Myth Mondays: Behind the Scenes with Stones by K D Grace
Please welcome K D Grace to Myth Mondays for her post on Stones, which is featured in Seducing the Myth. Take it away, K D….
My first fascination with Medusa was really a fascination with Perseus and Andromeda by way of studying the constellations in sixth grade science class. I was assigned the constellation, Andromeda, and though I didn’t retain much of the cool astronomical stuff until much later, I never forgot the story, in fact it was my introduction to Greek Mythology, which I’ve loved ever since. In the story of Perseus and Andromeda, Perseus, with lots of help from the gods, saves Andromeda from a horrible sea monster by turning the sea monster to stone with the head of Medusa, which the gods also graciously helped him separate from Medusa’s body. And of course he would have needed the help of the gods, as one look at Medusa would turn anyone to stone.
It was much later that I learned Medusa’s side of the story, and it’s very much a tragedy. Medusa was the beautiful daughter of two sea deities. She was so exquisite that Poseidon took a fancy to her, and Poseidon always got what he wanted, so he chased her into the temple of Athena, where she should have been safe. But he raped her there. Athena’s response was not to punish Poseidon or even comfort poor Medusa, but instead, Athena punished the victim by making it so anyone who looked into Medusa’s eyes would be turned to stone. The story of Medusa’s rape by Poseidon probably represents the subjugation of the gods and goddesses of a civilization the Greeks conquered. Stories of rape were a common way of showing the subjugation of local deities to the deities of the conquerors.
In some versions of the story, Athena also makes Medusa ugly, and gives her snakes for hair. In other versions, it’s Medusa’s terrible beauty that is too much for the human eye to behold, but the end result is the same, anyone who looks into her eyes turns to stone.
In Seducing the Myth, my story, Stones, speculates on what might happen if Medusa had not been killed by Perseus, but is instead alive and well and living a secretive life in a decaying mansion in some suburb in the States. She might be calling herself Magda Gardener, but she’s complete with all the psychological baggage from her past life as a myth. And now, she simply wants what every woman wants — a normal life with a chance at happiness and love.
She also wants an orderly garden, so she hires Paul Danson to restore the mansion’s gardens to their former glory and to pay special care to the statuary, which has sentimental value to her. When Paul Danson finds himself drawn into a strange world of nightmares and lust he begins to suspect that there may be more to the reclusive Magda that meets the eye, and yet there is no denying the attraction.
I found it very difficult to stick to the 4K word limit on this story because Magda/Medusa’s life in the modern world just became more and more intriguing as I wrote. It was almost like she was whispering in my ear. Fortunately, I didn’t look her in the eye, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be revisiting her and Paul Danson in something considerably longer when I get the chance.
Find out how to bag your copy of Seducing the Myth here.