coffee with Congreve.


the latest Requested Materials from the Los Angeles County Library have arrived!

(or, more correctly, we went to Pick them Up from the shelf and ran our fingers delicately across the tomes looking for the piece of paper sticking up with our original RL surname thereupon)

and so we spent many happy hours late (a bit too late, actually, tired eyes behind reading glasses, finally forced to capitulate and set aside) and a little this morning, with our dark embrace of caffeine…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhere are just two for your delight – – – – – –

From Hymn to Aphrodite:

Sing, Muse, the Force, and all-informing Fire
Of Cyprian Venus, Goddess of Desire:
Her Charms, th’Immortal Minds of Gods can move,
And tame the stubborn Race of Men to Love.
The wilder Herds and ravenous Beasts of Prey,
Her influence feel, and own her kindly Sway.
Thro’ pathless Air, and boundless Ocean’s Space,
She rules the feather’d Kind and finny Race;
Whole Nature on her sole Support depends,
And far as Life exists, her Care extends.

William Congreve, 1710

[Aphrodite and Anchises]

Bright as the Moon she shone, with silent Light.
And charm’d his Sense with Wonder and Delight.

William Congreve, 1710

According to our friends at the Oxford University Press*, these extracts are both from what are known as The Homeric Hymns – a collection of thirty-three poems in epic style composed between the eighth and sixth centuries BC and addressed to various divinities, falsely attributed to Homer.

*and may we say how Modern it is that the OUP (may we be so familiar?) are doing ‘Print-on-Demand’ (top right, of this catalogue page)- – gosh.

of course one does Wonder who these poets were that wrote the Original versions in the once-Ancient Greek and didn’t sign their name so they were passed over by the mists of time and Mr. Homer took the credit (or his Publishers did)?

having done a little ghost-writing-for-executives in our time *coughs* we know the feeling of our words being attributed to Others.


and back to Classical Greece.

you see we’ve decided to put the Hollywood Novel on hold for a moment and adapt the Goddess of Donal Bay (which, strictly speaking is Set in Los Angeles, and there are definite Hollywood Moments).

we wrote it as a screenplay a few years ago and feel ready to write at length to make it (or reveal it, depending on one’s opinion of how-books-are-written) a Novel.

such fun.

we LOVED writing the classical Muses.

the gowns alone…..

CLIO, another muse ENTERS. She flies off the top of the stacks.


Clio is as beautiful as Calliope. And mad as hell.

CLIO We’ve been watching you.

Calliope looks guilty. Clio grabs her arm and shows her a whole stack of self-help books.

CLIO (CONT’D) They call it self-help. Humans buy these books to make them feel better. But they don’t do the work.

CALLIOPE I was just trying to help. They invented these life coach people and said they were the new muses.

CLIO Why did you take on human form? It’s forbidden. You are confusing the human incarnations. You wrote a book with your picture on it, your image is displayed in permanent daylight on those billboards out there, you were on the machine!

CALLIOPE They call it television.

CLIO I don’t care what they call it.

CALLIOPE I’ve been kissed. Clio is stopped in her tracks. Her eyes fill with emotion.

CLIO What was it like?

CALLIOPE Like nothing I have ever experienced.

oh yes.

This is going to be a delicious distraction.

excuse us while we return to Bryon’s translation of Catullus and enjoy (is this possible?) our (small) bowl of Special K (the cereal, not the narcotic).


28 thoughts on “coffee with Congreve.

  1. muses. hmmm! j’adore. lovely, mischievous, capricious, and so perfect. after all, gloria is a kind of a modern muse too, and you’re already acquainted.

    funny thing: I am inspired by slightly different mythological creatures for my berlin-based graphic-novel kind of story. but then I’m a blood&gore kind of gal ;)

      1. :D

        I also find it very exciting that so many people are as concerned with health and “real” sustainability questions as I am, or as my inner circle are… it gives hope when the days are seemingly filled with greed and ignorance

    1. you’re on.

      we’ll write the novel.

      then when they say “this will make a great movie” we’ll show them the screenplay but say “our friend coulda shoulda woulda said she’d collaborate with us on a BBC costume drama”

      wouldn’t that be delicious?

        1. you’ll need a gorgeous cast, of course. chastain-ish. sleek. fabulous. eye candy of that slow, building, then crushing-all-on-their-way kind when you start finding flaws nothing but perfect.

            1. oh yes! for example calliope could do with a slight and weird accent (part authentical, part exagerated) that’s sometimes stronger and sometimes gone

                1. hmmm, yes, fabulous (the other pope)!
                  there’s also a very interesting type of la Arlesienne, I’m sure Heather can help out ;) (also Mr Durrell)

                    1. laurence, yes; his book about La Provence made me love it before actually rushing there to find some of that beauty :)
                      and as for gerald, I grew up with his “family and other animals” trilogy. as old-fashioned and pretentious this might sound: my parents and I used to read out from those books – until The Inquisition aka Mum ostracised book #2 for utterly mild sexuality :)))

                2. oh gosh, forgot completely to tell you that our lovely Miss J. has my letter to you! :) which is technically a two-part message (March and June)

      1. Alas, only in my tiny way. I certainly remember with my travel articles the moment that I would come up with my opening quote (usually a zinger, like for the piece on the Surma tribe in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley: ‘Now I go to drink the blood’), I could not WAIT to put all of the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together.

do say something - do :-)

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

You are commenting using your 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