“The Private Diaries of Hera, She of Santa Cruz”
Wyvern Lit #3.
In recent years, more and more stories have featured characters from mythology, literature, folklore and fairy tales–magically plopping them in the middle of contemporary worlds. We see this in TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow and in comic books like Vertigo’s Fables series. Stories with this premise have become a quasi-genre, and for good reason: they’re fun, often funny, and offer the sort of defamiliarization that often makes for a great story.
The newest issue of Wyvern Lit contains not one but two great pieces that feature this conceit: “Sea Change” by Eric Williams and “The Private Diaries of Hera, She of Santa Cruz” by Caitlin Corrigan. The former features an incarnation of Poseidon, the latter, Hera. I want to talk briefly about Corrigan’s brilliant Hera piece, which is sometimes funny, sometimes a little bit sad, and features one of the most impressive uses of voice I’ve read in quite a while (I’ll get to that in a sec).
A question: what happened to all the Ancient Greek gods? Where are they now and what are they up to?
Corrigan’s piece answers the question for one of these deities: Hera, the sister/wife of Zeus, is kicking it in Santa Cruz (or at least was in 2006, when these diary entries were penned). What is she up to? Drinking, fucking, sleeping under the boardwalk. When you’re immortal, I guess there’s nothing to stop you from living like you’re in your early 20s.
Oh yeah, and Hera is also going to therapy. Which makes sense: there were few things the Ancient Greek pantheon needed more than some good therapy.
I won’t tell you anymore about the plot, but I do want to reiterate just how skillfully the author has constructed her story’s narrative voice. Hera’s diction is very classical, very anachronous, and it works perfectly in this strange mash-up of a world that Corrigan has created. I actually detected a very gradual shift in Hera’s diction to something a bit more contemporary later in the story, though maybe I imagined it. Either way, it’s a fun and skillfully realized piece.
⇒Check out this great story and many others in Wyvern Lit!