(TYIP) Hibiscus

One time I wrote a story about a woman with steadfast eyes, a surgeon whose little island saw pirate flags approaching and closed upon itself, held its breath.

My girl left her little house, though, when she was called to the ship to treat an illness that was eating away at the crew. I wrote her amputating a man’s leg because she saw no other choice, then I wrote her watching, with an enduring heart, her husband slowly dying.

That story sits abandoned in my drafts, an old, dusty thing— descriptions of island plants and thatched roofs, of an unlikely affinity growing between a criminal and a doctor. I went back to it when I meant to write about hibiscus flowers and what they signify, and found that I’d written my doctor as the embodiment of that flower with no inhibitions. I wrote delicate beauty literally; deft hands and a tender appearance, but a roaring heart in her still. It sounds as though it will shatter, that beauty, but I see it as a fleeting thing, something hopelessly alluring but unafraid to leave; and even if it weakens and withers and dies, it remains tethered to you, like a single gentle breeze on a sweltering day.

Anyway, it’s a waste to leave it unread forever, so here’s a relevant little piece of it:

“Nothing about the affair was effortless, but he could see it, the efficiency of a doctor, comparable to the best naval surgeon he’d seen, mapping the joint and finding the last of the broils, and the first motion and the blood, and other than his first mate tying the limb tight and holding its owner up, she had no hands to assist, none to wipe the sweat beading on her brow.”

(Really, will I ever stop writing about women being so fierce, so fearless? I don’t think so.)

Flower prompt: Hibiscus— delicate beauty, glory, immortality.

(TYIP) Poppies

I lost myself

In the vast wonder of my mind

In the ethereal loneliness of

The folds of my dress

In colors of sunrises

And sunsets.

There’s no pain here, lining

the final whispers of joy

and cheer, of sorrow

But then I find myself

Growing

Prying peace from

the very end

Claiming it mine

Touching my dream

Barely, tenderly,

With fractions of the light.

Flower prompt: poppies— eternal dreams, sleep, peace, death.

On Ash and War Between Us

Hello!

I’ve password protected my previous post because I thought no one would be interested, but I just noticed that it’s gotten quite a lot of hits. I put a lot of time and effort into it but don’t feel ready to have it posted in the open yet. Would be happy to give you the password if you DM’d me on instagram or on twitter 💓

I C A R U S

 

Speak to me

about the son of Daedalus

who tasted upon his lips

her freedom

and upon his eyelids

her warmth

Speak to me

about his wings that gave in

plunged him, watched his being

shatter as it struck sea

his delirious soul, drunk on innocence

on sin

Speak to me

about my pristine self

as my back meets the harness

and my new wings

as I stand on the edge,

as the Sun beckons

freedom

 

 

 

Life updates you don’t really need: Heroes

Hello hello!

(Contrary to the popular belief, I am actually ALIVE and well, thank you for asking.)

I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and healthy 💫

The reason I haven’t been active here at all is that I’ve actually been working on a single project for over a month now (can you believe it? ME? not stuck in a writing block??). It is pathetically short for the amount of time I’ve spent working on it so far, but I’m honestly somewhat proud of how meticulous my efforts have been. An excerpt of it can be found on my Instagram page inkofhers .

I don’t know what kind of exceptional feelings I have towards this piece, but I think I will not be posting it publicly. Still unnamed for now, it retells the story of Hector and Andromache from the Iliad. Fleshing out characters ends up making you fall in love with them slowly (or: your version of them). I’ve always liked Hector, found him one of the few (relatively) sensible men in Greek Mythology, but while Andromache had a little role in the Iliad itself, discovering a strong woman while reading more into it is making me want to do her justice. I knew I wanted to retell this specific story since listening to a podcast about the Trojan War last year, so I’m glad I finally managed to pick it up. Little victories deserve celebrations.

On reading: I’ve mainly been listening to audiobooks lately, and happened to find my first 5-star book of the year. It’s an insanely intriguing non-fiction about Henrietta Lacks’s life and her immortal line of cells. Although it was published a decade ago, I’ve only personally heard one person talk about it in real life. Please give it a shot, it’s a story about humanity and science, and the ethics of both. Another audiobook is Heroes by Stephen Fry (you KNOW I’d sneak Greek mythology in here somewhere). Enjoyed listening to it on my way to and from work, and I’m just grateful Achilles wasn’t included as a hero. Let’s discuss: Achilles is a man-child that moped around for 10 years and– I’m honestly trying my best not to go off on a rant about him at this point. Finally, My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay was a poetic and beautifully written account of a child growing up in care, and all the horrors that come with it.

Maybe this is a tiny celebratory section for myself. I’ve been reading and writing more, finding happiness again after I couldn’t see it for a while. Sometimes I dip, but I am healing; I know I am.

Thank you if you’re still reading. Be good!

IoH is finally on insta

One of the things I’ve been trying to get myself to do (but couldn’t because I never had the energy to) is expand to other platforms. I think I’ve grown too used to WordPress, and it’s gotten stale. So I decided to start an instagram page, then I decided not to- then I forced myself to, and here we are: Inkofhers. Can this account get a quick “May your owner not abandon you,” prayer? Ameen.

 

E U R Y D I C E

Owing to the Sun’s mournful song, hearts flourish in Grief and Death, and in the other dwellers of the Underworld.

Harpies and centaurs cease their horrors. Hecate eases her burden and the Erinyes their punishments. Even Cerberus tore away with no command, and had all six of his ears lifted, alert. Old wandering souls stilled, solemn after centuries of wailing. They had been searching for meaning or purpose, a reminder of life; maybe in this mortal, they see it.

Orpheus’s is grief that touches even them— these wicked, hideous things, these feared strays. They have no empathy to speak of, no awareness nor heart, but hers had longing roots; it was one beating still. While the guest  fills their realm with the strings of his lyre, that heart breaks at music like dimmed sunlight.

She looks to her companion, finds his features tense and stern. He governs so, and it is the way things are. His subjects are empty, nothing but bones, bare and made of smoke, their ribs covering hollowness as devoid as the Underworld itself. Some were humans once, and upon their arrival they would retain their form— phantom flesh and skin, but not for long.

His ways were born from from loss and necessity. Early, he realized that only reign over this abode is one with no remorse. He has never been passive, but has honored a decision and a responsibility when he was given the Underworld, and an agreement when she gave herself to him. That responsibility he made entirely his, ruled with virtue and the weight of circumstance, and under his laws all was equal. True to his old self, he remains sober and restrained— the most disciplined of his brothers. But she knows that in part, his dispassion is an act; she knows that, under that exterior of steel and ice, he is no stranger to tender perceptions.

So, “Will you not give him a chance?” Persephone asks.

“It is unheard of,” Hades simply retorts. It is a cold, dry aggravation, not like the vicious wrath that often follows those who try to leave the Underworld. “Soon he shall fall hungry and eat from this realm,” he continues, looking at Orpheus in the distance. “Then they will become reunited for eternity.”

“She still bears the marks of the viper,” she says at length. “What a painful death that must have been.”

“And what mercy is there in sending her to live and die again?”

“She deserves a gentler death, a swift passing in old age,” Persephone presses, her palms facing upwards, gesturing at the delicate, grieving melody. “Listen! How loved she is!”

“Compassion is unbefitting to the Underworld,” he tells her, and harshly tucks what else he wants to say between his teeth. His brows are drawn together, casting a flinty shadow on his eyes. He is not angry, she realizes with delight; he is doubting. Hades is dreading that soon, he will yield.

Stifling her amusement, “is it now?” she playfully says. “Strange. I hear its Patron would ascend to earth to seek his consort if her return was delayed by so much as a single day.”

After earning an exasperated sigh, Persephone holds her hand to his chest, finding the steady thump underneath. She wonders if the Ichor running through them both will endure all the coming eternities; she considers death and its decisiveness, the finality.

“They call us immortals,” she tells him. “Do you believe we are so?”

“No,” he says, simply, his black eyes tight on Orpheus. “The desire to be brought my Father’s doom upon him.”

He was the oldest of his siblings, but is the youngest now— the last to leave the bleak shadows of their Father. Persephone muses, runs her hands through the streaks of silver in his hair. Like mortals, he is ageing, his features etched deeper with lore and conflict.

“Can you bear the thought of parting?”

His eyes then find her, and he rises from his seat. “From Demeter? I’d be elated,” he says dryly.

She laughs in surprise. “Well, I like it, the notion of the end. It would bring closure to you and me when we grow tired of ruling.” In the lines of his face she notices an old, wistful sadness. There was no trace of it when earth first split in half and she saw nothing but darkness and his figure, beckoning silently. None of that sadness adorned his face until she began disarming him, undoing that tenacious exterior and finding the truth beneath. It came with his affections, with the solemn acceptance of an inevitable conclusion. Smiling, she continues. “I hope that should Death come, it comes for us both.”

“Yes,” he says, easing.

“You will have to pass first,” she teases. “You are accustomed to waiting..” Her words are split apart by giggles when Cerberus arrives and circles her legs as she pet his heads. “Besides, I do not want you to wind up like poor Orpheus.”

He gives in to a gruff chuckle. “Are you planning my demise to become the solitary ruler of the Underworld?” He says, his voice lighter and lined with mirth, and his gaze gentler. She knows that that is his truth, finds it with an old familiarity when he claims her with the names of red gemstones.

“I could be,” she retorts, considering the unspoken proposal all that time ago. Seven pomegranate seeds that she, with thorough awareness of what they meant, ate with no hesitation. “You should let him take his wife and go,” continues Persephone afterwards, turning her back to him and letting the hound lead her back to the music. “We all know you couldn’t afford another competitor for Cerberus’s affections.”

 

 

 

 

 

(don’t) Live

Run

What from? I would

Ask my dread

But instead it pried open

my ribs, crushed this heart

and, run

it planted into it

Run from what?

Run

until your lungs can carry air no longer

That was then,

be still

Now it tells,

very still

But why?

rest your back upon earth

let her claim you again

But how?

let her vegetate and grow her

life upon you, crush you

with fear, and the weight of your sins

I see,

be still

be earth

I see,

until your lungs carry air no longer

Women of iron (excerpt)

Here’s a part from the WIP project I talked about in my last post:


 

“And truly, she is made of iron. I saw her sail, saw her wrench the authority from Captain during a storm, and command from the stern men twice her size. From the day she planted her sea legs on the deck of that ship we’d recognised her a formidable opponent, then a certain leader, honed and chiseled into discipline by years she’d spent in suffering. She then became either too unafraid to die, or too confident of her plans to overtake Captain, who later gave her his heart and his fortune, and made her his wife.

Lady Eboshi didn’t shy away– took the love and gold he granted, and his heart. I saw her standing over his body that night, when his hometown was burning to the ground. Her dagger had sliced open his jugular, and like the wild creatures she’s always condemned, she carried the stench of blood in her very being.”