Writer's Commentary: Pieces of the Night

On Post: Pieces of the Night
Date: January 20
When I was growing up, I went through a big Greek gods phase. I have no idea why.
I was 8, maybe 9? Still in elementary school, I know that. In any case, it was not like we were reading The Iliad or The Odyssey as our chapter books. Yet, there was young Tim Stevens, doing reports on the gods. Thankfully, for my social life, I eventually stopped being all about Greek deities. However, from that foundation, I always maintained a fondness for them.

For the record, Hephaestus was always my favorite (so much so that I could spell his name without spell check, even now). How the “ugly” god who could not walk became my favorite, I cannot say. I also always preferred Simon over Alvin, Egon over Peter, and Cyclops over Wolverine, so maybe I’m just a sucker for the smart, but very uncool guy of the group. I supposed the fact that he still managed to land Aphrodite helped—although Aphrodite, from what I recall, was not all that faithful to him.
I am sure those preferences say all sorts of deep psychological things about me, but, sadly, we won’t be discussing those today. Maybe with a therapist someday, but not with all of you today.
Aphrodite is, of course, the reason for this piece as she gets a shout out in the song. Specifically, “Aphrodite on a barstool by your side.” From that lyric came the thought, “What if it really was Aphrodite saddling up to you in that bar?” And from there, it was “Well, how would she get there?” For whatever reason I found that question a lot more interesting than what it would be like to run into Aphrodite at a night club and so we ended up at the pad of the gods. Where, apparently, they are all living together.
I tried as best I could to match up personalities with the stories I could remember of the gods. Thus, Hephaestus is a decent guy with an attractive wife who is not particularly faithful to him. Zeus is the patriarch who, now that he cannot sleep with whoever he wants whenever he wants, has grown a bit bored. Hera is the matriarch who used to be wildly jealous but is now very happy since her aforementioned husband has had to rein in the philandering since giving up Olympus. And so on.
The biggest departures for that approach were probably Hades and Poseidon. With Poseidon, I really had no idea what to do with him to not just make him sound like a soggy Zeus. So I took a page from other famous undersea dwellers and made him a lot like Batman: The Brave and The Bold’s depiction of Aquaman. Thus, he’s a gregarious fun-loving sort; big hearted and probably more than a little bit silly without knowing it. There’s really no traditional basis for it, but it was fun so I think I made the right choice.
He is, by the way, also the reason there is a guy holding a fish for the picture for this entry. The fish would be Chester Winsworth, though I confess I have no idea if it is a blue or not. Or why, really, the ruler of all the water on Earth would be impressed with a fish.
Hades is arguably the bigger change and I basically just went with how people of faith purport to feel about death and how we often act about it. Thus, Hade is a really nice guy with a lot to offer who everyone is weirded out by. Again, nothing in any source text to build that characterization from, but it made a sort of sense to me and gives him an identity beyond “Zeus, but below ground.”
I really did intend to eventually got to the bar and have an everyman encounter Aphrodite, but…well, clearly I didn’t. One reason was length. Another was, once I established she was married, the fun of the wish fulfillment involved in flirting with a beautiful former god kind of tanked. It just not as pure when you know that the everyman is helping her cheat on a disabled guy who loves her very much.
Hollywood, if you are reading this, I would totally work on a show about Greek gods who have been demoted to living life in a big house all together and interacting with mortals at discotheques, coffee shops, grocery stores, and car repair shops. Or, you know, just watch a show or movie about that. Either way, Hollywood, either way.
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