My fifth novel, Enter 5-D begins with “For Eurydice Dukakis, it wasn’t supposed to happen the way that it did.” So, I thought about this line and the way that it speaks for the current era.
Often I have told people that my life was not supposed to turn out the way that it has. I wasn’t supposed to end up back at my parents’ house in a town I despise. I wasn’t supposed to still be renting apartments and houses after the age of 45. I was supposed to own my home, have published my novels, and feel empowered.
I wasn’t supposed to be sick, be tired, or feel disappointed with the road that I walk.
And others who live in vans or cars could say the same thing. People going through a divorce after once saying the words, “Until death do us part,” also wonder where life went wrong. And yet, a hero’s journey always begins with an unexpected challenge which is actually a calling to expand one’s worldview.
Still, my current life circumstances hardly feel expansive. As I type these words in a room the size of a walk-in closet, I don’t see my outer life going anywhere. As I raise funds to relocate and the money drip into my life rather than pour into it, I just feel frustrated. I relate to my character Eurydice whose life just took an unexpected turn for the worst.
Imagine if your entire life shaped and formed you to become an opera diva and then a draconian government bans all musical expression outside of the political State. Imagine if you also lose your home and are banished to the underground. And this is only within the imagination since I’m talking about a novel.
However, in real life many people are living the implausible because they feel that they did not sign up for their current circumstances. And yet, what is life without an adventure that tosses in the wrench? If we find ourselves always walking on Easy Street, then we cannot grow as people and Easy Street is actually pretty boring.
And yet, many of aspire to the safe middle road, which might not even be the right path for us. In fact, someone else, perhaps the media, prescribed the middle road. And we just went along with the program until…until something happens.
And that’s how all great novels begin with an insight or an incident. Authors know that they must use some kind of gravitational force to get their characters moving in a different direction. And while we’re not looking for a rollercoaster experience, we do need to write peaks and valleys.
So, whether the character starts out the story living in a car or watching his wife pack her suitcase as she prepares to leave him, what seems like a restrictive beginning later leads to expansion, but only after all the deep inner work has been accomplished. And so it is with real life too.
As with all my novels, my characters do much soul work. And I’m reminded of the lines from the movie French Kiss where Kate tells her former fiancée that when she walked around the streets of Paris penniless, she did some deep thinking. And she came to the realization that there is never a relationship that is safe enough, etc… Life only brings us constant change and it’s a matter of getting with the program of transformation. A story without transformation or metamorphoses is not a story. Rehashing one’s circumstances is also not a story. It is cheap drama. Boring. Draining.
And it’s the same with our “real” lives. Without change we die and even death is transformation from the physical into the ethereal. Think of the rocks that become sand due to the friction of the sea. Think of the worm becoming a butterfly. None of this is easy and all of it is painful but we find value in sand and with butterflies.
Even though we sit in our rooms lamenting the shape and form of our current lives, know this. If we do the soul work and if we read the hero’s journey often, we’ll know that life forces are shaping us so that we find our true paths and then, and only then, we expand into the vastness of the Universe.
There are no happy endings. We experience happy moments. And life always churns out more circumstances that shape us. And as life shapes us we feel poised for the next chapter in our lives. It’s best to approach life circumstances with an open mind and an open heart.
While my character’s story begins on a tragic note it ends with transformation. She ends up living a life she would have never imagined. And Eurydice would never have met intriguing people or learned of her courage had she not traveled down the unintended path. And she only had two choices–to go with the program or to fight it every step of the way and not transform.
This is a comedy/urban fantasy based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The setting is Seattle-2020.
Pacing her office, Demeter wondered how she would protect Persephone from the latest news. If Persephone caught wind of Pluto’s latest actions, she would throw the earth off kilter. She made plans for Persephone and Eurydice to visit an artist community in Hawaii offering a retreat.
In her cottage, Eurydice packed lightweight clothing for her impromptu journey where she planned on healing from nervous exhaustion. Her limbs and mind weighed so heavily with Pluto’s revenge on music that she could barely climb out of bed each day. She stopped cooking and had lost over ten pounds. She had lost her appetite for just about everything. Now that Pluto banned all music, except music selected by the Plutocrats, her nerves tied in knots. Her immunity weakened and she sensed a head cold coming on–a certain death to a diva.
Meanwhile, the Archangels gathered in Lincoln Park to formulate a strategy to bring healing music to the masses despite Pluto’s music ban. Chamuel shared her idea with the others.
“We can enter the dreams of those humans who give us permission and sing to them. We can also send them songs telepathically. That is until the Extraterrestrials clog up the telepathic highway.”
Ariel responded, “As far as I know, the E.Ts haven’t joined forces with the Plutocrats. They’ve never gotten along and I don’t think they’ll join in with Pluto’s bid for dominance. They have their own agendas which hardly involve music.”
The Archangels strode along the beach with their feet just hovering above the sand and surf. Weak sunlight glinted on their wings and the sound of the surf muffled their whispery voices. Archangel Michael picked up a sandstone pebble and tossed it out the hungry sea. Gulls circled overhead in search of crab carcasses on the beach.
“My concern is the despair experienced by the musicians who now find themselves out of work. Sound healers and music therapists will soon join the breadlines and many of them haven’t held a regular job in decades.
Sadly, we conveyed to them to follow the musical path to help humanity ascend and they dedicated themselves to our requests only now to suffer this fate. I’m hearing their pleas, but I’m not sure how to comfort them. Yet, we must defy the Plutocrats in taking the musical gifts away from the earth.”
Ariel picked up a pebble and tossed it to the waves. “In the meantime, we’ll teach humans to listen to the music of nature. I know that the faerie communities have turned up the volume, even defying natural laws to appear in forms humans can see so that they pay attention to birds, the wind, and other natural sounds.”
Later that day, Demeter met with Persephone at the speakeasy. The women huddled in a corner booth whispering so that any Plutocrats in the vicinity didn’t overhear their conversation.
“So are you taking me up on my offer and accompanying Eurydice to Hawaii?”
Persephone sighed. “What about my clients? My schedule is jam-packed with herbal healings.”
“I can take care of them. It will be tight for me, but if I extend my office hours, I can fit them it.
In the meantime, imagine hanging out on those lovely beaches with palm trees swaying overhead. It’s almost cliché to describe paradise, isn’t it?”
Persephone tugged on the sleeve of her green wool sweater. “It’s true we can’t let her go alone in the state she’s in. I visited her cottage the other day which resembled a sty. Her fridge was empty, dirty dishes languished in the sink, but she hasn’t eaten anything. I can understand her despondence having lost her career.”
“This is why you must go to Hawaii. Besides, you can stay for part of the time and just let her rest for the second half of the retreat. Just make sure she has safe passage and get her settled in, and then return.”
In his office with gray and black walls, Pluto gathered his Plutocrats for a meeting. He shut the blinds and he lit candelabra with a torch.
“So far, the music stores and radio stations are all complying. However, I would like to pass laws against musicians selling real estate since many of them will try to sell their homes at this time. This would saturate the market and cause real estate to collapse.”
A Plutocrat, auburn hair and a swarthy complexion in his twenties spoke up. “What will the musicians do to support themselves? Many of them won’t be able to find any other work? They only know how to perform, record, and teach music.”
Pluto banged his fist on his large iron and wood desk. “That’s not my problem!” He turned to his right-hand man, forties, balding, with a crooked spine, “Who hired that apprentice? We can’t have any Plutocrats sympathizing with musicians.”
Instead of cowering and shuffling the way to the corner as other Plutocrats would do after chastisement by Pluto, the swarthy Plutocrat stood his ground.
“Perhaps, I’m too dense to understand your plans, but what do you have against personal music? After all, music calms the masses and prevents them from rioting. My mother told me when I was a child that music feeds the souls.”
Pluto glared at the Plutocrat and leaned into him with his face now inches away from the Plutocrat’s nose.
“If I were you, I would hold my tongue. Do you think I care about feeding souls? My job is to keep the economy going and we can’t keep the economy going if people are spacing out listening to music. It’s a distraction we can’t afford.”
Pluto spit in the face of the Plutocrat while the Plutocrat stared defiantly at the governor.
In 5D, Orpheus and Cassius hung out with wood nymphs who fed the men green grapes the size of plums. Despite Orpheus’ despondent mood, the nymphs clad in white silk gowns with white geraniums in their sparkling blonde and red hair radiated joy. Hummingbirds and large bees zipped through the air leaving a permanent drone in the atmosphere.
Orpheus picked up his lyre and plucked a few notes causing the nymphs to recline in the grass and close their eyes. Cassius grabbed his quartz crystal bowl in the key of A-major adding more drone to the atmosphere. A woman harpist with flowing black hair set up her golden instrument on a stump near Orpheus then joined in, while releasing shimmering notes from her Celtic harp. She sang in a high clear voice that caused birds to land on branches and fall asleep.
In his reverie, Orpheus visualized uniting with Eurydice while helping her to ascend into 5D. Meanwhile, the frequency of the musical instruments charged up Orpheus’ body and magnetic field. As he powered up, he sent telepathic messages to Eurydice.
As he sent the messages, he received a vision of Eurydice and Persephone sitting on an airplane that flew above the Hawaiian Islands. He witnessed Eurydice closing her eyes and took that as a sign that she picked up his messages.
Meanwhile, Eurydice experienced a dream in which the oracle bird returned to her with a new message. The bird’s bright eyes gazed into Eurydice face.
“What I told you came to pass.”
Eurydice nodded. “You didn’t tell me that the loss would devastate me.”
“You’re not devastated. Ask your friend Persephone about the rebirth process which that woman knows well. Pray to Isis if you must, or ask Jesus about reincarnation. They’ll tell you, that what appears as ending acts as an open door to a life you never could imagine before.”
“I lost everything. I can’t even imagine this open door to opportunity. How will I survive without music?”
“My dear, you’ll have to go underground.”
“What do you mean by underground?”
The bird shook out his feathers, glanced over his shoulder at Eurydice, and then flew away. Eurydice turned towards Persephone who snoozed next to her.
“That’s true, Persephone does know how to find light in the darkness. What secrets does she hold in her heart?”
In West Seattle, the Archangels mounted their bicycles then single file rode out of Lincoln Park, with their wings straight out behind them leaving silver feathers in their wake. The bicycles picked up speed and launched into the air allowing the Archangels to fly over the West Seattle Bridge and land downtown in the midst of glass and marble skyscrapers.
They turned their bicycles onto Pine Street then headed downhill to the Public Market. Dismounting their bicycles, they left them on the cobbled walkway and entered the chamber of the Daily Oracle. Once inside, they waded through blue feathers and approached Archangel Gabriel who oversaw the bird oracles.
The Archangels gathered around a table constructed from an ancient cedar tree. Michael shook hands with Gabriel.
“Greetings, my fellow light beings. What’s the news in the outer world?”
Michael chuckled as he played with his sword. “Pluto put his plans in action and now musicians and musical healers scramble, as I’m sure you’ve heard.”
Gabriel gently closed his sapphire eyes and took a deep breath. Robin eggshell blue lit up his throat chakra. “I thought as much. Meanwhile, Orpheus entertains thoughts about returning to the Fourth Dimension to persuade Eurydice to ascend.”
Ariel took a sip of peach nectar from glasses Gabriel placed on the table earlier. “Why does that sound like an awful idea all the way around?”
Gabriel nodded. “It’s easy for those individuals in 5D to forget about the gravity and traps in this dimension. They feel invincible while in the Fifth Dimension and suffer amnesia about the darkness that resides here.”
Michael placed his sword on the table, rose from his cedar stump chair then paced. “It would be a mistake for Orpheus to descend into the Fourth now…a huge mistake. First, he only has a total of six hours to even woo Eurydice much less ask her to ascend to the unknown.
Second, Eurydice is at a retreat in Hawaii, which is harder to get to than Washington because Orpheus could confuse the coordinates and end up in the Bermuda Triangle. And finally, I believe all this stuff about soul twins is highly exaggerated. But then we know, Orpheus as an idealist, so there we go.”
In a cramped studio apartment, the swarthy Plutocrat, Marcus Ariel of Arc sat at his cluttered wood desk with his head in his hands. He agonized over Pluto’s chastisement knowing full well not to speak one’s truth around the governor.
However, Marcus inherited his ancestor Joan of Arc’s inability to keep one’s opinions to oneself. While not as hotheaded as Joan, Marcus exuded the same wide-eyed innocence as well as, foolishness in putting his sword in the wrong hands. He once worshipped Pluto and that’s what caused him to join the political campaign that got Pluto elected as Governor of Washington State—illegally.
However, after the Pluto’s real personality ripped the blinders from Marcus’ eyes he still swam in denial for as long as possible. But now, with Pluto sacrificing musicians and healers in the State, Marcus’ conscience bothered him. Besides, his days were numbered now that he landed on Pluto’s radar and it wouldn’t be long before he would need to escape to the Underground. Oddly, Pluto paid no attention to the happenings down under, mainly because the governor experienced repulsion at the thought of that cavernous place.
After all, if he escaped the past that kept him bound to cosmic father’s wishes, more like the curse, why would he ever return? Marcus made the analogy of a Hollywood nymphet never returning to the small Iowan town where she spent her formative years. Just as the thought of that tainted her hard-earned reputation as a glamour girl, Pluto assumed that any connection to the Underground once referred to as Hades, would taint his reputation as a world leader.
However, in the meantime, Marcus sat on his hands as to not end up in Pluto’s prison hidden away on an abandoned and flooded San Juan Island or so the rumor said. Yet, the dreams kept coming where he saw himself leading a rebellion along with a fiery hair woman with an obsession with locks.
At the lock shop across the city, Pandora reclined on couch sporting Greek imagery reading a secret book of codes she stole from a locked chest. Periodically, she took a sip of peach and honey nectar laced with passion flower so that she could relax her restless mind.
Born a triple Gemini, her mind never took a break. Always searching for puzzles to solve, codes to break, or locks to pick, Pandora itched for an adventure. Someone in passing told her about the Underground Movement and how their leaders searched for unusual talents such as hers.
And now that Eurydice lost her reign as opera diva along with all the musicians fired to make room for more of Pluto’s darkness, Pandora believed she found her cause to support. The woman she met in passing told Pandora about secret societies meeting in the caverns who worked with drums, crystal bowls, and ancient chants. According to this woman who spoke in whispery tones and shielded herself with a silver cape, musicians were flocking down under and forming new societies.
Pandora made a note to herself to share this information with Eurydice upon her return from Hawaii. But how would she entice Eurydice to join any movement when that vocalist appeared selfish.
At the retreat center in Hawaii, Eurydice laid on a bed sobbing while Persephone comforted her. A stiff breeze blew in through the open window knocking an exotic plant off a bamboo desk. Persephone rose from the bed and picked up the plant and placed on the desk. It took all her strength to close the window.
“It looks like a typhoon is on the way.”
Eurydice continued to sob, not caring about the storm outside her window and virtually ignoring the efforts of her comforting friend.
Persephone returned to Eurydice and helped her friend sit up and recline against large pillows sporting Hawaiian flowers.
“What will I do next?”
Persephone picked up a glass of pineapple juice and she brought it to Eurydice parched lips. “For now, rest and we’ll figure out the next step later.”
“I won’t even be able to teach music. All I know is music. I only studied music thinking that I had a long career ahead of me.”
“Don’t blame yourself. We know we were in trouble when Pluto got illegally elected.”
Eurydice grabbed the glass from Persephone and she gulped down the juice. “How could people be so stupid as to elect that scoundrel?”
Persephone shrugged her shoulders and laughed. “They didn’t. Oh-oh-oh, and just to think I was once married to that scoundrel.”
Eurydice sighed then she looked around the room cluttered with wicker furnishing and Hawaiian print. “How did you survive that marriage?”
“I’m strong and he doted on me at first. My mistake was eating that pomegranate. I didn’t even like the taste of it.
Do you recall the moment you lost your innocence?”
Eurydice shook her head. “Perhaps, that moment is now.”
Persephone grabbed a glass of pineapple juice and sipped the contents. She leaned her head back against the large pillows.
“So tell me about the messages from the oracle bird again.”
“He said that I would experience a loss, but not to worry because something better was on the way. But he might as well have spoken in riddles because I have no idea what opportunities could possibly come to me now.”
“He did speak in riddles, my dear. I wonder what opportunities await you because I believe what the bird told you. So tell me, what have you dreamed about lately?”
Eurydice closed her eyes and concentrated on recalling her nightly dreams. “I’ve experienced dreams where I’m running and the ground is covered in moss so I’m slipping and then, I see a bright light ahead of me.”
“A man’s hand, an attractive hand with a silver ring featuring a lyre, reaches out to me from the light. Then I get a sense that I’m climbing or flying because I’m ascending like a bird.”
“That’s interesting. Do you ever get a glimpse of the man’s face?”
Eurydice shook her head. “But I’ve heard a man’s melodic voice in my head and he’s talking to me about paradise.”
Strolling near a creek bubbling over with fish, Orpheus stared at the ground and kicking pebbles into the creek. Cassius strolled alongside the bard also lost in contemplation.
“Have you tried contacting the muses? Surely, Eurydice worked with the muses so they might have an in with her.”
Orpheus shrugged. “What’s the use? Besides, the muses I met were coquettes. They flirt, gossip, and can’t be trusted, at least not with a man’s heart.”
“Don’t even attempt then to contact the sirens.”
Orpheus shook his head. “I wasn’t planning on it. I still believe in the direct approach which is speaking directly to her soul.”
Cassius pulled off his sandals and dipped his toes into the creek. He crept into the water and grabbed Orpheus’ hand–His swarthy face tilted upwards as his brown eyes gazed into Orpheus’ blue ones.
“Come, cool off in the creek. This water has a miraculous effect, especially after the muses, who we know you don’t like, blessed the water with their chants.”
Meanwhile, after the storm passed, Eurydice and Persephone lounged on wicker chairs on a patio drinking Hawaiian smoothies. Persephone glanced at Eurydice face which began to glow with a life force again.
“So tell me about the dream you had with the man with the lyre ring.”
Eurydice placed her glass on the table and she grabbed a tie for her hair. She secured her hair in a ponytail stretching the length of her back.
“This time I saw his entire arm and a thigh.”
“Really, was his thigh sexy?”
Eurydice chuckled. “It wasn’t bad. He had calluses on his fingers which right away told me he plays some kind of string instrument.”
“Most likely a lyre since you mentioned that he had a silver ring with a lyre on it. Do you think that he’s a real man?”
“I don’t know yet. I hope so. I wonder where he is.”
In 5D, Orpheus and Cassius waded in the creek up to their thighs. The water invigorated the men and they laughed heartily tossing back their heads and splashing water on each other.
“This water really does have a magical effect. I feel fantastic.”
“Do you feel any songs coming on? I know I do. I always hear the drums of Mother Earth, even in this dimension.”
Orpheus waded back to the shore with the water tugging at his muscular thighs and calves. After he returned to the shore, he sat upon a rock allowing the sun to dry off his hair and skin. Cassius joined him on the large smooth rock, shaking out his dark hair.
Orpheus sighed. “Maybe Eurydice isn’t interested in men or falling in love.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I have plenty here. Why do I require a woman to live out my life in this dimension? All my needs, but one are met and maybe I don’t even require great love. “
“It’s the idea of love that matters to musicians and poets.”
“I feel a song coming on.” Orpheus slipped off the rock, grabbed his sandals and returned home but his heart was not convinced of his words.
I wrote Enter 5-D as an urban fantasy but it also fits into commercial and general fiction.
Across Seattle, Eurydice scrambled down the cobblestone alleyway to the mouth of the Oracle grotto. When she reached the theater entrance, she stood under the marquee and waited for the jay to appear. Soon she heard a fluttering of wings in the background and then the bird landed in front of her on his perch.
“Oh, it’s you. Where have you been keeping yourself these days?”
Eurydice pushed back her hair from her face and wiped perspiration from her forehead. “You know well where I’ve been because you’re the one who revealed my future to me. Remember you said that I would make a sacrifice but not to worry?”
“I said that?”
“Oh, yes, you’re the one who sang in the opera house. I heard the news. What a shame that the great opera house will be empty these days. What was the governor thinking?”
“That’s a good question for you to answer.”
“So now, you’re out of work and your life has fallen completely apart, am I correct?”
“For a singer, you’re a woman with little words.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Let’s talk about your dreams. There’s a man in your dreams who wants to help you. But if you keep ignoring him then he’s not much help, is he?”
“I’m not ignoring him. He comes and goes.”
“This is the way of Orpheus.”
The jay lit from his perch and flew in three circles and then landed back on the perch pushing back the crown on his head with his foot. “My dear, Orpheus is the son of a muse and probably was the greatest musician Seattle ever had.”
“What do you mean by ever had?”
“He’s no longer with us.”
“He died? This man that’s supposed to help me is dead?”
“Not exactly–he ascended to another dimension.”
Eurydice found a wood and iron bench and plopped down on it. “You’ll have to explain that one. Talking to you is exhausting. Don’t you believe in linear communication?”
The jay shook his head. “Talk to Persephone and Demeter about the dimensions. Or you could find your answers underground.”
Just as the jay delivered his last word, he vaporized leaving Eurydice gasping with astonishment and exasperation. Her mind seemed more confused now as it did before consulting with the crazy jay.
Meanwhile, Demeter and Persephone rifled through Eurydice drawers and papers on her desk looking for a suicide note or some kind of sign.
Demeter grimaced. “Why is my intuition failing me now?”
Persephone pushed aside clothing that had piled up on Eurydice’s couch and she took a seat. She rubbed her temples and placed her hand on her heart and then she closed her eyes.
“She’s not dead. And in fact, she’s on her way home so we had better clean up this mess or we’ll have explaining to do.”
Demeter picked up the empty bottle of pills resting on the counter and she read the label. She pointed at the bottle.
“My mind is also playing tricks on me. This is allergy medicine and Eurydice probably was rifling through her purse looking for any remaining pills. Looking at the date on the bottle, she would have run out by now.”
Persephone sighed with relief. “We had better clean this mess. How are we going to explain our actions to Eurydice?”
Just as she mentioned Eurydice name, the women heard the key turning in the door and then Eurydice entered her cottage. She gawked when she saw her friends standing in a pile of her clothing and papers scattered on the wood floors she had polished earlier.
Demeter began picking up the papers and placing them in a neat pile on the kitchen table while Persephone folded the clothes on the couch. Demeter chuckled with embarrassment.
“We have some explaining to do.
Eurydice nodded, chuckling. “Go on…”
We caught wind of Pluto’s latest law and rushed to your cottage to warn you. We noticed the empty bottle of pills next to your purse on the floor and we jumped to conclusions.”
“You thought I overdosed on allergy pills and then disappeared?”
The women nodded in unison.
Eurydice cleared papers from the floor and couch, and then she sat on the couch next to Persephone.
“Wow, am I coming off as desperate?”
Persephone caressed Eurydice’s shoulder. “It’s not so much that, but we read of other musicians committing suicide thanks to Pluto’s new laws.”
“And you thought that I would take my own life?”
Demeter grabbed a wicker chair and sat across from the other women. She nodded. “I guess we were thinking that if we were in your shoes, we would probably consider such an act.”
Eurydice chuckled. “I can see it now dramatic diva takes her life to avenge Pluto’s draconian laws. The newspaper would love that.”
Demeter picked up a stray piece of paper and read the contents. She realized it was the deed for the cottage. She picked up another paper announcing the final mortgage payment.
“Eurydice, you didn’t tell us that you had only one payment left on your mortgage.”
Eurydice shrugged. “What’s to celebrate now? According to Pluto’s new law, which I did read about in the newspaper today, I have three months to vacate my home.”
Demeter sighed. “This is unfair. What did musicians do that caused Pluto to bring out his iron fist?”
“We took attention away from him and you know better than anyone else that the man is a megalomaniac.”
Meanwhile, on his way to the Underground, Marcus got a sense that someone was tailing him, but when he looked behind and around himself, the streets appeared empty except for a stray kid passing by on a bicycle.
In any case, he picked up his pace and headed to the main entrance to what was formerly known as Pioneer Square and now went by the name Styx Center. From the corner of his eye, he saw a whirl of something feminine. Next thing he knew Pandora strode towards him–her jade eyes sparkling with curiosity. When she caught up with Marcus she grabbed his left wrist.
She teased Marcus, “Where do you think you’re going Mister Plutocrat?”
Marcus feigned ignorance even though he stood only ten feet away from the entrance to Hades. “I was exploring this area of town. Do you know where this door leads?”
Pandora smirked. “I know where you’ve been. Olav is a good friend of mine and I’ve done some work for him. Woodworkers and locksmiths are like pardon the cliché, peas in a pod.”
Marcus blushed and he struggled to find his voice now caught in his throat. Pandora looked him up and down until her probing eyes landed on his face.
“What are you going to do if Pluto catches up with you? And you do know about his prison on San Juan Island, right?”
“At least there’s no death penalty.”
“That’s the point because from what I’ve heard, the prisoners pray for death as they languish in that surreal place.”
“I know what I’m doing. It’s true that my colleagues suspect something’s wrong with me, but I’ve managed to allude them.”
“You think Pluto doesn’t keep his eyes on his employees? If I were you I would censor your phone calls by using code words and take a different route each time you venture to the Underground and that sort of thing. You need to be sneakier than Pluto or he’ll catch you.”
Marcus shuddered and hesitated. Then his hand reached for the handle of the door. He glanced at Pandora over his shoulder as she stood a few feet away with her arms crossed defiantly across her ample bosom.
“Good luck, Marcus.”
Marcus swung the door open and squeezed inside the damp entrance before changing his mind. As he descended the stairs, his feet sunk into the moss. He pulled out a flashlight. When he turned it on, he noticed a camera swiveling above his head.
“Oh, darn! Look, you’re on Pluto’s Candid Camera.”=
Moments later, he heard the door open behind him and two pairs of booted feet land heavily on the stairs and flashlights arcing towards him. The next thing he knew, someone had grabbed both of his hands and placed them in handcuffs.
“So Marcus, how’s the weather in the Underground?”
The two men dragged Marcus up the stairs and out into the sparkling sunlight.
Meanwhile, Pandora strode on Fifth Avenue towards the old Public Market. Moments later, she negotiated the cobblestone alleyway in her wedged sandals. She approached the grotto and waited for the jay to appear. It seemed like the eternity until the bird arrived so Pandora took a seat on the wood and iron bench in the meantime.
Suddenly, Pandora heard a fluttering of wings coming from behind her. The Oracle flew above her head and landed on his perch. With one foot, he fluffed his crown.
Pandora smirked. “So, you finally showed up.”
The jay ruffled his feathers and began preening them. Pandora waited for the bird to speak but instead sat through the bird’s morning grooming routine. Finally, the bird’s shiny eyes gazed at Pandora’s face.
“Ah Pandora, what can I do for you?”
“I’ve been waiting so long I’ve almost forgotten my questions for you.”
“Even if you had forgotten, don’t you think I would know?”
When I was around ten or eleven years old, an elementary school teacher bravely introduced our class to the pantheon of Greek gods. I’m pretty sure this was done through the telling of Greek myths. However, with my obsession for superheros or humanoids with special powers to shape-shift and transform, discovering the Greek gods and goddesses felt heaven-sent.
Then when I was a bit older, I saw my mother digging through an old steamer trunk that held her mementos from her childhood and young adult years. A collection of Catholic saint cards fell out of the trunk and captured my attention. Again, I learned that these humans also had “special” abilities in that they created miracles. So, as I grew into an adult, my subconscious mind started mashing saints, superheroes, and Greek gods into a creative stew.
So, when the ideas for “Super-Natural Heroes” and “Enter 5-D” drifted into my conscious mind, this all felt familiar to me. Without getting too astrological on you (the reader), I was born with my Moon in Pisces–the dreamy sign that is most likely to gravitate towards speculative fiction of the more fairy-unicorn-superhero variety. While I have never worn a superhero costume or even T-shirt as a child or an adult, I enjoy humans stepping out of any limitations or as they say in the spiritual communities, stepping outside of the Matrix.
Sure, people could say that super humans don’t exist until they meet a shaman who can shape-shift into a creature. Shakespeare’s Hamlet also spoke of the extraordinary experience we can experience on Earth.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
So, what’s the point of my blog post? Sorry, I’m having another one of my this is your brain on Neptune moments. Greek gods bring magic to my writing. They bring hope that there are other worlds still worth exploring. They also show us the wreckage caused by power-hungry ones which provides cautionary tales for our political elite who some times act like the Titans residing on Mount Olympus.
I revisted the Greek pantheon and its victims because they mirror the world we currently reside. And I chose to take a humorous approach simply because I’m so tired of this dead seriousness which has taken the planet hostage. Don’t you know that humor raises the vibration? And that scientists have proven that we are all made up of vibrations. So, if this makes me a geek for Greeks, so be it. I’m having a good time learning from human errors too. And I’m also a geek for Shakespeare.
This is a short excerpt from my urban fantasy novel Enter 5-D.
Pandora is about the enter the labyrinth and encounters the Minotaur. She successfully escaped Pluto’s punishment.
As Pandora contemplated her choices, she heard the sound of high heels echoing in the hallway behind her and then Persephone with Demeter dressed in black dresses and stilettos entered the office. The women’s glittering eyes landed on Pandora and assessed her predicament.
Persephone lowered her eyes and in a haughty voice acknowledged her former husband. “I didn’t know you had company. You always liked them young and pretty.”
Pluto raged. “What are you doing here?”
“My mother and I thought we would stop by for a visit, if you know what I mean.”
Pluto’s Confidant entered the office and gaped at the women in the room. He hid his excitement by presenting a glacial expression.
“Did I come at a bad time?”
Pandora took that moment to back out of the office and when she entered the hallway, she sprinted to the end. However, when she reached for the door and grabbed the knob, she realized that Pluto had locked all the doors. Wishing she had her toolkit with her, Pandora pulled out a bobby pin from her hair and a credit card from her purse and set to work on the lock.
(As you can see, this is a multiple narrative novel so I skip back and forth between characters and their scenarios).
I never really know when I’ve completed a novel. And I guess the answer to that is once it’s published and on the shelves of bookstores. However, I completed phase one and phase two and phase three of my fifth novel, Enter 5-D (modern telling of Orpheus and Eurydice), and I have entered the beta reader zone…
Although this feels like the next to last leg of a journey, my favorite part of the journey comes when an idea for a novel enters my thoughts. It’s what Joseph Campbell would refer to the hero (in this case, the author), responding to a quest that last several months to several years, depending on the author.
I carried a heavier burden with my fifth novel in that I had memories of past mistakes weighing me down. I guess I can also see that knowledge as lightening my burden which allowed me to organize the timeline of the plots (multiple), create enough detail of the characters and setting: as well as, work out the structure ahead of time. However, I’m yet to find the right genre to squeeze this novel and I’ve used the term genre-bender. Agents don’t like this, and publishers like it even less. Bookstores and libraries need to know where to shelve the book for best results. As a writer I have never liked categories, but I understand marketing and publicity too.
My second favorite part of the journey is spending time with my characters. I immerse myself completely in their worlds during and after my writing process. I research the details of their worlds and dive into their head and heart spaces. I also find pieces of my personality in each character–even the antagonists who I sometimes relate to that borders on dangerous projections. Although I’m half joking.
My 5th novel doesn’t just coalesce everything I learned from writing my other four novels, but gleans from astrology, sound healing, music history, and my childhood love of Greco-Roman myths. Then when I was in my twenties I related to Persephone, who I include in my novel, as a powerful Divine Women character. The overall theme of the novel is that by delving into our own darkness (subconscious), we gain power and liberation. Power comes from the inner and not the outer world.
I’ve now entered the beta reader stage and I’m still cleaning up the manuscript. I don’t have a practice of complete rewrites, meaning I never toss the first draft and start from a blank page. I actually, go back and edit the previous chapter each day before writing the next chapter. Then I keep notes of the timeline, eye and hair colors of the characters, but I can still make mistakes due to forgetfulness. After all, this novel is a 300+ page journey that lasted over six months, and then I moved several times in the process of completing the final chapters and epilogue.
I believe that if an author doesn’t reinvent the wheel with each of their novels, then the process becomes easier along the way–especially if the author develops a template or formula. However, doubts, worries and fears still crop up as do potentially dramatic moments where the author deletes the file from the computer (modern version) or tosses the manuscript out the window. Never do this, by the way. You’ll regret it later.
And speaking of my novel, I have some cleaning up to do, so off I go.