Xena Scroll Pouch #6
Dispatches from the Xena Restoration Society team that translated the Xena Scrolls
(as edited by Robert Mellette)
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Pouch 6: X.R.S. Correspondence
Date: February 3, 1997
Re: Marvin's Appearance at the Convention
Marvin asked that I include this letter with the next E-pouch:
"What a trip. What an absolute trip! I just happened to be in Los Angeles staying at Janice's house while she's away, when I got a call from Creation Entertainment asking if I'd speak at the first Xena Convention. Well, I was sure the fans didn't want to sit through a lecture about parchment palimpsests in cursive scriptio continua -- that, and I'd just had all my hair cut off in Tibet, so I didn't feel like appearing in public. They said, "wear a hat,"need you to introduce the episode based on Janice Covington's journals." What a crazy crowd! A guy with a funnel on his head and an aluminum foil chest plate asked some question or another. Reminded me of the early days of Star Trek. I'm sure I looked like an idiot myself, wearing Old Lady Covington's bomber jacket and my lucky Aussie hat--but at least my outfit was from the 20th century. I think my favorite fan was the very attractive young woman, wearing perfectly normal clothes, who heaped so much praise on the Xena Restoration Society. I was about to ask for her phone number... but that would have been too tacky ... even for me.
I have to say that after years of presentations to all of the skeptical professors, sophomoric students, and empty seats, this convention was a blast! We who have lived with Xena in obscurity for so long -- some of us more than others--are finally getting our day in the sun. Though we might have to find some kind of sunblock.
I was pleased that the Creation folks and all of the volunteers let me roam around so much without one of those stinking badges. Little things in life do make all the difference. Because of this, I did get to meet Lucy. What a terrific lady! Had the real Gabrielle been there, she would have written of the heroic exploits of "Xena" signing over 2,000 autographs. I've never seen anything like it.
The only downside was that I misplaced my journal. Last time I saw it was backstage at the convention. Should anyone find it, I'd appreciate them passing it on to Creation. Thanks.
Other than that, the day was a wonderful inspiration to get back to the work of translating, for it reminded me of what Joseph Campbell calls, "The Power Of Myth."
[Not so] Mad [as the fans] Marvin
Still in Los Angeles
I can't say that I'm sorry I missed this little get together. I'm not sure that the power of myth is meant to make otherwise intelligent adults dress up like cartoon versions of historical figures and parade around in public. All of these displays make it so much harder for us to be taken seriously.
But, I've spoken my piece on this subject. All I can do is continue to tell the story of the Xena Restoration Society's struggle for acceptance.
Date: July 30, 1994
Re: Callisto Stories
If you recall, when I first began work on the Callisto stories, I was taken with the action and the new character, Joxer, the Everyman of the Xena Myths. Well, I've just finished translating the second story, and I must tell you--while it is just as exciting as the first--it is also filled with great depth. It reads like a Schopenhauer, for here is debated the power of love.
"Love is a trick Nature plays to get us to reproduce."Love" in one sentence. And who better than Callisto to sum up what the Great Pessimist would say centuries into the future.
But there is another opinion of love here, "The Poteidaian Innocent,"the core of her soul--for in this story, "the little innocent is dead" and may never be re- born.
As with most of The Xena Scrolls, there are some every progressive images here--not typically Greek at all. Take, for example, Perdicas. In a time when revenge was a noble motive, and might made right, we are given a hero who puts down his sword to sacrifice himself in the belief that love is stronger than hate. Perdicas is sacrificed by the hands of hatred, but it is love that wins in the end. I'm sure our detractors will use this as evidence that the Scrolls were created long after Rome was Christianized. Janice, and others, will say that it is further proof that the Scrolls were written by a woman. An argument could be made that Perdicas is an ideal example of a man getting in touch with more feminine values. I will hold my opinion, preferring to play the part of neutral translator.
And so we have two extremes of love: Callisto, who sees love as a weakness to be exploited and Gabrielle & Perdicas, who see love as an all-powerful force. Between these two extremes is Xena.
"X[ena]'s love was true and deep. She could feel what her Poteidaian friend felt but was not aware of. With the same [inst]incts that made her the mighty W[arrior] P[rincess], she knew that young love would take her love away from her, and Poteidaia would have a new family of farmers spin[ning] yarns of [adventure]. [Now] if only X[ena] could return her [little] friend to[ward that] path the F[ates had] set for her before her encounter with the traveling warrior."
And so we see how mature, almost matronly, Xena's love for Gabrielle is.
"[Suddenly,] the time had come. Good-bye. A parting of their lives. They might see one another in some distant future, but both women knew it would never be as it was."[missing half a line] "It was gentle. It was tender. It was the bes[t way fo]r Gentle Warrior Women to say good-bye. More than friends, a[nd]" [The rest of the page is missing].
There is nothing to tell us what "it" was. Later, when Callisto kills Perdicas, we see exactly how she takes advantage of Xena's newfound feelings:
"Callisto was trapped. Her objective, the grieving young bride, was securely protected by the [W]arrior [P]rincess, [who was] advancing with ad[vantage?]. But retreat and failure was not acceptable to the she-demon, and between her and her horse was the in[jured] Perdicas. [With a] flip, a twist, and her horrific scream, she pounced on the peaceful Perdicas. [The wound] she [inflicted upon] him was mortal, full of pain, and guaranteed a slow death. As his heart was entwined with the widow-to-be, and hers with the heart of the m[ighty][W]arrior [W]oman, Cal[listo] knew that in one kill, she had killed three. And she paused. And so did X[ena]. One warrior gloating over a demonic victory snatched from defeat. The other knew not why. Many times had her companions fallen, yet Xena never paused. Many times had tears been shed, yet Xena never paused. Many times had she faced defeat, only to turn it into victory, because Xena never paused. Yet here was the girl from Poteidaia, who a few [years? months?] ago the Warrior Woman had tried to shoo away. She had no wounds. She was not bleeding. She would not die. And Cal[listo] was within the reach of a mighty X[ena] leap. The battle was not over, except Xena's newfound heart pulled, not to the fight, but to give comfort where it was needed most. So Cal[listo] escaped, but with X[ena's] steely eyes she made a promise. No more would die at the hands of her creation."
And indeed, no one else does die by the sword of Callisto... in this lifetime.,
Sophia had an interesting comment about Perdicas' death. If the Scrolls were written by Gabrielle, what kind of writer must she be to relate such a personally painful story with such clarity? Sophia feels this might be evidence that someone else authored the Scrolls, and I know better than to argue with my wife.
In the face of Perdicas' murder, the taking of a life is now on the mind of Gabrielle. And we are faced with the recurring theme of her blood-innocence. Sure, it may seem a moot point to a modern reader, as she has gotten very good with her staff (good luck with an idiom translation, Marvin).taken by the difference, as most heroes of that time would be considered weak for sparing the life of an enemy. That Gabrielle is presented as heroic for not taking a life, or putting her life on the line for the sake of a cause is unique among Pre-Christian Western literature. Of course, Janice will claim that this is due to the feminine influence of the character.
So we see the two ways our heroes face their enemies. Gabrielle will die before she compromises her beliefs. Xena, who holds dear Gabrielle's resolve, will do whatever it takes to accomplish the Greater Good. But, as we will learn in the next story, if the means are not just, the end will not hold.
"She had killed so many. Some good, some evil, but all armed; all able to defend themselves; all fair. Now she had before her an insect, a disease, a plague of fire and death, who was helpless and defenseless. The G[reat a]nd M[ighty] W[arrior] could not kill this trapped enemy, nor could she save her. So she did nothing. Nothing but watch her die. And to this woman of action, nothing is the greatest wrong of all."
Joxer provides both a classical comic line, as well as an interesting shift in syntax as the author *tells* of Xena and Joxer.
"Of him she said: `He can't fight. He can't tell a story without making himself the hero. He can't even walk without cla[nking], but the man can cook,' and X[ena] W[arrior] P[rincess] is also Xena [the] Hungry, but cursed when it comes to cooking. So Joxer the Mighty, Joxer the Magnificent, Joxer the One Who Desires Greatness, became Joxer the Cook for X[ena]."
The punctuation, of course, is mine and will no doubt cause centuries of controversy--especially with Janice. But what is interesting is that this section of Xena's adventure is separate from Gabrielle. The syntax suggests that the author is re-telling this section from Xena's point of view. Another clue to the authorship of the Scrolls, or possibly just a clever method of story telling. Hard to say at this early juncture.
There it is. A lot to digest. I invite your comments. If you haven't gotten your full translations, please let me know.
Date:August 3, 1994
Re: RE: CALLISTO STORIES
and the new character, Joxer, the Everyman of the Xena Myths.
***Myths!?!*** Evan, if you were here, I'd kick you back to Oxford! "...And new boots for Xena,"tie around your neck for a day or two you might see that!
Besides that, I'm not sure I'd call Joxer an "Everyman."Good Intentions,""Everyman,"
It reads like a Schopenhauer, for here is debated the power of love.
"Love is a trick Nature plays to get us to reproduce.""The Metaphysics of Love" in one sentence. And who better than Callisto to sum up what the Great Pessimist would say centuries into the future.
My Grandmother used to talk of the "invisible influence" of The Xena Scrolls. She maintained that the stories of Xena were passed down *verbally* from generation to generation, and that if we could ever find and translate the Scrolls we could hear Xena's voice (or Gabrielle's depending on who she was defending when she told the story) guiding us toward The Greater Good. Unfortunately, she was thought to be completely insane, so her rantings fell on deaf ears. This is particularly upsetting as Callisto's "voice" seems to have been the one to prevail: From Callisto to Schopenhauer, who influenced Nietzsche, who influenced the Nazi (granted, the Nazi twisted Nietzche, but who's to say that Nietzche didn't humanize Callisto?) Think what could have been avoided if Xena's voice had never been lost.
For one thing, my Grammi might have been taken seriously. I loved her stories when I was little, and wanted to believe them, but as I grew up... Well, now I have some major family issues to deal with, and I still don't know what to believe and what might have been genuine delusions. But XRS isn't the place for my therapy, is it?
As with most of The Xena Scrolls, there are some every progressive images here--not typically Greek at all.
But typically feminine. :)
I will hold my opinion, preferring to play the part of neutral translator.
I snipped a lot of very good translation, Evan. I thought you did a nice job capturing the rhymes and rhythms that have been creeping into the prose. But, Evan, I miss your taking stands on some of these issues.
Sophia had an interesting comment about Perdicas' death. If the Scrolls were written by Gabrielle, what kind of writer must she be to relate such a personally painful story with such clarity?
A good one.
Sophia feels this might be evidence that someone else authored the Scrolls.
Evan, you know how much I love Sophi, and I have no doubt that she's helped you with the big words on more than one occasion (at least the ones in English),time you've given her credit for it. All this time I thought I was disagreeing with you, when in fact it was *her.*
Seriously, you worry me, Evan. You haven't been yourself since the peer review. I hope you're not having a crisis of faith in the Scrolls, because your wrong conclusions always helped me find the right ones! ;-)
That Gabrielle is presented as heroic for not taking a life is unique among Greek literature. Of course, Janice will claim that this is due to the feminine influence of the character.
Xena and Gabrielle may very well have inspired these philosophies. Grammi always said, "You'll be amazed at how her courage changed the world."Grammi, I mean.
The punctuation, of course, is mine and will no doubt cause centuries of controversy--especially with Janice.
Won't get any argument from me! I *know* who wrote the Scrolls.
Date: August 4, 1994
Re: RE: CALLISTO STORIES
Evan, great work. Got my wheels spinning, as I just finished a trippy story of alternate lives (translations in snail mail, analysis soon),an odd resemblance to the ancient tales of the Flying Dutchman. Cycles, man. It's all cycles.
Janice, I don't recall hearing of your Grammi passing away. Was it recently?
Date: August 4, 1994
Re:RE: CALLISTO STORIES
Marvin, I'm not sure she has passed away. She disappeared some years ago, and no one has heard from her. She'd be into her 80's now, but that's no reason to believe she's dead. I remember her telling me once, "You'll know when I've crossed over. You especially."her. .. I think.
DateAugust 10, 1994
Re: New Review Board
I've assembled a new review board. [members names deleted]. Granted, it's not the most prestigious collection of scholars, but collectively they have some respectability. This was not as easy task, as most of the people I approached were familiar with the Scrolls and our previous peer review. On more than one occasion, I got the feeling we were being laughed at. No matter. Further up and further in.
Many people I spoke with discounted the Xena Scrolls on the question of a time line. The new review board also suggested that we create a time line based on the Xena Scrolls. Your thoughts are welcome.
Date: August 10, 1994
From: Mad Marvin
Re: Scroll # 805-03-V0201 "Remember Nothing"
First off, this scroll has a short but awesome hypothesis, which will go far in supporting the Gabrielle-as-author theory:
"Of [this ta]le, I remember nothing. Only my com[pani]on knows the truth of it, and only her trust in me [makes this] story possible."
"Remember Nothing."in his Quantum Physics lab--nothing. But something about his explanation of multi- world theory, which I really dig, came to mind as I read this story.
Check it: Multi-World Theory in a nutshell--whenever you have a choice in life, all of the options happen. Like, say you're lost. You're driving, and you're lost. You come to a cross roads. You can go left, right, straight, turn around and go back, or run over a nail, get a flat, and have to sleep in your car. Multi-World Theory says that they *all* happen, each in their own little reality. And each little reality is complete. Only a thin veil of separation keeps us from recognizing the existence of billions of ourselves -- all running around making different choices and splitting into billions more of ourselves. And no, I'm not making this up. It's those wacky physicists. It explains something about sub- atomic particles... go figure. Either that or the government is experimenting with hallucinogens again. Next thing you know, they'll be working on Improbability Drive.
So...what's this got to do with Xena? Well, this story explores an alternate reality. Check it:
"Having saved the T[emple of the] Fates, the reluctant warrioress carried two deaths with her: her long lost brother, Lyceus, and the newly lost boy she'd just [pushed?] to the other side."
You've all got, or will soon get, my full translation so I'll do the Reader's Digested version. We have the three Fates, much as we've seen them in other Greek texts. They are spinning their yarn, which if you think about the Multi-world theory, is a perfect image. I mean, if there are billions of Marvins running around in various universes... which one is really *me*? Where does my soul lie? Did I make a wrong turn somewhere, and now my life is in the wrong reality? Could this explain where all of those single socks go to when they're lost? Does it matter? The physicists say it doesn't. Each one is you, only the situations change--and hopefully, your socks. But I have a hard time with that (the multi-souls, forget the socks),me feel more comfortable about my soul. I'm the one on their thread. All of the strands of life intertwine to create me... the one on the thread. Those others are just lint.
But Xena has doubts. She's convinced that the lint is what her life is *supposed* to be, and that her thread isn't really her. When the Fates offer Xena a reward for saving their temple, Xena says she wishes she'd never followed the sword. Well, at first glance, we might think this is a "careful what you wish for, `cause you just might get it" story... but our story teller offers:
"Who can know the depths of the wisdom of the Fates? Was their reward to grant the reluctant warrior's request [for it's] own sake, or did they have a larger goal [objective?] in mind?"
This theme is tied to the end of the story:
"All again was as it was to be. And X[ena] knew that it was she who'd [made the] choices now as she had before. The Fates' re[ward might] not have been what it seemed to be. For taking back their gift, is what true[ly set] her free."
(BTW, here is more metered, measured and rhymed. Like Gabrielle is beginning to find her voice the more she writes.)
So we're presented with the repeated question of classical Greek Myths... is it Fate or self-determination that rules our lives? Einstein said, "God doesn't play dice with the Universe."after following the Xena myths, I'd say, "God does play dice with the Universe, but he cheats."all of the various universes... would they eventually come to the same, single point in life? Will the Xena in a universe where her brother didn't die, still become a warrior for good? And speaking of her brother not dying, her mother does. Mythologically, this suggests that there is a fixed price to pay in life. Or there is a life force that requires a balance. I wonder if that's also true in the world of physics. But I digress.
Gabrielle's experiences in this alternate reality offer as many questions. While Xena, to a large extent, has remained Xena, Gabrielle has become a beaten slave. This begs the question, can a spirit be broken? And Xena's question: can a damaged spirit be re-built? Xena's life is a fight to rebuild her goodness, but can she subject Gabrielle to having to make that journey herself? In the end, the answer is "no."certain death in a suicidal fight for a noble cause, and Gabrielle has taken up the sword in vengeance. So Xena can no more avoid her Fate than Oedipus could. Her return to her former reality is inevitable. And Xena has learned a valuable lesson about herself. As the Fates must have known all along.
Homeless in Arizona
Date: August 11, 1994
Re: Not Feeling Well
I'm at home today. Sorry I haven't been myself lately. I've been feeling... I'm not sick, exactly. I don't know. I'm just restless, I guess. Anyway, I'm taking the day off, in hopes that I start feeling my old self again.
Araham, in my clean room is a scroll you might want to work on yourself. You'll see why as you get into it.
Date:August 11, 1994
From: Mad Marvin
Re: RE: NOT FEELING WELL
hopes that I start feeling my old self again.
Your *OLD* self again!?! You're, what? 22!?! So you want to feel 12 again? Hehehehe, don't we all, Melinda, don't we all?
Seriously, take care little buckaroo. You've got my cell phone number--and I've got frequent flier miles. Call me if you need me.
"In my mind I'm goin' ta Carolina."
Date: August 12, 1994
Re: RE: SCROLL # 805-03-V0201 "REMEMBER NOTHING"
Marvin, you've blown my mind! Xena and the Multi-world theory. Think we can use this to create a time line?
Mel, I've been feeling a little restless myself lately. It'll pass.
Date: August 12, 1997
Re: A Prayer
I'm still at home, but I've been haunted by a section that I can't place. The words stick in my mind:
"If anybody's listening, you know I'm not much for praying. But I don't know what else to do. I was ready to give up once before. .. [line missing]. Then she came into my life. Please. It's such a hard world. Don't let the light that shines through her face go out. I couldn't stand the darkness that would follow."
At least, that's the way I remember it. The section is on my light table at work, and I don't know where it goes, who is speaking, or who the speaker is talking about... yet, the prayer haunts me. Can anyone help?
Date: August 13, 1994
Re: RE: A PRAYER
Nice prayer. I would imagine it's Xena speaking about Gabrielle, but I have no idea where it goes. It doesn't fit in anything I've worked on in the past, and my current project seems to be "A Day In The Life" kind of thing. It sort of covers the daily happenings of Xena and Gabrielle. A very revealing look at what's it like to travel with a Warrior Princess. But there's nothing that would suggest a place for such a dramatic prayer.
It's possible we may never know where it goes. Sorry, I couldn't help, and I hope you're feeling better.
Date :August 13, 1994
Re: Julius Caesar
One of my assistants just came in with a piece of scroll number 895-02-V0207. It mentions Xena and Julius Caesar. I'm afraid the newly constructed review board is going to have a hard time swallowing this.
To tell you the truth... I'm having a hard time coming to terms with it myself.
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