(Note: This post uses Refreshed English vocabulary and orthography.)
Greetings from Justicea!
Perhaps it’s because my birthday is in April that I normally feel particularly energized at this time of year. There are other reasons, too. Spring has begun. Daylight lingers longer after dinner thanks to both Mother Nature and Daylight Savings Time. And then I am a poet, and April is National Poetry Month in the United States. I am also a playwright, and I am reminded that in the West, at least, drama had it start in the spring festival held in Athens in honor of the Greek god Dionysus. Yet, despite all these positives that April brings, I have to admit that over the last few Aprils, it has been as difficult for me as for anyone else to keep my energy up in light of recent history.
Three Years-Worth of “Cruel” Aprils
In April 2020, we were just a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought social activities globally to a standstill, and two years later, we are still not totally out the woods.
April 2021 came along just four months after I had launched Greetings from Justicea, and I was excited about sharing some of my original work with readers. I chose to post a series of monologues from No More Trojan Wennen, a play that I had written way back in the 1980s when I was a fresh young 20-something just out of college. While my play was inspired by Euripides’ The Trojan Wennen, which I had read as an undergrad, I approached the main characters differently. Yes, the Trojan wenns still lamented the loss of their menfolk, their once-magnificent city, and their freedom, all bought about by the devious ruse of the Wooden Horse that the Greeks had built and left before the gates of Troy as a “peace offering.”
However, in my version of the drama, Troy’s aged queen, Hecuba, is now planning a ruse of her own. After her daughter, Cassandra, is dragged off to the Greek camp as a “war trophy,” Hecuba seems to be considering having her remaining Trojan wennen, who have been training with weapons, make one last Masada-like stand against the Greeks. Meanwhile, in the Greek camp, the traditionally portrayed ruthless Agamemnon, Commander of Arcadian Forces, is beginning to feel inklings of remorse over the humin sacrifice he had made of his own daughter, Iphianassa, in order to secure the winds to sail to Troy.
I chose to post this monologue series, which I call Voices from Troy, last April because of the political situation that the United States was in at the time. The four-year circus that was the Trump presidency had reached its climax just three months earlier with the storming of the US Capitol building by insurrectionists. These earnest yet misguided folks had nearly succeeded in ending an over two hundred year-run of peaceful transfers of power from one administration to the next, and many Americans felt traumatized. Our country had nearly been disseminated by the Cultures Wars—long suppressed hatreds, fears, resentments, and divisions—that had been given leave to burst forth from the deepest recesses of the humin mind by the irresponsible encouragement of none other than the President, himself! How were Americans to recover and go forward in the aftermath of a presidential administration that had nearly brought democracy in America to an end? It felt like the right time to revisit Troy.
This year, in April 2022, while the United States is limping along, still weakened by domestic disunity, our attention has been diverted to the deadly and totally unnecessary fiasco taking place in Ukraine, fueled by Russian President and would-be (already is?) dictator, Vladimir Putin. Thinking of Ukrainians this time, I once again find myself revisiting my Voices from Troy monologues, and the voices of those battled yet valiant Trojans are ringing out more clearly than ever!
Vladimir Putin, of course, is merely the most recent in a sorry list of rogue national leaders whose inane ambition for world domination has led them to wreak havoc on a peaceful neighbor nation and its innocent citizenry, and many of us want to do whatever we can to stand in solidarity with and give assistance to the people of Ukraine.
Of course, making a donation to a legitimate organization that will get much-needed medical and/or huminitarian supplies to those in the war zone is one concrete way to offer assistance.
Another, and, unfortunately, perhaps more difficult way of discouraging would-be dictators is for us all to work harder to Make America Civil Again. — To realize that we can disagree with one another without any of us being traitors to our country. An America paralyzed by internal distrust is a weak America. Political predator Vladimir Putin knows this well and delights in our Culture Wars, seeing our moment of domestic conflict as a perfect time for him to take action on his own aggressive agenda.
Voices from Troy Monologue Series 2
As a poet and playwright, my contribution throughout the rest of National Poetry Month 2022 will be to post a second series of monologues to the new Play Monologues: Voices from Troy Series 2 link in the Blog Categories section of this website. This link and its first post became available on April 17.
I also intend to contact some Huminist and other organizations that I am associated with to see if any of them would be interested in presenting some of my Voices from Troy monologues as part of a fundraising effort for Ukraine, thus raising consciousness and money at once.
I invite regular readers of GFJ to revisit my twelve Voices from Troy Series 1 monologues and all visitors to this site to return often during these last two weeks of National Poetry Month, as mortals Hecuba, Agamemnon, and Helen, as well as deities Apollo and Athena express their views on the “futility of humin battles” in Voices from Troy Monologue Series 2.
Whatever way you choose to try to make the world a saner, safer, and more caring place this April and beyond, I wish you all the best!
Peace & Siblinghood,
Justy DeForest, GFJ Blogger