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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)

TITLE: A Musing
By Phee Paradise


It was a clear, sunny day on Mount Olympus – as all days are when Zeus is absent. Some of the Muses lounged by their fountain, taking a break from inspiring mortals. Calliope lay on her back on a marble bench, watching a pair of birds fussing around their nest in the rose bush that trailed over the shady arbor.

“I’m so tired. Ever since I inspired Homer to write about the battle of Troy, he’s been working day and night. The man hardly ever eats and barely sleeps.”

She closed her eyes and rested her hands across her abdomen. Gradually, a slow smile crossed her face. “But he’s doing a wonderful job on the higher gods. They’ll be furious when they notice it.”

Melpomene laughed. “Aeschylus is doing the same thing with Agamemnon. What a silly war that was, but such great material for us.”

Polyhymnia leaned out of the arbor and looked up at the sky. It was still blue and the only sound was the twitter of the birds. “You should be more respectful. After all, they are gods.”

“Just because you inspire superstitious mortals to sing their praises doesn’t mean they don’t have faults. But don’t worry, Zeus isn’t here. He’s off wooing some beautiful wood nymph or mortal girl.”

“So predictable," said Clio. "I bet Hera’s mad.”

“She doesn’t know yet, but she will be when she finds out.” Melpomene wandered over to the fountain where Clio and Thalia were dangling their feet in the clear water. “Actually, that would be a great topic for a comedy. Do you have any mortals looking for inspiration?” She nudged Thalia with her bare foot.

“I’m going to be in enough trouble when Zeus gets wind of Aristophanes’ The Birds. He’s got a middle aged Athenian taking Zeus’ place. I’m not interested in too many thunderbolts coming my way.”

Clio laughed. “Hesiod’s not too busy right now. I bet he’d love to write up the history of Zeus and Hera. Thanks for the idea.”

Erato, who had carefully arranged herself and her toga to show off her voluptuous figure, clapped her hands. A bowl of frosted grapes appeared on the bench beside her. She took one between her thumb and finger and brought it to her full lips. “I don’t think Zeus and Hera would be good material for love poems, but Zeus’ conquests…” She chewed the grape slowly, a thoughtful look in her eyes.

Polyhymnia sighed. “You are all pathetic. Writing’s not about avoiding trouble or being funny. We’ve got a responsibility to inspire and teach. Your mortals are incredibly talented and you should make sure they use it for the right things.”

“Silly, Poly. Inspiration’s for joy,” Terpsichore called out from the other end of the fountain. She skipped over to the others and twirled with her arms above her head. “Whatever you all are talking about sounds boring. Have you seen Euterpe? I need her help with a mortal who’s trying to choreograph some difficult music.”

Polyhymnia stood. “She’s playing her flute with Pan in the grove down the hill. I’ll go with you.” She started down the path without looking back. Terpsichore danced after her, each step a graceful leap.

Calliope opened her eyes and watched them go. “Poor Poly. She takes it all so seriously. Of course we’re supposed to inspire greatness, but we can have fun while we do it. Even epic poetry and tragedy don’t have to be all doom and gloom.”

“Her job’s pretty hard. You have to admit our gods aren’t a good source of sacred inspiration.” Clio looked at the sky to make sure Apollo was still in his chariot and Zeus’ thunderbolts were still silent. “Maybe it’s time to turn to the Creator God.”

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This article has been read 711 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/10
You made mythology interesting for me- something that is not easy to do. I really liked your last line. Well done.
Carol Slider 05/03/10
I'm so glad you hinted--I LOVE this! Great job integrating your knowledge of mythology and classical literature... I'm impressed. This is fun to read all the way through, and the ending is wonderful. Well done!
Catrina Bradley 05/03/10
A great title for this story! Not being familiar with all of the characters, it was a lot of names in for short piece. With more words, you could have brought out their individual characters more, like you did with Erato. Still, it was very enjoyable, with a good ending.
Mona Purvis05/05/10
Lots of good stuff going on here. Excellent writing. It's on topic. Wealth of information and fun as well.

Author Unknown05/05/10
I liked this. Clever approach and fun to read all the way through.
I had trouble with the frosted grapes-- wondering where they'd find frosted grapes unless that's just something that can be mythically conjured up with the hand clap :).
The only real issue I have is wondering how it applies to the writer's skill or craft unless it's to say they don't really own the skill or craft and that it's given to them by the gods.
In spite of the color of my pen, it was really well done.
Beth LaBuff 05/05/10
Very creative work -- and an enjoyable entry, (listening in on the gods), then the acknowledgment that there is a "Creator God."
Patricia Turner05/05/10
Your use of dialogue is great. This was a very enjoyable read.