Xena and Gabrielle are following opposite spiritual paths
Season 4 of Xena Warrior Princess was one marked by both growth and death.
Part of that growth was external. By season 4, the show had gained widespread popularity and started tell stories that demonstrated this. The sets were more complex, the costumes more elaborate.
The Xenaverse itself expanded: moving beyond just Ancient Greece and the gods and heroes of Greek mythology, Xena and Gabrielle travel to an entirely different country and have encounters with the gods of a different culture.
As far as months go, I can’t say I care much for February.
This isn’t for the reason most might expect. It’s not the weather. For most of Canada, February is dark, cheerless, and frigid – the furthest thing from the festive winter wonderland of a couple months prior.
I experienced 30 straight years of that. But now, living on the west coast in Vancouver, February days are noticeably longer, the temperatures rest well above zero (some winters, it never even goes below freezing), and although it rains for days and weeks on end, at least you don’t have to shovel.
The age of the thing alone terrified me, for how well could a ten-year-old story possibly hold up? I already knew going in that I’d have a fair amount of rewriting ahead of me, but the question was how much?
Will the real Warrior Princess please step forward?
I originally started my replay of the seasons of Xena Warrior Princess to help me in re-conceiving an old, shelved novel of mine that I want to rewrite set in Ancient Greece.
Of course, I recognize that what will help me most in this endeavour is a thorough study of actual Ancient Greek history since Xena, although a rollicking good time to watch, is historical-ish at best – a work of historical fantasy that’s at times quite heavy on the fantasy, straining the linearity of the historical timeline to the limit.
(This season alone, Xena has dealings with legendary Celtic queen Boudicca, with Egyptian queen Cleopatra, in ancient China, and against the Persian army on their way to the Hot Gates at Thermopylae.)
If I were to equate the current stage of my writer’s journey with that of the classic Hero’s Journey, I’d now find myself at stage sometimes referred to as “The Belly of the Whale”.
Which, in my opinion, is perhaps the most perilous of all the stages – even more so than the main confrontation of the story’s climax – for at this stage, the hero still doesn’t have a complete sense of what s/he is up against; a true, Rumsfeldian “unknown unknown”.
It was with season 2 of Xena Warrior Princess, I now recall, that I fell in love with the show.
Thinking back on it, season 2 may well have been the first season I actually saw. My memory of it all is rather cloudy. While watching season 1, I remembered every episode, but for some reason don’t recall having viewed them on TV, at least not from the beginning.
In any case, I do remember that it was also season 2 that made me want to be an adventurer – to roam far and wide meeting people, solving problems, battling evil, and having fun.
My decision to re-watch all six seasons of the show Xena Warrior Princess – which is set in Ancient Greece – corresponded with my decision to someday rewrite my shelved first fantasy novel as historical fiction, also set in Ancient Greece.
That and because Xena is such a thrilling character – my favourite fictional character, in truth – whom I hadn’t watched since the show ended in 2001.
As writers, we often believe we were born to write.
I certainly have early memories of my writing life. My first “novel” – a masterpiece inspired by the cartoon Jem and the Holograms – was “published” in grade three. I haven’t really stopped writing since.
“It’s in my blood,” I’ve heard writers claim. “I couldn’t not do it.” And I find, for the most part, that I agree.
However, I’ve never been one to champion Nature as the sole determinant of anything. Especially after reading a recent blog post by literary marketing expert Dan Blank about an artist’s chain of influence, which led me to examine my own early writing influences.