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The Daughters of Zeus (5)

They trickled in, but they didn’t trickle out.

With so many roommates, it can get crowded: all nine of ’em coming in and going out at all hours without so much as a by-your-leave, painting their nails, washing their stockings in my hand-basin, and eating me out of house and home (while having the cheek to criticize my choice of canned beans, on their toast). And then, there’s the eternal bickering, which never resolves anything, and usually ends in expletives that are best left deleted: “Hoity-toity Euti!” and  “Terp the twerp!” are mild examples.

I wrote by watching the characters and reporting what they said and did, but sometimes they didn’t feel like entertaining a guest. They’d lock the doors and windows to their dwelling, and put up the shutters or pull down the shades. I’d prowl the perimeter, just barely hearing the murmur of voices, or catching a glimpse of the action as one of them slipped into or out of the door. Then I’d come back and start typing, but some Muse would look over my shoulder, and say, “No, that’s not what happened.”

“No, that’s not what happened.”

“No, that’s not what happened.”

One day, I got fed up. “A whole lot of help you guys are! I oughta call the Sheriff and evict the lot of you! Then I’ll find my own Muse. Maybe a male, like the one Stephen King said he has.”

thalia

Thalia

melpomene

Melpomene

Thalia said, “Oh, that one!” She laughed. “He’s – ”

“Shut up, Thal,” Melpomene growled.

I asked, “Is he your brother?”

For the time of about two deep breaths, all I heard were the scrape of Calliope’s quill on a scroll, and the swish of meteoroids through the air (Urania was juggling). Then Euterpe said, “We … uh … don’t have any brothers.”

“Just brothers-in-law,” Terpsichore said.

Thalia said, “Ex brothers-in-law, you mean! Like Mel’s – ”

“I said, shut up!” Melpomene shrieked.

“You have no sense of humor!” Thalia sang.

“You bet I don’t! And you have no sense, at all! Like when you took up with -”

“Oh, come on!” Thalia snapped. “That’s over with!”

Melpomene snorted. “Look who’s lost her sense of humor, now!”

Polyhymnia sighed and shook her head.

“That’s history!” Thalia squealed.

Erato snickered and rolled her eyes.

“That’s right,” Clio said. “I can quote chapter and verse on every one of you – and your histories.”

The quill quit scratching, and the meteoroids hit the floor with the sound of randomly bouncing basketballs. For the next three days, the Muse on duty wouldn’t speak if another Muse passed through the room.

To be continued…. 

©2014 – 2016 Christine Plouvier. All Rights Reserved.

You can find the artist of the Daughters of Zeus here.

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The Daughters of Zeus (4)

Weeks became months, and then years, while the other Daughters of Zeus trickled in.

euterpe

Euterpe

terpsichore

Terpsichore

Euterpe (Euti), the Muse of Lyric Poetry (or Music), contributed the lilts of Irish and Hiberno-English usage to the voices of the unknown narrator and the Irish characters, as well as the role of Irish traditional music throughout the book. She performed mood music during every writing session, compiled playlists of Irish trad and other numbers, and used my bedside boom box to fertilize my subconscious with music while I slept. Terpsichore (Terp), the Muse of Dance, connived with Euti to bring main character Dillon Carroll, a career journalist, unexpectedly alive as a singer and dancer, too.

Melpomene (Mel), the Muse of Tragedy, turned up during a thunderstorm that hurled the next-door neighbor’s tool shed into the top of a tree. She brought to light some traumatic events in the characters’ backgrounds, which had helped to make them into the persons they were when I met them.

polyhymnia

Polyhymnia

urania

Urania

The remaining Muses played smaller but significant roles in writing the novel. Thalia (Thal), the Muse of Comedy, collaborated with Euti on the limericks about Queen Medb of Connacht in Chapter 25, and she contributed some other moments of comic relief. Polyhymnia (Polly), the Muse of Sacred Song, helped me re-translate a favorite hymn from the German, which featured in the final chapter. Even Urania (Rani), the Muse of Astronomy, managed to get her dominion mentioned a few times, in references to the sky and stars.

To be continued…. 

©2014 – 2016 Christine Plouvier. All Rights Reserved.

You can find the artist of the Daughters of Zeus here.

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The Daughters of Zeus (3)

clio

Clio

Calliope took charge, and turned my recliner chair into her command post. She was partial to handwritten manuscripts (the briefcases she’d brought were full of scrolls and quills), so she let me keep scribbling for about six weeks, but then she told me to start typing. It turned out that I’d written about 45,000 words: all beginnings, middles, and ends of scenes.

Because Erato had arrived first, she got to decree that the story should be a romance. I didn’t read romance novels, but under Rati’s tutelage, I reinvented every romantic trope that’s ever been used, from the boy with blue eyes and the girl with green eyes, to the nice guy who finishes last.

Then Clio, the Muse of History, arrived, stately and serious, and she gave me an assignment: to remedy my 32,595-square-mile knowledge deficit, from the mists of Celtic mythology to the melodrama of the modern era. My homeschooled kids had never had it so hard.

I committed to memory the names of every Irish county (South and North), and practiced writing them in the correct places on a blank outline map of the island until I could do it in less than three minutes. I made a two-week field trip to Ireland that took me from Dublin to the shores of Connemara. I bought Irish cookbooks and cooked Irish recipes. I wrote arrangements for lap harp of tunes by Turlough O’Carolan. I acquired a collection of books, music, video discs and Gaeilge lesson recordings which rivaled that of the local public library.

To the dismay of my friends and relations, Clio transformed me into a Hiberno-anorak: I came to know more about Irish history, culture, geography, wildlife, weather, agriculture, politics, psychology, language, religion and whatever you’re having yourself, than I ever imagined knowing – and in some cases, it was more than I wanted to know.

To be continued…. 

©2014 – 2016 Christine Plouvier. All Rights Reserved.

You can find the artist of the Daughters of Zeus here.

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