Diana’s #WeWriWa Sunday Snippet for 3/10/19 – Grendel’s Mother
Weekend Writing Warriors / #WeWriWa / #8sunday
Welcome to the Weekend Writing Warrior blog hop where writers share an 8-10 sentence snippet of their writing, published or unpublished.
Every weekend, the Weekend Writing Warriors—also known as writers—participate in a weekly hop, sharing an 8-10 sentence snippet of their writing, published or unpublished.
My snippet this week comes from Grendel’s Mother, a fantasy that was a ten-year project, and which was conceived while I was a student studying Beowulf and teaching a Women’s Studies class where we were reading and sharing books where women didn’t have a voice. A light bulb went off for me when I realized Grendel’s mother had no voice, and yet she was an important character in the medieval tale. I saw her at the beginning of the story as a teenager who had no value to her family other than how she could serve her brothers, mother, and father, and who as property being given to a much older farmer in the community to profit her father.
Raised in a household of boys, I was curious and eager to learn the other skills that swirled around me in conversation: hunting, trapping, creating goods from leather, weapons, combat, farming, livestock, and more. To my way of thinking, having knowledge was more important than perfecting the skill, especially since that knowledge was forbidden me. I should think a husband would want me to have those skills, allowing me to be a true helpmate. Though, I imagine da would box my ears if he ever heard me expressing that idea aloud. He believes women are only good for three things: rutting, birthing sons, and putting food on the table, and not necessarily in that order.
With the swoop of one devastating event followed by another delivered unexpectedly and swiftly, however, everything changed.
Now, I am the seasons: Nature and I are one.
Late 5th century, early 6th century, Denmark
A 15-year-old girl, the only girl in a large family of boys, dreams of freedom and marrying her secret first love, a young farmer. Up until now, her life has been one of servitude. She cherishes those moments when she’s alone in the woods, those few times she gets to see him in mere moments.
She fights her father in his decision that she wed an older widower with young children. Then, a horrific event changes her life forever. Pregnant and discarded, having brought shame to her family and community, she is sacrificed to the dragon to die. But the dragon saves her, instead. It is their secret.
Taken from the pages of Beowulf, this historical and fantasy medieval tale gives voices to a woman’s journey of societal injustice and her love of Nature that enables her to survive in the wild alone, where she gives birth and raises her child—deemed a monster—entirely on her own. That child is Grendel, and she is Grendel’s mother.
Not only does she battle Grendel to keep him safe, but she must battle Beowulf, the soldier here to kill her son, as well.
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