And I read back over them and think about them, over and over, to understand better.
The Siren is autobiographical for me in so many ways. It's about being different from everyone else, really different, so different it's like I'm a different species, like Lilith is. And it has a special significance for me in the way it began.
I will never forget the night I first started this story. It was the beginning of realizing who I am.
No one asked me to join a conformist Bible group, but I did. I was lonely. I wanted to meet other people like me. I thought since I was technically a Christian, there would be common ground there.
However people were put off by me. I couldn't help but notice. I panicked when I saw it, and how it stung, but I persevered and kept going every week hoping sooner or later they would accept me as I was.
So I went against the grain a little more and revealed more about myself, and told some of them about this novel I had written and submitted to a publisher. They assumed and went with the assumption that it was a Christian novel, such as those you would find in the Christian fiction section of the bookstore with the clean-cut historical young people on the front, and blindsided by this assumption, I went with it and was like yeah, and sort of bullshitted about it a little bit.
Well, I got back to my dorm room. I still remember how utterly blank and black my windows would look when I got home in the dark, and the blinds were open. I sat at my desk before my computer and looked down at what I could see of the crossroads in front of Hart, a large pathway to the Memorial Student Center and a bronze statue of Sul Ross.
Oh, how fresh and innocent it does seem to look back at this now, at this simple little life in the little dorm room, but my emotions were twisted and confused. I didn't know who I was, so I decided to make up who I was.
I was going to make a nice little Christian fiction. There was going to be a nice young lady waiting on the shore for her soldier to come home. I added in that she was poor and he was rich to give it a little conflict, but for the most part it was going to be a gentle and chaste Christian romance that the Aggies for Christ would love.
But it went wrong right from the beginning. I named the sweet girl Lilith. It was the only name she could have. I absolutely never considered another name.
And I titled this novel The Siren and started to see it for what it was. It was all about me.
I did know who Lilith actually was, historically, but never acknowledged that irony until long after I was suddenly stingingly removed from the Aggie Bible email reminders and heard no more from my ah-hum, friends. I can only explain the severance by saying that their discomfort with me must have become too great, even if they could find no assignable cause, because when I disagreed with their Biblical interpretations and defended homosexuals and stuff, I was always very submissive and gentle when they told me I was wrong. I was hurt, but I decided it was for the best.
The historical Lilith is a pre-Christian figure, the first wife of Adam whom God ousted from the Garden of Eden for her refusal to submit to Adam. Lilith wanted to be astride Adam sexually. Neither God nor Adam could bear this, and I don't know why, but it's not my problem anymore.
Lilith was a part of my unconscious. In reading her mythos and considering her role in Christian writings, which is to say none, except an occasional many-breasted whore-beast, I could say pretty unequivocally that Lilith was my subconscious rebellion.
As a matter of fact, Lilith was a pre-Christian Babylonian fertility goddess that Jewish mythology transformed into a demon that eats babies.
This character, Lilith, that I invented that night, is my most vulnerable self. It's the self that doesn't know who the hell I am. Lilith wants to do the right thing. She wants to marry the man she loves. She doesn't see the point of a lot of society's rules, but she'll do what she has to do for her young man.
After I graduated another character came into the picture. It's a good idea to introduce another character in the middle of the novel, when it gets slow. I named this character Amalthea. Amalthea is another ancient goddess. I think she was a cow from which Zeus suckled, or something weird like that, but I wanted a name that would be suggestive of the fact that Amalthea is the oldest and most powerful of her race.
Amalthea is my darkest, most predatory self, the dark that must exist and will not be extinguished, the dark that balances the light. It is a primal darkness in which I glory, myself at my most raw and elemental. Amalthea wants the same thing Lilith wants, which is romantic love, but her options are open. She may lust for a much older man or another woman.
It is in the writing of this that I have better understood myself and my desires, found a way to glory in darkness while working through consequences of selfish actions wrought of desire.
It has been a good journey. And to the Aggies for Christ, I say, thank you, and fuck you.