• Home
  • Posts Tagged'Medusa'

Posts Tagged ‘Medusa’

Medusa in Your Head

There are lots of reasons why Medusa is the most interesting character in mythology to me, and why she inspired my
Medusa’s Consortium series. One of the biggies for me is that Medusa gets in your head in ways no one else can.

 

For Freud, she represented the male fear of castration. You’d expect that from Freud though, wouldn’t you? According to Freud, this fear is associated with that first view of mature female genitals — back in the day when muffs really were muffs – thus the association with snakes in the hair. The turning to stone is the resulting erection. Apparently there’s no evidence in the literature surrounding Medusa that she ever turned a woman to stone.

 

Medusa is also a classic example of god-bashing or in this case goddess-bashing. A conquering people often debased the gods of the conquered lands, the assumption being that they were able to conquer because ‘our-god’s-stronger-than-your-god.’ Greek mythology often shows this through the rape or seduction of someone by one of Greek pantheon – most often Zeus. Those being raped or seduced are usually local goddesses. Poor Medusa, however, gets a double whammy. She is raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena, where she should have been under the protection of the goddess. Then, in the classic example of victim blaming, Athena curses her for debasing her temple – thus the snakes in the hair and the face that turns anyone who looks at her to stone.

 

From a feminist point of view, Medusa represents female rage. I suppose that’s as much why I chose to tell her story my way as anything. Strangely enough, I didn’t know about the feminist viewpoint when Medusa’s Consortium was conceived. I only knew that her story made me rage, that I wanted revenge for Medusa. That being the case, like everything a writer puts to pen, the story of Medusa’s anger has to be, on some level, the story of my own anger. The way Magda Gardener works through it as a modern anti-hero in my novels is, no doubt, on some level my way of working through my own issues. That, I guess, is far more Jungian than Freudian.

 

But then not everything is about penis envy. At least, for me, and from the point of view of Magda Gardener/ Medusa, it’s not the penis that is envied so much as the power it represents. It is the desire for the power and the freedom to control one’s own destiny. It’s the lack of that control that causes the rage. Magda Gardener and her consortium give me a wonderful way to retell her story in a modern setting, in a place where her revenge is ongoing, as is her redemption. And Magda Gardener’s redemption, her need for family and connection is every bit as important as her need for revenge. Here’s a little excerpt from Blind-Sided, in which Paul Danson, a New York City police detective in way over his head, meets Magda Gardener for the first time. Enjoy.

 

Blind-Sided Blurb:

 

In New York City away from those she loves, living with the enigmatic vampire, Desiree Fielding, Susan Innes struggles to come to terms with life as a vampire whose body serves as the prison for a powerful demon. When Reese Chambers arrives unexpectedly from England, desperate for her help, she discovers that Alonso Darlington, his lover and her maker, has been taken captive and Reese has been warned to tell no one but her. Before the two can make a plan, Susan receives her own message from a man calling himself just Cyrus. He not only holds her maker prisoner, but also her lover, the angel Michael, and if she wishes to see either of them alive, she’ll come to him and not tell Magda Gardener, the woman they all work for and fear. With no help coming from Magda or her Consortium, Susan and Reese must turn to the Guardian – the terrifying demon now imprisoned in her body. He alone can help them, but how can she possibly trust him after all he’s done?

 

 

We Meet At Last — Excerpt:

 

When he saw Magda Gardener for the first time, Paul was on his way back to his desk, updating Margaret on the phone. … At the sight of her, everything around him faded to background noise and he had a rabbit in the headlights moment. The only thing he wanted more than to run away before he caught her attention was to be the center of her attention. For a moment he stood unmoving, seriously fearing that he’d forgotten how to breathe. She wore faded jeans over legs that went on for miles all the way down to the black leather ankle boots that were totally soundless as she moved across the ageing tile floor with a dancer’s ease. Even in the baggy white cable knit sweater it was not difficult to tell that there were dangerous curves beneath. She had a yard of fiery golden ringlets just like in those Pre-Raphaelite paintings his mother used to love. My God, they looked almost like they lived and breathed and moved around her shoulders in adoration of the woman they belonged to, and yet, they were simply and carelessly tied back in a black ribbon. He couldn’t imagine what the eyes of a woman with such porcelain skin and such breathtaking hair must look like, and he had to imagine, because she hid them behind a pair of tortoise shell sunglasses. He didn’t know how long he’d stood there looking at her with Margaret all but shouting in his ear, asking if he was all right. It was only when she came to him, offered a smile and extended a hand that he remembered himself.

“Margaret, I’ll call you back,” he said and disconnected nearly dropping his phone as the woman’s warm fingers closed around his. For a second, he felt the room tilt and go slightly out of focus, and then her voice pulled him back.

“Detective Danson. My name is Magda Gardener. I need to talk to you about some missing persons.” She glanced around the room. “Preferably in private.”

“Of course,” he managed, nodding down the hall toward one of the empty interrogation rooms, very aware that all eyes were on them. He mumbled something about getting her a coffee or a Coke. She thanked him but declined.

“Please leave the door open,” she said when he made to pull it shut behind them. A slight flush of pink tinged her cheeks. “Afraid I’m a bit phobic where closed doors are concerned.”

He did as she asked, then pulled the chair usually reserved for suspects around to his side of the table and she settled into it, not waiting for him to ask how he could help her. “I’ve spoken to Vince Layton, and I know that the man calling himself Cyrus Rivers, has my people.”

After a couple of fish gasps, Paul responded. “You talked to Layton?”

“I did, yes. He was happy to talk to someone else who believed him, and he told me that you were the person I needed to see. Of course Desiree Fielding told me the same, but not very willingly, I’m afraid.” She offered him a warm smile that had his heart racing. “The woman means well, but she’s sometimes way too secretive. I, on the other hand, am not, Detective. I want my people back, and I want this Cyrus and the monster who pulls his chains … neutralized.”

“Neutralized.” Paul suddenly felt light-headed, like maybe he’d helped Layton finish off the bottle of Jack. “Look, Ms. Gardener, the two of us are on the same page here, and I assume you’re talking about Darlington and Weller.”

“And Susan Innes. He also has her now, though I’m sure Desiree didn’t tell you that.”

“Jesus,” he whispered, fighting the urge to hang on to the edge of the chair, which felt strangely unstable at the moment. “No she didn’t. Why not, is what I want to know?”

“Because you’ve been accusing her and Reese and Susan of … well of all sorts of things, and if you’ve talked to Layton and gotten the same responses I have then I’m sure you must understand that the three of them would like to keep the situation secret, and frankly the lives of Alonso and Michael may well have depended on it in the beginning, though now circumstances have changed.”

“And how exactly have they changed, Ms. Gardener?”

Her glasses slipped just the tiniest bit and his whole body erupted in goose flesh. He found that he desperately wanted to look away and yet at the same time, he never wanted to look away from her again. “Cyrus and his boss have my people, and they’re counting on me coming for them.” She pushed the glasses back up the bridge of her nose.

He swallowed hard with a throat that felt like it was full of sawdust. “What, you mean like an exchange – you for them?”

“More like I’m the cherry on the cake,” she said with a quirk of a smile.

He ran a hand over his stubble and puffed out a sharp breath. “So what exactly do you want from me, Ms. Gardener – a stake-out? Because if that’s the case, then you’re going to have to tell me exactly what the hell is going on before I put you, or my men, at risk.”

“Actually,” she stood and moved to pace the room, “I want to know what you know, Detective, and if you tell me what you know, I’ll tell you what you don’t know.” He was about to say that it didn’t work that way, when she continued. “For instance, I know that you and the lovely Dr. Margaret – she is delightful by the way – are battling with the fact that there just might be vampires in the world. I’ll make it easier for you. There are, lots of them, and yes both Desiree and Susan are vampires and Reese is the lover of one – Alonso Darlington. Though I reckon you’ve probably already figured that out – I mean about the two being lovers, since you’ve been in touch with the Cumbrian authorities.”

Paul heard everything after there are vampires in the world through a loud ringing in his ears, and the woman pacing back and forth in front of him seemed suddenly out of focus. She turned and settled herself on the edge of the desk looking down at him. “If you struggle with the existence of vampires, Detective, then the rest of the story is going to be a very hard pill for you to swallow.” The smile she offered him was empathetic and, to his surprise, she reached out and took his hand. “Detective you already know the monsters are real. You encounter them every day. While Desiree was shocked that she couldn’t glamour you, she shouldn’t have been. You have the capacity to understand the darkness better than most, Paul. I know this about you. I’ve done my research. You have the capacity to look for answers that others doubt, that others don’t believe possible. That being the case, why wouldn’t you be able to figure out for yourself that there are vampires and things much, much worse in the world? She gave his hand a squeeze and settled back on the desk. Her hair swayed as though it were suddenly caught in a breeze, “much worse.” Her voice was little more than a whisper and the look on her face was one of deep sadness. Paul just sat there. How could he respond to that? How could he respond to any of it?

“What do you want from me?” He managed at last, realizing that it was the question she should be asking him.

“I want you to help me find where Cyrus is keeping my people. I want you to take me to this place where you found Mr. Layton. I may be able to pick up something from it that you missed.” When he made no answer, she raised a golden eyebrow. “Detective?”

“She really did pull that man’s head off? Susan Innes did?”

“She did, yes, and that man was no man.”

“And she …”

“She healed Reese Chambers with her own blood, yes.”

“Jesus.” About now he was seriously wishing for his own bottle of Jack. “I can’t … How can I bring in the department on this? How can I get anyone to take me seriously about what you just told me – they already think I was drunk on my ass that night and that I went home with some bimbo.”

“It’s simple, Paul, you can’t bring them in.” She waved a hand dismissively, “Believe me it’s better that way. I have my own people and they’re prepared to deal with this sort of thing.”

“This sort of thing?” he snorted. “It happens often, does it?”

“More often that you would imagine. I clued you in because you basically already know, and because you can help. But you have to believe me when I tell you that stepping in yourself or bringing anyone else in will just get someone killed. I don’t want anyone killed, and I don’t want anything making us monsters look like the bad guys.”

“Us monsters?” he managed.

She gave him a bored look. “You knew that the moment you saw me, didn’t you?” She heaved a deep sigh and
shrugged her sweater down over her hips, “Look Paul, I can take from you what I need, and unlike Desiree, you won’t be able to stop me. I’m the one Cyrus and his people want for reasons that don’t concern you, reasons you and your whole department are far better off not knowing. What does concern you is that I can help you understand what’s going on and help you end it. What does concern you is that you’ll know the truth and if I believe you can live with it, which I do, then I won’t take it away from you when everyone is safe, and warm and happy at home again.” She gave him a look that felt like a warm buzz across his body and then she added. “There aren’t many people who really want the truth, Paul, but you do, and I believe you’re capable of handling it. What I want is your help to find the place where Cyrus is holding my people. The rest I can handle, and trust me, when I say, its better that way.”

 

The Eye of the Beholder Has its First Reading

I’ve done lots of readings from my work since my first one at Sh! several years ago. I love it. I love the interaction with the audience and I love the way it feels to be reading my story out loud. Well, Monday night that read-it-out-loud feeling got topped when, for the first time, OTHER people read my words out loud!

Monday night was the first read-through of my play, The Eye of the Beholder. I couldn’t have been more chuffed. Especially when my partner in the adventure, the delicious Moorita Encantada, showed me the room at the Green Carnation in Soho where she had arranged for the reading to take place –plush cushions, mirrored walls, thick velvet curtains. Someone commented that it looked a bit like an opium den. I don’t know about that, but it was Happy Hour with two-for-one cocktails and we had a bar tab! Cheers!

I brought the print copies of The Eye of the Beholder to pass out among our readers — those who wanted a print copy rather than to read from their iPads. To see even a rough copy of the play in print was a pretty cool experience for me. And I was very pleased when the room began to fill up with people, most of whom I’d never met before, who had responded to Moorita’s invite for readers. There were performers, dancers, actors, and people who were just friends of Moorita’s who showed up for the first ever reading. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

1016269_419906304789584_266530588_nWhen the gorgeous Rubyyy Jones, who had agreed to lead the evening’s read-through, arrived looking fabulous as ever, and everyone was well lubricated with pina coladas, French martinis and mojitos, the party could begin.

I have to admit I was more than a little bit nervous at that point, having discovered that I, as the playwright, (my goodness! Me, a playwright? How cool does that sound?) was traditionally supposed to read the stage directions. I Have to admit, it was not one of my finer moments as a reader. Talk about opening night jitters! Fortunately Rubyyy took pity on me and helped me out when I stumbled, which was frequently.

IMG00531-20130628-2133However! Everyone else was brilliant! And if it was amazing to read my own words out loud in front of an audience, it was even MORE amazing to hear other people reading my words out loud! It’s hard to explain how it made me feel, but definitely giddy is right in there. My words being well-read and even acted by some totally amazing people who came of their own free-will after having read the script did amazing things for my fragile little ego. We didn’t even have to bribe or cajole! (Well, unless you count the two for one cocktails, and how could we expect anyone to read with a dry throat?)

The reading of the script took a little over fifty minutes, but the play itself will probably be twice that long when the performance numbers are all added in. Really, the script is the basic story for the director to work around, and my job is to make sure that basic story is strong enough to inspire the creativity of whichever director takes it on.

After the read-through and a short break, then the brainstorming and the critiquing began. That took up the majority of the evening. The discussion was lively, positive and extremely helpful. I took notes fast and furiously, and I wished desperately I could have everyone read it through one more time. But, Rubyyy tells me that’s what happens next after my next rewrite. There’ll be at least one more read-through, then a walk-through. And then things get complicated, finding a director and a venue and casting the rolls and OMG! I had no idea! For those of you reading this who have some background in theatre, I do apologise for sounding like a total ignoramus, but I write novels, and writing a play and taking it to the performance level is a whole new animal. I’m still trying to get my head around the whole experience.

After 1st read-thru 1 July 2013Moorita has taken up the reigns since the basic writing is done, as she knows and understands the world of performance. I’m relieved to have that part in such capable hands. From the beginning Moorita has brainstormed with me and helped me to see what might work and what might not. Moorita has been the driving force from the beginning. The Eye of the Beholder would never have happened without her.

And now, it’s my turn again, as I face the challenge of the next rewrite. I’m on deadlines with the next Grace Marshall novel at the moment, but the next incarnation of The Eye of the Beholder is another challenge on my plate, and one I’m very much looking forward to. A very heart-felt thank you to all the lovely readers: Performers: Ava Iscariot, Annie Player, Miss Cairo Mascara, Davis Brooks, Lilly Snatchdragon, Sadie Sinner, Ursula Dares, Adela Apetroaia, Laurie Young, and Sarah Malter. And a special thanks to Rubyyy Jones and Moorita Encantada for making the first read-through of The Eye of the Beholder not only a success, but a totally fun time. You all rock!

 

The Many Faces of Moorita Part 2

Moorita 6I’d like to welcome back the fabulous Moorita Encantada. For those of you who missed Part I of this interview, Moorita is not only a fabulous performer with an amazing creative mind, but she’s also my  co-conspiritor for the play, The Eye of The Beholder.

Moorita is a versatile cabaret and variety performer, and an unforgettable stage persona. Her acts combine a professional touch of a trained theatre performer and musician with an outstanding originality and unrestrained creative expression.

Wild, unpredictable and ever surprising, she has already brought a breath of fresh air to cabaret stages in London and beyond. Her work has been applauded at UK’s best cabaret nights and venues such as Madame Jojo’s, Proud Cabaret, Volupté and The Wet Spot Leeds, as well as internationally. But the fulfilment of her bigger artistic vision is only about to happen..

KD: Moorita, as I told you when we began this project, it’s all new to me. I’ve never written for theatre of any kind. I’m a Moorita 8novelist, but fundamentally a story teller is a story teller, and a story told through the medium of performance as well as words is even more powerful. What do you think it takes to translate a story from the written word to a stage performance? What’s most important?

Moorita: From a perspective of a theatre performer I would say that precision, conciseness of the story line and integrity of characters is key. Both need to stir different emotions in the audience, they need to demand to be followed with attention. At the same time – maybe even more so in performance than literary works – the audience needs to be challenged in order to stay engaged. Art within a performance is so delicate and intangible, it’s what happens between the actor and the viewer within a certain time frame, and once it happened, then and there, it’s irretrievable. This means the performance is incredibly prone to a variety of things that might go wrong. Strong, integral story and well sketched characters are the spine of performance, the precious certainty in the middle of all the variables that holds it all together.

KD: As most people know by now, the story we’ve chosen to tell is the story of Medusa and Perseus, from Greek mythology, but with a very wicked, very exciting twist of our own. Could you tell us what attracted you to this particular story, other than me saying please, please, please can we do it!

Moorita: I’m very fond of mythology myself, after all, this – together with holy texts of different religions – is what our culture is built on. What’s amazing about the Bible, Quran, I Ching and Greek mythology is different layers of meanings waiting to be uncovered by a keen reader. What can be particularly satisfying is digging deeper into characters and stories that have a commonly accepted stereotype. One of such stories is the story of Perseus and Medusa, a mythical monster which ends up the way monsters are supposed to end up – dying a death that supports a “good” cause.

On second glance though, there seems to be more to Medusa, there is some controversy and a tragic story behind her becoming a monster (she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple and consequently “punished” by the goddess). Yet another look, and a fascinating character emerges – together with a whole lot of questions about what the real story behind the myth might be, or how the well-known story could be told differently. After I read your short story Stones from the anthology, Seducing the Myth, edited by Lucy Felthouse, I was hooked on the idea. I knew this would work incredibly well on stage.

KD: Moorita, my vision of the play was, for a long time, just to get it written down and give you something to work with. Oh yes, I was nervous about it! But now that it’s on paper, now that you’ve actually performed one fabulous scene from it to rave reviews, I might add, what is your vision for the road ahead?

  Moorita 4Moorita: Apart from being a mad creative genius 😉 I also have a pragmatic side, fully aware of what it takes to make complex, unproven things happen, and I’m very results oriented. My experience of creating great acts suggests that after a glorious moment of getting a key creative insight, there always comes a “reality test” when things start to feel a little awkward and you are no longer dead sure you are a mad genius. Only truly good ideas (coupled with big enough balls) can stand that test and get implemented with success.

After my performance at Sh! I’m convinced that the play, once on stage, will not only take burlesque to a new level, but, quite simply, will also be a box office success. I now have a clear vision of next steps: break the script into separate scenes that can be performed on their own, find fabulous performers to fill in the gaps between the words with their charisma, and let each of these acts defend itself in front of a real audience.

KD: Wow! I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Moorita, I happen to know for a fact that you’ll be giving another taste of Medusa, and The Eye of the Beholder in Scarborough for the fabulous Smut by the Sea event on the 22nd of June. Can you tell us a little bit about that and maybe tease us a bit with what you have in mind?

Moorita12Moorita: Oh I can definitely tease about Smut or indeed anything else for longer than you’d be able to take it 😉 My ambition for the 22nd of June is to perform, for the first time, a scene between two characters from the play. Without revealing all (just yet!) expect a serious sparkle between them and, quite possibly, some stunning Shibari bondage.

KD:  Oooh! Sounds fabulous! I can hardly wait! So, Moorita, my partner in crime and my friend, it’s been an exciting ride so far, and now, where do we go from here?

Moorita: Heh, I suppose it’s high time to get serious about taking over the world with our artistic vision! 😉 And, as Garbage put it in a song, “the world is not enough, but it is just the perfect place to start my love”.

KD: Thank you so much for your time, Moorita. I’m most definitely looking forward to the next chapter of world domination Moorita & KD style! And if any of you lovely readers are in the Scarborough area on the 22nd of June and have a hankering for some Smut by the Sea with a sexy helping of burlesque and theatre Moorita style, come join us!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

Site created and maintained by Writer Marketing Services | Sitemap
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial