Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are Mermaids the New Vampires?

These are not the sirens of myth that lure sailors to their death during long hallucination-inducing voyages, mirages of beauty and sex, offering escape from the endless sickening storms and searing sun. No, mermaids live among us. They are beautiful, and (mostly) benign, content to while away their days on land as placid wives to fisherman or ferry captains - those men who make their livelihoods from the sea. Mermaids choose them so they can stay close to their life-blood, the salt water. These women have skill with their hands when in human form. They can weave, and bake and play music. They live quietly on land until one day they are called to return to the sea - long after they have mated and raised human children.

But sometimes, a mermaid is driven onto land from a desire to seek revenge on the human male. Because a man once did her wrong, perhaps forced her to a watery death by murder, or drove her to it by suicide, now she seeks revenge on all men. So, gentlemen, beware the great beauty, the lure of flashing green eyes and long, thick hair; of a perfect body, strong and tan. Beware of those sweethearts you meet at the shore, those sun-goddesses, those of wind-blown tresses, who hunt the tide pools and stare longingly at the crashing waves, those who surf the inhumanly cold waters of the north pacific or bathe endlessly in the serene summer oceans of the Atlantic. Don't be lured into the sea; don't join her for that naked moonlit swim. Listen to my words of warning: they are out there; beware.

- The theme of a novel in progress: Siren Depths


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  2. The mermaid of which you so evocatively seems to me much like the pure domesticated wolf, whose picture is twisted in our tales of moon-bound werewolves. Both bear only a slight resemblance to their legends: she a wild & exotic emblem of the fickleness of the sea, he a reminder of our subordination to needs and cycles of nature. For they both surpass our imaginings, she as you so eloquently described and he, well, his kind are men who, glimpsed in fading light, can be seen for what they are: confident, modern, canis sapiens, attractive to women but ever apart, thick-shouldered, paradoxically fine but ambivalent of visage, translators between species, and who rarely, ever so rarely, find a human females with whom they can share their secret mastery of both species, the secret that it is they who bred into us not our violence but our gregariousness, and their secret sorrow, the price they paid, the price of seeing their lesser brethren become our first experiment in domestication.

  3. Very Japaneseque in approach: a creature of lore (usually a woman) cohabitating with a human man (usually ending in dire results). Nice to see it applied to a Western vision. Men, haunted, not by any mermaid, but by a ghost mermaid. Now that's pretty original.