Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld

Tablet depicting Sumerian Goddess Inanna

He clawed feet is an ancient way to depict the fact she visited the Underworld.

“From the great heaven she set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven the goddess set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven Inanna set her mind on the great below. My mistress abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inanna abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.”

 

Thus begins one of the most famous Sumerian myths of all time, with one of the most famous introductory passages of all time.

The new novel I am working on is a retelling of the Inanna myth. Inanna was a Sumerian goddess of fertility, love, and war. Venus is her star. As she descends to the Underworld, ostensibly to find either power or knowledge (the poem is open to interpretation), she has to divest herself of her garments. This is probably a metaphor for divesting herself of certain earthy illusions, but it can play either way.

Anyway, as you might suspect, descending to the Underworld is a really bad idea on her part, and it doesn’t work out the way she thinks. When she does not return, her loyal servant, Ninshubur, goes in after her.

In ancient times Venus was considered to be the Star of Inanna

Venus is the Star of Inanna

I became aware of the Inanna myth a year or so back. I immediately thought it would be a nice framework for a story. At the time I was thinking about writing a Great Depression novel. I wanted to examine the hobo culture at the time. Personally, I don’t buy into the romanticization of that period. Frank Capra’s idealistic portrayals aside, I don’t think it was a heroic lifestyle at all. I believe it was brutal, hard, dehumanizing, and violent.

That’s the novel I am going to write, anyway. Or attempt to write.

There are many translations of the Inanna poem online and you can find them rather easily. The problem with the translations is the language itself is so ancient you can read many things into it. Which, for a writer, isn’t all that bad.

Thus, Inanna. This is the project I am working on now and will be blogging about, including aspects of the hobo culture and their lifestyle. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out. 🙂

Inanna

Another depiction. Again notice the Star of Inanna (Venus) in the sky.

Another depiction of Inanna

The ordinary people above Inanna are the people of Earth. The creatures below are those of the Underworld.

Full Moon over Texas

FullMoonFull Moon over Texas.

OffsetFullMoonIt was as yellow as a saucer of cream!

HeavyContrastMoonPlaying around with the contrast in this one. Gives an artificial and spooky look.

My New Story! Lisetta Lawrence is a myopic graduate student with knobby knees and a troubled love life….

In the story “Tennessee Waltz” Lisetta Lawrence is the main character. Which is interesting because she was a secondary character from an unpublished novel. But I have know over the years there was more to her story that needed to be told.

I am a writer. I talk about writing in this blog all the time. But I was trained in physics. Lisetta is a character who can bring some parts of that academic world to light, I think. I wrote this story when I was living in Mississippi. I’ve always liked it and I drew on my two years in Tennessee as source material.

I’m very proud of this story put out by Argo Navis Publishing and I really hope you like reading it. There are even a few autobiographical aspects to it as well. You can find it on Kindle and if you do read the story I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to post a review on Amazon. Thanks, guys! 🙂

 

What hidden secret does Lisetta Lawrence find in a Tennessee hollow? And what part does the nameless cat play? Read the story to find out!

 

Product Description: Lisetta Lawrence is a myopic graduate student with knobby knees and a troubled love life. She is sent on a hopeless fact finding mission into a distant Tennessee hollow and discovers a reclusive genius who keeps bees, and a nameless ginger cat that grins at her.

Working together they reveal the true nature of the universe which will change quantum physics, manned space travel, and Lisetta’s life, forever!

A Very Busy Week Ahead

Last night we used the new fire pit. I really like it a lot. I’m the kind of guy who can sit out in front of a camp fire for hours thinking about writing and that’s exactly what I did last night. I also used my 7×50 Vixen Forestas to look at the grouping of Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter last night. I could also see the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. Normally the light pollution is so bad from my backyard I would have trouble seeing decent images. But last night, for whatever reason, it wasn’t that bad, even for bright objects like these.

I woke up early today. Got a busy week lined up. I will be looking at trucks this week and, frankly, I’m about to get one, I think. The Bonneville I have is fine, nothing wrong with it, but we do a lot of camping and outdoor activities and a truck will help with that a lot. Also, the Bonneville is going to someone in the family because he needs a new car (he’s getting married) so it works out for everyone.

I also have to get finished with the Argo Navis Publishing website and get the rest of the stories listed. I also need to get started marketing these published stories but I want to be careful about that. I see a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook spamming their indie work and I find that kind of behavior tiresome.  After I finish that I want to get back to work on the Haxan novel. I feel I am starting to lose touch with it because it’s been so long since I have looked at it. Oh, and there’s a dentist appointment in there, somewhere, too, this week. But I think I will have to reschedule that because I will be working that day at The Observatory. No problem there. I’d much rather work than go to the dentist any day.

And tomorrow I have to go to Frisco and meet my writing buddy. Maybe I can take a look at the Haxan novel then. I might be able to work that in. Bottom line is you might not hear from me much this week, but I’ll try to post when I can, or schedule some posts.

I am sure there are more things happening this week I have forgotten about. But, hey, some things will have to fall through the cracks! 🙂

 

Writing Update and Research Problems: Losing the thread of the story in weeds and thickets

Writing problems have been with us since time immemorial. But there are new resources that make some aspects easier.I wrote twelve pages yesterday on the new Haxan novel. I think I am finally in a safe place as far as the novel goes. There is still a lot of research to do. I am planning a trip to Fort Griffin this weekend. I’m looking forward to that.

As a writer I want to get the details right. I have never been so particular that I had to know the exact number of steps between flights of stairs in an historic hotel or something like that. I once heard Frederick Forsyth interviewed on radio years ago and he actually said that. He said he wanted to know the number of steps from street level to a particular building and I thought to myself “What the hell for?” Unless the number of steps play an integral part in the storyline it’s not important. I also see this a lot in some science fiction where the writer gets lost in the weeds of facts and detail and loses the thread of the story.

I remember when I was in Santa Fe at La Fonda and you could see the Governor”s Palace from that point across the plaza. I would not have known that if I hadn’t gone to Santa Fe and I used it in a novel. Of course, Google Earth and its street view capability also adds a new dimension of research, along with Wikipedia and YouTube and other outlets.

But my point here is I used it because it was important. Marwood was leaning out the window of La Fonda and he saw the Goveronor’s Palace, a place he had to visit later on. But I sure didn’t give a damn how many actual cobblestones lay between La Fonda and the Governor’s Palace. That’s my point. You start dwelling on minute detail like that and the story will get away from you very, very fast.

Today I am going to use Starry Night Pro to see what the night sky looked like at a particular time in 1869. I have no intention of noting the actual right ascension and declination of any particular astronomical object, but I want to know this because at this point in the book the night sky plays an integral part in advancement of plot and character growth.

When you come down to it, nothing beats actually being present to see the sights and sounds for yourself, though. There are lots of good resources online which we didn’t have when I first started writing professionally. I just wish writers would be less wedded to unimportant detail and concentrate more on delivering a believable and memorable story.

Great article in Centauri Dreams: explains fallibility of Fermi’s Paradox, human impatience

“Lost in Space and Lost in Time: The Consequences of Temporal Dispersion for Exosolar Technological Civilizations” by Dave Moore, Centauri Dreams.

Mark here. This is an excellent article. I have always believed the problem lies more with our human-centralized impatience to “find idealized Star Trek aliens” rather than the simple fact we A.) are alone, or B.) the enormous spacial and temporal distances involved simply preclude a galaxy burgeoning with sentient lifeforms that mirror our own spatial-temporal frame.

In other words, the chances of advanced alien lifeforms inhabiting the same time-frame of our own civilization, given the age and enormous volume of the universe at hand, is pretty damn slim, and more likely zero.I fully expect this scenario is pure fantasy and wish-fulfillment. Occam's Razor is more than likely in effect: we're alone.

I maintain we will find microbial alien life, or come across archeological evidence of another civilization, long before we meet another  alien species face to face. You cannot ignore the time frame and galactic spacial distances involved, especially when coupled with the life spans of civilizations in relation to that.

Humans need to stop thinking in such limited and parochial terms. Even our galaxy isn’t a neighborhood. It’s enormous, enclosing both enormous time frames and distances. Once again, the ingrained impatience of our species is showing.

If you want to get down and dirty about it, Occam’s Razor is probably best here. We are alone. Star Trek, a federation of alien civilizations who exist at the same spatial-temporal point in their technological curve, is pure fantasy and will never be actualized. The actual age, and distances involved, preclude such an event. The distribution and rates of occurrence of alien civilizations are much too thin.

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