The Athena Effect

Athena: Greek Goddess of wisdom, reason, justice, handicraft and agriculture. The legend of Athena is that she came into the world when she burst forth out of Zeus’ head fully formed and that she was his most beloved daughter.

I had a Zeus moment. I gave birth.

Upon the completion of my first piece of flash fiction ever, The Teacups and the Tempest, I felt like all the pressure and anxiety in my brain to write something, ANYTHING, came bursting out in a flood. This was it. This was the start of it all. As soon as the last period was in place and I pushed the blue “Publish” button, it felt like a mantle was put around my shoulders. (Maybe it was a cape because I felt like a frickin’ super hero!) It was light and warm and made me sigh with contentment. I felt like Athena herself, goddess of wisdom, was telling me that this is what was supposed to happen all along. THIS is what it’s all for.

Then she turned me gently toward my blank notebook and sat me down and said, now do it again.  So I am.

I don’t really have adequate words to explain this, which is shameful because I’m a writer. I should be able to describe this you in a way you would understand but I really can’t. It’s too personal and too…BIG. I started this Blog to document my journey as a writer and so far, the only writing I’d actually been doing was articles. I mean, I LIKE doing the blog thing. It’s kept me on a schedule and forced me to write regularly, which was one of the worst habits I had of NOT doing. But I finished an actual story, beginning to end (all in one go I might add. I pantsed the whole thing.) That, in and of itself, is a damn miracle. I hadn’t written anything shorter than a novella since college ten years ago and never finished any of them. But then to write one, beginning to end and then PUBLISH IT for the world to see? WOOOOW. Okay, my own mother hasn’t even read anything I’ve written and this was an intensely personal piece. It’s HUGE for me. It was a literal break through. The was the culmination of what I started the Blog for. It doesn’t matter than only three people read it. That wasn’t the point of this piece. The point was to FINISH it. And I did. Halle-frickin’-lujah!!

Do ya get it yet? No? Okay well,  the best I can do it tell you what it MIGHT be like.

Giving birth, for reals. Women go through nine+ months of growing a baby inside their bellies, right underneath their heart. They endure sickness, awkward bodies, swollen feet, hormone fluctuation and a gauntlet of emotions to support this little human. And then it’s D-Day and it’s time to get it out. There’s pressure and fear and all the “What if’s” come flooding in as she’s strapped to a table with tubes coming out of her arms. But then, at some indecipherable cue, the mind kind of goes into this special little trance where it HEARS everything going on but it doesn’t let the body freak out about it. It hears directions from the doctors to ‘push’ and ‘count’ and it signals the body to follow but there is no real fear. Just a soldier-like determination to follow orders. And then, after a while, a squalling slimy blue alien comes slithering out and it holds all the wisdom you’ll need to acquire from that moment on. It’s a tiny Athena.

My fingers plunked over keys while my mind was in its little quiet room, telling me what to push and in what order. I didn’t feel fear. My brain wouldn’t let me. I just wrote. My own personal Athena was growing in my mind and I let her flow onto the page, fully formed, in about an hour’s worth of time. Then I sat back afterward, looking over its ten fingers and ten toes and I was proud; as proud as a new mom (which I’ve been twice over).

I was as proud and relieved as anyone who has ever passed a really difficult test. A driving test, a GED test, a competence test, a citizenship test, a paternity test, a job application test…whatever test. Everyone has taken one and there’s nothing that compares to the release of anxiety when it’s over and there’s nothing more to worry about.

I feel like I understand a little bit more what all the other writers are talking about now. It’s all true. All those inspirational quotes about writing and those annoyingly wise Memes. They’re not just words on a page, as cliché as they sound. They’ve BEEN THERE and now I can say, at least in part, I have too. I’ve joined the ranks of plebeian flash fiction writers and I’m OUT THERE now. YAY ME!

That’s really the only thing I wanted to say. Yay me! I just did it in a long-winded round about way. You’re welcome.

One day the same epiphany will come to everyone and the door to heaven will crack open a little bit more. Or your skull will crack open and wisdom herself will jump out of it. I can see a little bit farther through the fog now. The hill is not so steep and my legs aren’t so tired of climbing it anymore. I have shed the first ten pounds and I feel great! I’m over the sickness and on the mend! I’m–stopping now. Sorry.

Take care friends and followers. I hope you get your epiphany soon too. The first of many!