Here at Gilgamesh Press, we want to continue with the sneak peaks into our debut book, Ishtar!
The first story in the Ishtar collection is a historical piece, written by the lovely Kaaron Warren. Here are her thoughts behind why she wrote her incredible tale:
‘The Five Loves of Ishtar’
When I first began reading for my Ishtar novella, I was living in Suva, Fiji. The public library has two shelves of history books, all of them predating 1970, most of them donated by departing diplomats. I had sporadic internet. I also had an anthropologist as a friend, who had brought with him his enormous library. So that’s where I started.
As I read, one message emerged to me; that Ishtar was a powerful presence over many millennia. The stories told of her were in the present; as if she had lived for those thousands of years and people had actual memories of her.
I wondered how she’d change over the years, and if time made her tired.
At the same time, I wondered about her companions, and one in particular. For a long time, I’ve been fascinated about the washerwoman in history, after watching a documentary by Terry Jones, where he said that there were washerwomen who travelled on the Crusades. Women risking their lives, suffering the hunger and the privations that the men suffered, yet never named, rarely mentioned. I have the image of them working tirelessly, scrubbing, washing, drying, only noticed if they failed to do their jobs.
I wondered what sort of washerwomen Ishtar might have, and what they might know. I thought that perhaps they would know every secret; you can’t keep things from the woman who washes your underwear.
In addition to giving us a sneak about about the world in her Ishtar story, Cat Sparks has also written the top 10 Things about her tale!!
10 Things about Ishtar:
(‘The Sleeping and the Dead’)
10. The nuns collate their scriptures from a myriad of ancient sources: celebrity cookbooks, women’s magazines. That glossy paper made it right through Armageddon, barely blackened by the pyres of burning Bibles.
9. She likes tattoos inked before the fall. Everything from hot rods to baby feet. Jesus, naked ladies, dragons.
8. Storm clouds sully the horizon. Vast, voluminous boiling things, cauldrons of corrosive isotopes and acid flashback.
7. Windborne apparitions linger like imprints, remnants of better places, better days.
6. Women worship at her feet. The walking dead whose wombs still pulse with blood.
5. Ishtar has heard the skulls speak on more than one occasion, a fact she keeps hidden from the nuns.
4. The ossuary endures.
3. Death stalks the surface. The men were safer in the Underworld. Much safer.
2. Memories are as unreliable as seasons.
1. A deity cannot attain salvation. She must create it.
The wonderful Cat Sparks, author of ‘The Sleeping and the Dead’ from Ishtar, has written about her world and the ideas behind her story. It is a must read!
‘The Sleeping and the Dead’
It always bothers me when stories portray characters who are centuries old as reasonable people possessed of rational human perspective. Gods, by their very definition, cannot be sane in the way that term applies to you and me. Entropy is relentless. Time corrodes, empires rise and fall while a god still stands. How could millennial loneliness not leave incomprehensible scars?
The Sleeping and the Dead is a portrait of a world that has eaten itself alive. Birth has become an abomination, hope a blight upon the landscape. The would-be mothers perpetuate Hell. The crazy nuns are the ones who’ve got it right.
Consumer culture inherited the god it deserved, all mood swings, grace and flaming retribution. My Ishtar is an amnesiac deity. The turmoils of post-civilised dischord have lulled her into a state of exhausted ennui. She doesn’t remember why she does the things she does. Her fertility clinic is perpetuated as a half-baked gesture towards the tedium infusing and permeating the aching years.
Assisting hopeful mothers doesn’t interest her in the slightest. She does it because she’s bored of death and its grim accoutrements. Anna Ishtar has wallowed way too long in her own intellectual mire. She’s not quite crazy, just teetering on the brink.
Daisy and her nuns smell the raw power on her, even if Ishtar herself has mislaid her origins and purpose. That a god walks among them comes as no surprise, for they are blessed and theirs is holy art.
Who is Thomas to her really? No one, so she makes him someone; her quest a mere diversion to while away the hours.
It’s hard to believe that there is only 1 month left to go until Gilgamesh Press’ first book, Ishtar, will be launched!! It will be available as an ebook first, then print, so there will be no delay in getting to the good stuff within the covers. Authors Kaaron Warren, Deborah Biancotti and Cat Sparks deliver 3 amazing novellas.
Due out 13th November 2011!