Chapbook-Fruit of the Dead Inspiration and Extract

Hello everyone! Guess what news I have for you today? My first chapbook is here! This is my first published book!

14890388_1673280589629810_3044153097659701500_o

All the Gods have a plan for the young Goddess Persephone and her love life; however, she only wishes to pick flowers.

About the chapbook:

A chapbook is a small paper book filled with less then 40 poems that maintain the same theme. My chapbook is the story of Persephone and Hades, and how everyone has a plan for Persephone’s love life when all she cares for is to pick flowers. This is a coming of age story of Persephone from maiden to Queen. I did change some of the story to put more of a feminist edge to the tale; however, I still maintain important details.

There is many different elements that went into the writing of this chapbook. I have always wanted to write an Epic because of my love for Greek mythology and the Iliad and Odyssey. My Sophomore year of college at Mt. Sac I took a mythology class with the now head of the English department Professor Whalen. She introduced me to the story of Persephone, and when first encountering this story I felt that it was a tragedy.

Professor Whalen assigned extra credit which was a visit to the Getty Villa in Malibu. I was so excited to finally visit a museum with something I was interested in. I was someone who found museums boring.

p1010246

My dad took a trip out with me, and there was a bust of Persephone’s head and to my surprise she was smiling. I also heard a retelling of Persephone’s attempt to escape the underworld. I asked Professor Whalen about this and she said that Persephone was able to obtain her own Kingdom and it was not necessarily a tragedy, and she was interested in the different interpretation of her escape.

In the Getty Villa garden is a pomegranate tree that is there for the story of the Persephone. The Pomegranate plays a pivotal role in her journey. The pomegranate fruit ,like the moon, is interpreted as an feminine symbol due to cutting open one the  inside is similar to an ovary.

What finally forced me to sit down and write Persephone’s story was a workshop at the DA gallery where artist and writers work together to inspire each other’s work. My partner and I chose Persephone’s and Hades’ story. Two years later my friend Thomas R. Thomas inquiring people about publishing a chapbook at this years Writers Day Weekend, and I presented him the story I wrote for the workshop.

This story might not be as long as a typical epic; however, I still would like people to think of it as short Epic because it is a journey of a girl becoming a woman.

The interesting thing about this story is how it was produced in three different stages of my life. Written when I was in an emotionally crazy relationship, sent to the publisher when I was single, and is now available when I am in a new relationship.

 

 

Here is a short extract from the chapbook:

Prologue

New flowers are born

When Spring time blooms.

Birds will sing

Mocking people who try to sleep.

The air smells of pollen making

Some happy, and some sneeze.

 

Summer arrives, and

Days grow long and hot.

Maidens, shed their clothes like molting feathers.

Boys’ eyes wander to parts of

Girls’ bodies they have never seen

Before. The youths come together,

And make quick decisions that affect the

Rest of their lives.

 

Autumn comes around, and

The leaves change colors,

Falling to the ground as

The sun sets sooner.

People must forget about the euphoria

Of summer and harvest their food,

Since the season of death will

Arrive soon.

 

The arms of trees become bare,

And anything reminding one of

Warmth withers away with the plants

In winter.

People are forced to have holiday cheer,

And required to see family

They had reasons to not speak to that year.

 

The story of why the seasons change

Is one that concerns a kidnapped maiden,

A Goddess believing she is fairer

Than the rest, and a custody battle full

Of incest.

 

Lord of the Dead

Hades—

 

Silly mortals die

When the fates cut

Their fragile threads.

 

Down into the earth they plunge

Across the river Styx.

They enter my kingdom

Floating before my throne.

The beings are only

Shades of the mortal that

Once was.

So hollow and boring

There is no need to talk.

 

I roll my eyes, and wave

Them along to which section

Of the underworld they belong.

 

Gardens for the dead are

As boring as those who live in them.

Only the garden of eternal suffering

Can hold any interest.

However, watching

Mortals’ souls suffer,

Is boring and the screams

Will give even me, the earth shaker,

A headache.

 

Alone in the dark,

I sit here bored, stroking

Cerberus’s three heads.

 

With no wars,

Being Lord of the Dead is

Tedious. The days of battle

Were quite pleasurable.

I snuck up on warriors, and

Gave them a quick death. Now my

Invisible helmet sits on a mantle

Rusting.

 

My brother has to claim

“This will be a time of peace.”

I should have stayed a prisoner

In my father’s stomach. There

I had the company of

My sisters, while darkness

Surrounded us.

 

Zeus rescued my sisters and me.

After we won the Titan’s war he granted

The underground kingdom as a gift to me,

To rule the dead.

 

Who can be king when no

Conflicts arises between one’s subjects?

The dead do not fight, steal, nor even talk.

They just float here and moan like chirping

Birds, an annoying noise that forces

Me to believe my mighty brother

Only placed me down here so

He is not concerned

With the annoying dead.

 

A volcano rumbles, and Cerberus

Whines. The volcano’s eruption

Causes cracks of daylight to

Glare in my kingdom.

 

Fixing those holes will

Give me something to do.

I wonder how much the

Surface has altered

Since that war has ended.

 

A war that concerned a

Single beautiful woman.

What a silly mortal that once prince

Is. Why would he grow so

Obsessed with his love for one woman?

 

Up to the blinding surface I go,

Thinking:

Being Lord of the dead

Is boring, with no battles

And bloodshed.

 

 

 

Want a copy?

The cost is only $5.00 when contacting me

or $7.00 when contacting:

http://www.arroyosecopress.org

or

https://www.facebook.com/arroyosecopress/?pnref=story

 

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank my parents for always encouraging me to write. My mom for teaching me how important imagination is, and my dad for always reminding me when he has not seen me write for a while. My best friend, Elisa, who always told me I would have a book published some day. Thomas R. Thomas and Arroyo Seco Press for actually making my dreams come true. Professor Whalen for introducing me to the story of Persephone and being a kindred spirit with me when it comes to mythology. To Carly for starting this project with me. To my two mentors: John Brantingham who always encourages his students to write, and Carole Avila who always fed me at school and edits for me. Finally, to my boyfriend, Nick, our love might just be starting but you are always my biggest inspiration in life.

-Francesca

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s