"Homer's odysseus is a man who wants to eat the world." Anne Carson, "Contempts"
"Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way; it's a good way to be." Johnny's letter to Ponyboy in S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders
Here are odysseys, meaning stories about people who started at home and are trying to get back to it. They are heroes moving moving moving, holding their ground, meeting monsters. They are curious and scared and lusty. I think a lot about the odyssey right now you guys, about leaving to come back truer and cloaked, and stay. To come back to love. To Argus. In some cases I probably archived with a romanticism not intended by my sources--so thank you for allowing me that liberty.
Everything here is from GRAPE POP, the Tumblr I used to keep, or the moodboard I keep now, for the novel I'm writing. To shape I used italics from my ninth grade English study packet, which had excerpts from W.H. Auden's The Quest Hero. Most importantly, a huge thanks to Bright Stupid Confetti, for being so awesome for so long.
I. Homer calls on the muse
And whoever listens to me: being
there, and not being, lost and found
and lost again: Thank you for the feather on my tongue,
thank you for our argument that ends,
thank you for my deafness, Lord, such fire
from a match you never lit.
Ilya Kaminsky, from "Deaf Republic: 14." "This story of a pregnant woman and her husband living during an epidemic of deafness and civil unrest was found beneath the floorboards in a house in Eastern Europe. Several versions of the manuscript exist."
Fred Frith, Iva Bittovà, and Pavel Fajt, "Morning Song"
Why does Homer begin in the middle of the story?
George Kuchar, "Wild Night In El Reno." "This movie began the weather diary cycle . . . The motel I was staying at [was] the only one that had an underground cellar. This was comforting when twisters threatened but was not well managed as the doors were unhinged making it more like sliding open a lid rather than opening a portal."
"The persistent appeal of the Quest as a literary form is due, I believe, to its validity as a symbolic description of our subjective experience as historical." (Auden)
Mike Getsiv, via Abstract Comics. "This is a folk tale about traveling to another land, fighting in a battle, and coming home drunk."
Warja Lavater, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Maeght éditeure)
Matt Madden, page from 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (adapted from Queneau)
Mentes flies away! So Telemakhos guesses that his visitor is a god.
Carlo Polito, of Bianca Passarge in 1958, age 17. "Her performance was based on a dream and she practiced eight hours every day."
(defeats Ares, God of War)
(defeats Ares, God of War)
Men and Sia, "Credit Card Babies" via Joly MacFie's Punkcast
Conductor of dead souls, divine herald
Master thief and patron of businessmen
Bill-Dale Marcinko, AFTA (Ascension from the Ashes). "I have lived in New Jersey all my life. I have wobbled between the simple strength and good country wisdom of small towns and big families and the intellectual cynicism of the big cities. My idols are Woody Allen and Bruce Springsteen. I have always been at war with myself. I write. When I write, I think I am building highways where people can escape their towns when the mines close down . . . The model for AFTA is a broken down roller coaster at Bertrand's Island Amusement Park in Hopatcong, NJ. I want to fill it with bumps and twists."
Why hasn't Odysseus been able to get home?
Brecht Evens, The Wrong Place
This was the Green Day I loved: tangled up in a pile on the floor, with me underneath. What other old friends of mine still danced in public and were still unafraid to embarrass themselves? Only Eggplant came to mind. He would have enjoyed this.
Mike extricated himself from the pile-up but let the needle spin in the grooves at the end of the disc. There was a momentary lull while everyone dusted themselves off and attended to their injuries. Billie motioned to me to join him on the dance floor. Over the speakers came the notes that never failed to give me goosebumps: the opening chords of the greatest song of all time, "Kiss Me Deadly" by Generation X.
Dancing in the middle of a maelstrom was different than with just one person in the center of the room. I deferred, but Billie knew me better than that. "Please drag me out onto the dance floor," is what I really meant.
He did, and everyone else gave us space.
I'd needed to shake off the self-consciousness and lethargy that had come to me with age. Touring with Green Day had been great for that, because I got to dance--but only to the band, not with them. Once upon a time, Billie and I had danced together at every show. Until now, I hadn't realized how much I had missed that.
Dancing together was sexy, it was sweet. It was everything that friendship--and being on tour--should be. It was the prom night I never had, done right.
It was like a dream. As the song concluded, he wrapped me in his arms, leaned me over, and gave me a long and tender kiss.
I went to sleep grinning and woke up the same way, thinking: "Goddamn if that wasn't one of the funniest fucking nights of my life!"
Aaron Cometbus, Cometbus 54: in China with Green Day ?!!
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled (Perfect Lovers)"
Arabelle and her dad, "Amazing Technicolor Hair Dyeing" at Rookie
The houses in the village were all rose-colored. We painted them every spring and maybe for that reason the light was different. It captured the pink from the houses, the same way it took on the color of leaves and sun by the river. Shut inside in winter, we made horsetail paintbrushes with handles of wood and wire, and when we had finished them, we stored them in the shed in the Plaça and waited for good weather. Then all of us, men and boys, would set out for the cave on Maraldina in search of the red powder we needed for pink paint. The mountain was covered with heather and crowned by the dead tree, and the wind whistled through the brush. We climbed down to the cave along a knotted rope that had been fastened to a stake. The man who led the way carried a lamp. We lowered ourselves into the damp, black, well; it was streaked with veins that would glisten in the sun, then slowly extinguish as we moved deeper and darkness fell, swallowing everything. Through the well we entered the cave, which was like the mouth of the infirm: red and damp. We filled our sacks with powder, tied them tight, and the men who stayed above hoisted them up and stacked them, one on top of the other. When we returned to the village, we would mix the crimson powder with water to make the pink paint that winter would erase. In spring--the blossoming, blooming wisteria draping the houses, bees buzzing--we painted. And suddenly the light was different.Merce Rodoreda, Death in Spring
Here is what I know: use carnaroli rice, not arborio (more amylose = creamier, less gluey). Use fresh vegetables, good stock, good wine, fresh black pepper. Fresh everything, the freshest you can find. You are making a national rice dish, not the penne primavera at Tommy's Family Restaurant in North Bellmore. This is food you can take a bow about . . ."Risotto," Porn Soda
Describe Odysseus' encounter with the Lotos-Eaters.
Who is Polyphemos? What kind of creature is he? Be specific.
Muppets (adapted from chenille hats!) by Caroly Wilcox
How does Odysseus manage to escape from the Kyklops?
Luce and Pierre Morel, Glo-Glo le poisson-rouge, via 50 Watts
Who is Aiolos and how does he assist Odysseus?
T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir, "Ship Without A Sail" (Light in the Attic Records)
Describe Odysseus' encounter with the Laistrygonians.
X: They row
The idea behind making those tapes was to create a musical trip starting at one tempo and building it to another level. I would vari-speed the songs slowly so the intensity would be building all the time.
Tom Moulton to Donald A. Guarisco
John Divola, Dogs Chasing My Car In The Desert
Geoffrey Jones, Snow with soundtrack by Daphne Oram
Lord of the Sky; The Thunderer; The Cloud-Gatherer
I am conscious of myself as unique--my goal is for me only--and as confronting an unknown future; I cannot be certain in advance whether I shall succeed or fail in achieving my goal. (Auden)
Guy Ben-Ner and his daughter Elia, Moby Dick
Jack Hannah, Lambert the Sheepish Lion
Jim Woodring, Visions of Frank animated by T. Fuyama
Who are Skylla and Kharybdis? What happens when Odysseus meets them?
Danny Plotnick, Skate Witches
0. Prologue: the Tentacular NovumChina Miéville, "M.R. James and the Quantum Vampire" in Weird Fiction Review
Taking for granted, as we do, its ubiquitous cultural debris, it is easy to forget just how radical the Weird was at the time of its convulsive birth. Its break with previous fantastics is vividly clear in its teratology, which renounces all folkloric or traditional antecedents . . .
Lesser gods and creatures: IRIS, goddess of rainbow
Tauba Auerbach, "RGB Colorspace Atlas"
Fruit Bats, "Rainbow Sign"
What advice does Athena give Telemakhos?
The Mountain Goats, "You Were Cool"
Describe the reunion between Odysseus and his son.
My cat is back. Quacking and faking blindness but back.
Mary Robison, Why Did I Ever
How did Odysseus receive his name?
Where, according to Penelope, do dreams come from?
The Ideal School Supply Company, Forming Sounds via Public Collectors
Describe the behavior of the Suitors. Be specific; use examples.
I have always had a poor understanding of how one thing fits into another. As a child I thought Santa Claus was a property of chimneys, ate fortune cookies whole, and was phobic of sleeping bags. For some reason the hardest thing for me has been to differentiate between coffins and hot dog buns. I apologize in advance for my behavior at your barbecue and/or funeral.
Sarah Galvin, "Midnight Haiku" at The Stranger
Describe the reunion between Penelope and Odysseus. What convinces Penelope that the "stranger" is indeed her husband?
Linda Bruner, "Wichita Lineman" (Numero Group)
What is the situation on Ithaka when the Odyssey ends?
Nathaniel Russell, "Fliers and fake books"
I think he's a real hero. A lot of people who have read the novel think that Stoner had such a sad and bad life. I think he had a very good life. He had a better life than most people do, certainly. He was doing what he wanted to do, he had some feeling for what he was doing, he had some sense of the importance of the job he was doing. He was a witness to values that are important . . . The important thing in the novel to me is Stoner's sense of a job. Teaching to him is a job--a job in the good and honorable sense of the word. His job gave him a particular kind of identity and made him what he was . . . It's the love of a thing that's essential. And if you love something, you're going to understand it. And if you understand it, you're going to learn a lot. The lack of love that defines a bad teacher . . . You never know all the results of what you do. I think it all boils down to what I was trying to get at in Stoner. You've got to keep the faith. The important thing is to keep the tradition going, because the tradition is civilization.