June always makes me nervous. Particularly the middle of the month. June isn’t the only month in which important, emotionally upsetting events have happened in my life, but too many of them have happened not just in June, but in the middle of the month, on the same day, in fact.
Last year missed the specific date of concern, but only by a few days on each side.
Last May my then-girlfriend took me to see “The Avengers.” I wasn’t that keen on it, largely because I was annoyed at who Marvel put in the role of the villain. I knew they’d probably taken liberties with mythology, so it wasn’t really Loki, but periodically over the years I’d seen Loki referred to as the “Norse Satan,” and that always irritated me, and this was more of the same, so why bother.
But it looked like a fun movie, so we went, and it was terrific fun, and to my vast relief I felt -nothing- at all positive for the villain. For all people were frothing about how sexy Tom Hiddleston in that role was, I just didn’t get it. He left me cold at best.
I started getting into Avengers fandom on Tumblr. I started a new blog just to keep up with it. Which meant I then got exposed to the broader fandom related to the previous movie, “Thor.” And got exposed to people writing really interesting analyses of the antagonist in those two movies, and I realized the writers of the scripts had done some really interesting things with that character – he was complex and much more sympathetic than I’d first realized, and one of the things that struck me was some discussion some folks were having about how it was as if he’d had a psychotic break somewhere either around the end of “Thor” or in the in-between-films period, and that was what lead to his much more extreme behavior in The Avengers.
I got unusually, and heavily, obsessed with fandom. Including, yes, the Loki character. Suddenly Tom Hiddleston in that role was the sexiest man ever. I have never before been that enthralled with any film character. Ever. It was a bit unnerving, to be honest.
I started rereading some real Norse mythology, because it bugged me that I had no idea what Marvel was making up, except I knew some things were off.
After a couple of weeks of this, I was sitting idly in front of my computer, and started thinking about “The Avengers.” What if that hadn’t been fictional? What if it was a documentary? What would it be like for people who worshipped those gods -as gods- for a couple of them to show up on Earth, and for one of them to be bent on destroying a major city? And what do you do, as a follower, if your patron god has had a psychotic break?
That last question stopped me short, in part because it felt really, really important, like something I might want to think about more deeply, maybe get involved in writing something online about it. And the other part, the more disturbing part, was because I thought, “What if he -was- my patron god?” . . . and it made a weird kind of sense. He’d
always been my favorite mythological figure, and I figured if Loki was real, he might find me kind of interesting. Not that I thought he’d be my patron in the sense of being the patron of my career, but for various reasons, I thought he might find me interesting as a person.
But I didn’t believe in the existence of gods, and I was feeling lazy, so I didn’t write anything, and I tried to go on slacking off on Tumblr and fanfic sites in between my school work.
But the fucking idea would not. get out. of my head. so finally I hauled out my paper journal and decided to try writing out what that might mean, expecting that to get it out of my mind and good riddance, like every idea that run in circles in my head until I wrote it out somewhere. From the June 10th entry:
What do you do when your patron god has had a psychotic break?
What do you do when you don’t even know what it means to HAVE a patron god, which is a made-up term from a made-up world, and besides you’re atheist and you know he doesn’t really exist as a real entity and on top of that he’s not part of THAT fictitious world, he’s a mythological figure in your own?
Which, yeah, as a metaphor or something he – the concept of what he is and represents, that exists, that’s not the problem, the problem is that finally you realized that it makes a weird sort of sense to think of that bastard as your patron god and what the fuck.
I was really outraged, and went on for several pages, following tangents, and got increasingly outraged – and worried, honestly, as I came up with some potential implications.
I went to the fan forums for the Malazan novels to try and figure out what a “patron god” really was, since that was the only context I had for the phrase. I got nothing satisfying. All I had was a vague notion that maybe it meant a god having some sort of claim on you.
I got busy with some school work for a few days and the notion faded a bit.
But for some reason I still really wanted to know what that whole “patron god” thing meant, even if it still didn’t make any sense. I needed to know if it DID make sense. So I typed “heathen patron” into my favorite search engine.
I also started looking up more about Loki, and I found all kinds of wonderful things, and at that point it was pretty much all over but the screaming. Within a few days I’d set up an altar and said an awkward kind of “Hello . . . ?” and things kind of escalated. (When I look back at how little time passed between that and my first real certainty that I -was- getting communication back, it’s – actually really fucking unnerving is what it is, because it’s something on the order of not quite 2 weeks, and I know NOW that He was around dropping hints even earlier in that spring than my cranky journal entry.)
While I have been increasingly aware of the time of year it is, I’m not finding myself as nervous about what might happen this June as I have been in past years.
After the past year, I think I may be starting to get used to surprise plot twists in my life.