|By Nina Matthews Photography|
*sits and whistles a spot of Tyketto while she waits*
Back? Good! I hope you enjoyed that, because I certainly enjoyed writing it. Well, once I figured out how to do it. My original story contained a lot more dialogue, but the first version made it too obvious who Christopher's blind date was before the final reveal. It was also too long, so I scrapped it. Nor did the story work in third person. I needed to switch it into first person in order to let Christopher explain why he'd willing let himself be picked up by a strange woman on behalf of someone else. In the first version, Christopher was an unwitting victim, led astray by simple curiosity, but I decided to make him a slimy con artist who gets his just desserts.
Why? Well, mostly because I love the character of Medusa, and I didn't want to portray her as a monster. I realised that classic mythology does exactly that, but I've always felt somewhat sorry for Medusa. She was originally a very beautiful woman, turned into a monster by the goddess Athena. She has several "origins stories" - in one, she descrates Athena's temple by sleeping with Poseidon, leading to Athena turning Medusa into a monster in a fit of pique. This particular legend also sees Medusa killed by Perseus, and her dead body gives birth to Pegasus (Medusa and Poseidon's son). In another legend, Medusa is not the femme fatale, but rather a beautiful mortal seduced by Poseidon in Athena's temple. Again, Athena loses her temper and turns Medusa into a monster, but she also grants her the power of turning people into stone. There is yet another legend in which Medusa is simply born hideous, and the shock of seeing her turns people to stone. At some point, her power was changed to only affect men.
So there was my construction of Medusa - beautiful but lonely woman hampered by an extreme disability, and unable to find a companion. In a way, her entire being has been destroyed by Poseidon's selfish act, and now Medusa has to live with the consequences. I added an extra layer of symbolism by naming her faithful servant Daphne - in Greek mythology, Daphne was a beautiful nymph pursued by Apollo. Determined to preserve her virginity and not predisposed to enjoy the attentions of a god, she prays to the river for help, and she is transformed into a laurel tree. Both Daphne and Medusa are punished for being attractive to men.
Enter sleazy Christopher, and the stage is set. I suppose it helps that one of my favourite songs is Heart's If Looks Could Kill, a revenge song from a woman to her unfaithful boyfriend. Medusa's last line of dialogue came from her as I was writing, although it's entirely possible that it's from the part of my consciousness that is crippled by self-esteem issues. However, I chose to keep Medusa hidden until the end as I wanted the first section to be very much from Christopher's point of view. We have no knowledge of the identity of his date until he does - although we escape being turned into stone and get to see Medusa's sad reaction. Sure, I could be accused of denying Medusa a voice or a point of view but that's not the point of this flash.
So there you have it! That's how I constructed the flash. Any questions?