More than one reader of Goddess has asked me, in so many words, "What the heck is going on in this story?" Here's a bit of a cheat sheet. It's not long, I promise. Short short answer: it's a take on the original (if there is an actual original) myth, but not intended to be a retelling of it.
The story of Persephone, daughter of Zeus, and her abduction by Hades, god of the underworld, and subsequent marriage to him, is the story of why we have a fallow period in autumn and winter, and a blossoming and growing period in spring and summer.
The traditional story is that it was something of a forced marriage after the initial abduction (see the Bernini sculpture), at least at first and at least until Hades tricked Persephone into eating a few pomegranate seeds which caused her to desire to return to the underworld after she was released. I read a different take on the story, one that suggested their relationship was not as forced as many think, and decided to play with the idea.
Goddess is a story of a road trip and an adventure, perhaps a delusion, who knows, and a sex romp. It can be read straight, no problem. Persephone tells the rangers she doesn't know what happened to her, and we should probably accept that in the end it doesn't matter whether it was real or not.
What the heck is Papagena, from Mozart's The Magic Flute, doing in the story? I needed a girlfriend for Harry (Hades), and I decided she ought to be a sprite. That's all.
Anyway, read it like the romp it is, not an attempt to teach anyone about Greek or Roman myths.
Almost forgot: Hebe. She was cupbearer to the gods until she had a wardrobe malfunction while serving. Given the gods' behavior generally it's hard for us to see why that would be such an affront, but it was enough for Zeus to fire her. She could have worked in a spa, too (that's a jug of bath water she's carrying in the cover image), but I decided a bar was more fun. Is Hebe a goddess? Her underwear says she is, but who knows?
Mrs. H: Hera, mother of Hebe
Mrs. D: Demeter, mother of Persephone and goddess of the harvest
Harry: Hades (sort of)
Mr. Z: the big guy himself, Zeus
Ranger Jacqueline: a total figment of my imagination, but I'd sure like to meet her
Harley-Davidson: a U.S. maker of iconic motorcycles, but you already know that
Papagena's trill: From Mozart, of course, but as I was starting the story I heard it from a high school girl walking with a friend, just a short happy cascade of notes.
An Internet search on any of these folks will turn up enough material to keep you busy for months. There's lots of hot art and sculpture, too.
The last chapter is queued for posting today, Wednesday, March 30.
Goddess is now a
rel="nofollow">free download from Lulu, and soon to be free at Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere. If you see it still advertised at $2.99 please feel free to purchase it, but if you wait a few days it should show up as free everywhere.
It's word-for-word the same story as posted here, save for a few minor fixes.
Goddess will finish posting in two more days. I hope you've enjoyed reading it, and thank-you to those who wrote to tell me they liked it. It was fun to write and I think a fun romp for Mrs. D, Mrs. H, Hebe, Persephone, Sam, Ranger Jacqueline and the rest of the gang.
When it finishes posting, I'll update the version now available on Amazon, the iBooks Store and Lulu and make it a free download. It's almost word-for-word the same story as posted here, only a few minor fixes. The major differences from the SOL epub are a larger cover image, an endpaper image of Hebe, and a more book-like presentation overall.
With thanks again to the moderators who facilitated many fixes to the first chapter and one just now on Chapter 18.
Best wishes to all,
The chapter title is "Seduction," which is a pretty big clue this whole Persephone abduction thing isn't going to go the way other stories about Persephone and her big adventure tell it. All will become clear. Well, sort of. You be the judge.
Goddess Chapter 12, "The Rape of Persephone," is queued for posting later today, March 22. There's a reason the story does not carry a rape code.
In the 17th century "rape" had a meaning or usage different from the modern one. The most famous depiction of this difference is the 1621 sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Borghese Gallery in Rome. Check it out. It is absolutely stunning and it's hard to believe that's cold marble instead of warm skin Hades is squeezing. ("Proserpina" is the Roman name for "Persephone.")
What might have happened after the "rape" is another story entirely.