making note of the weather, and letting the cows know when they needed to graze elsewhere.
After a few minutes of quiet ruminations, May meandered towards the bank of the lake, nodding hello to all of her friends as she passed by. The herd all met at the edge of the lake in the morning to greet the sun and prepare for the day. Even the smallest of calves, quivering with youthful energy, could understand and appreciate the beauty of the rising sun. Then they would commence the workday, same as any other, and at 6:00 they would reconvene at the lake, and the field tenders would announce the grazing spot for the day. For two hours they would graze in silence, for there was absolutely no talking unless necessary during grazing. Then there would be one hour for socializing before bed.
This hour of socialization was rarely utilized by any of the cows at Crystal Lake. They found they often had little to talk about. This lack of conversation didn't bother anyone, however, because they all could see by the examples set by the other animals that talking led to discontent, and discontent led to war.
The timetable of the day was never actually enforced, as there were no taskmaster cows, but most cows stuck to it anyway. The lack of leadership in Crystal Lake, too, was for the best. The nature of power was to want more power, and when that kind of greed was introduced to a community, even a rather peaceful, simple community, it corrupted the goodwill of the citizens, a quick-acting poison spreading through their veins. As a result, everyone in Crystal Lake was absolutely, irrevocably equal, from the lowest, scrawniest calf to the toughest bull.
The sun peeked above the horizon, as if checking to see if it was safe to come out. May loved this time of day most of all. The silence, solidarity of the stately sunrise always amazed her, even more so than the dazzling array of colors and blinding light. She let out a low moo, and, to her delight, every other cow around her joined in, a huddled bovine mass greeting the new day as one. May watched with awe as the sun slowly rose, flooding the plains with color.
The herd began to scatter, setting off to do their work. May headed towards the platform by the lake, reserved for field tenders to observe the plains. As she trotted over, she made sure to bow her head in reverence to the stone placed squarely in the path of the rising sun, in a way that it was the first thing graced by the rays of the sun in the morning and the last to lose their embrace in the evening. On the smooth flagstone their manifesto was engraved in flowery capital letters- “Only in simplicity is there peace”- and every cow was supposed to pay their respects as they passed.