Upcoming: Protectress reading at SMOLFair, 21 March 2022
Join me on Zoom for a reading and a book and swag giveaway on Monday, March 21, 2022 from 8-9 pm Central.
Protectress places the mythical gorgons in the modern world, where Athena, pumped up by all of the people who blame women for being raped, who slut-shame women who wear and do what they want, and who think that men are always right, is trying to drive Medusa to suicide. Medusa, you ask. Isn’t she dead? She and her sisters managed to fool Perseus, but now Medusa’s happy life as a college professor is upended by Athena’s new negative energy, and the gorgons host a party of goddesses, nymphs, and others from myth to try to figure out how to bring Athena around to a more compassionate stance. Protectress is about rape culture, about the concept of the “heroic,” about solidarity, and about collaboration. It’s also got sea monsters, a dragon, several wars, lots of good dogs, and magic.
Here’s another little excerpt:
[Here] comes Perseus
and his idiotic mirror and sword
sent by Athena
through Polydectes to silence
her screaming former priestess.
Did you know, asks Stheno,
that his name comes from perthein:
to sack, to waste, to ravage?
Euryale snorts. Typical,
crushing the claws of a wolf
between her fingertips
for a healing plaster,
given that his whole life has
to controlling women.
She makes a gesture meaning,
everywhere, just look around you.
His mother, our sisters,
He’ll use your head as a weapon,
Stheno tells Medusa.
He won’t get it, she replies, hoarse-voiced but resolute.
And so in an all-nighter
to dwarf every all-nighter since,
the sisters put their healing arts
to devious ends.
Stheno makes a mask
of her sister’s lovely face,
while Euryale draws forth from the
sea a slithering of serpents
full of toxins.
The Graeae, themselves full of wrath
at the arrogant Perseus for stealing their eye,
make a special sisterly visit,
applying the attributes of their names
to the head:
alarm, horror, dread.
Stheno provides a bodily shape for Perseus to swing at; Euryale drops the head at his feet.
While it will turn a few unlucky men to stone,
the prouder Perseus becomes of his kill,
the more he displays his gorgon’s head,
the more—Euryale snickers—
impotent he will become.
Thus Perseus fooled, three gorgons,
immortal but bruised, angry, and tired,
plan a passage away from the locus of Medusa’s anguish.