2/8/10

Goddess of the Week: Calliope

Rois needs a goddess to help with writer's block. Let me tell you, sister, I've been there myself and I know just who you need: Calliope.

Calliope is the Greek muse of epic poetry. It is her job to inspire writers, just like

Detalhe da musa CallĂ­ope no quadro The Muses U...Image via Wikipedia

she inspired Homer. Because of the sorry state of modern education, most people don't realize that Homer struggled with terrible writer's block when he was writing The Odyssey.

Here's what happened: Homer's first book, The Iliad, had been this huge success, and Homer's publisher was all, "We want another book just like The Iliad, but different -- maybe a sequel! Yeah! A sequel! I'm thinking zombies in the Trojan horse. I'm thinking zombie Achilles. I'm thinking zombies, zombies, zombies. And naked Helen. As a zombie."

Homer tried, but he just couldn't do it. His authentic self just couldn't do zombies -- or vampires. He wrote half a half the manuscript for a book called "Trojan Twilight," but he just had to burn the damn thing. It was that bad.

He didn't know what to do! He was ready to give up writing forever when Calliope paid him a visit. She said, "Homer, I know the people want zombies and vampires, but this is Ancient Athens. We don't have have zombies and vampires. Write what you know. Write cyclopses and enchantresses that turn men into the pigs they already are. So he did, and the rest is history.

Calliope reminds writers that good writing is authentic writing. Be yourself, and if your self has to let the ground lay fallow so that it can once again produce fruit, then let the ground lay fallow. Your pen will be there when you're ready and so will your readers.

Channel this goddess: when stumped about what to write, when the well has run dry, or when you need to sound especially articulate in order to get what you want.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Leave a comment specifying your need and I will see what I can find.

20 comments:

Rois said...

Thanks! i will do my best to channel her in the coming days.As of this moment I am ready to throw in the towel! Damn lurkers won't take any kind of bait and I need some inspiration from them.Grrrr!

Rois said...

P.S I just did the thing I always remind my boys about-Always a capital "I" when writing about yourself and a capital at the beginning of your name because dang it you got to have some pride in yourself.
A slip? Don't know.Damn writers block.

Joanne said...

Hm, good to know even Homer went up against the publishing empires. Things haven't changed much since then, have they? Seriously, sometimes it does feel like publishing moves at a snail's pace into modern day!

Cafe Pasadena said...

Writers' Block: that's suburban writer code for a big slice of chocolate cake.

Petrea said...

I've never had any trouble with writer's block. (Perhaps I should knock on a big wooden block right now.) I've written a lot of awful stuff, but I've never met a blank page I couldn't mess up with a block of text, good or bad.

But I like Calliope's advice. When it's consistently bad I have to get away from the desk and do something else--walk the dog, clean the house, anything. I keep note pads everywhere because I do a lot of my best work in places other than at the computer. J and I are constantly excusing ourselves from conversations, saying, "I have to make a note."

Shell Sherree said...

I don't think Homer waited around to make sure Trojan Twilight was fully burned.

Have I ever told you how funny you are, Margaret? Too bad ~ I'm telling you again.

Olga said...

OH! I thought she was the goddess of merry-go-round music. Sorry state of yesterday's education as well.
I love starting my day with a good laugh.

Deb said...

Fun take on Homer. :o) It's hard to imagine that you would ever be faced with writer's block, but I suppose it makes sense as you are human afterall. Well, human with a strong connection to an awful lot of goddesses.

Have a great day! xo

Coppertop said...

Interesting...I'm supposed to write a 1500 word article for work but instead i sat down and wrote a 1000 word short story.. maybe Calliope was messin' with me.

Linda Dove said...

Sometimes I wish I'd had the guts to name my daughter Calliope. It made the list at one point.

Lynne said...

I loved this one! It was so funny! And, who knew Calliope was a Goddess, I thought it was merry-go-round music.

altadenahiker said...

Ah, you made me laugh on this dark and stormy day. And on top of that, you're right, of course.

Margaret said...

Rois: Lurkers?

Coppertop: Congrats on the short story. I've had good luck with the flash fiction website Rose City Sisters (google it). Keep me posted on where you place it.

inkywasfat said...

So good. Linking it to my Facebook.

Rois said...

Lurkers: People who read your blog on a regular bases but NEVER comment or sign up as a follower.
I know they are out there because my little counter gizmo tells me.
God that sounded a bit paranoid,I think I had better go bake a chocolate cake to cure myself of all woe's.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I got me a case of bloggers block. So far I have one of the worst titles ever; which I kind of like.

Coppertop said...

Margaret - I was thinking of Rose City Sisters because I've read your work there and like the blog. Will keep you posted!!

p.s. I'm rather addicted to your blog...keep up the good writing.

Desiree said...

Too funny, Margaret! I wonder what his royalties were, anyway...

Margaret said...

Dez: He was totally screwed. He didn't even get a penny for paperbacks.

gaelikaa said...

Great stuff, Margaret. Helpful also.