The compelling thing about making art—or making anything, I suppose—is the moment when the vaporous, insubstantial idea becomes a solid there, a thing, a substance in a world of substances. Circe, Nimbue, Artemis, Athena, all the old sorceresses: they must have known the feeling as they transformed mere men into fabulous creatures, stole the secrets of the magicians, disposed armies: ah, look, there it is, the new thing. Call it a swine, a war, a laurel tree. Call it art.
They went to university because someone, at a time when universities seemed important, said that in order to rise in the world, you had to have a degree. And thus the world was deprived of some excellent gardeners, bakers, antique dealers, sculptors, and writers.
Come, weave us a scheme so I can pay them back! Stand beside me, Athena, fire me with daring, fierce as the day we ripped Troy's glittering crown of towers down. Stand by me - furious now as then, my bright-eyed one - and I would fight three hundred men, great goddess, with you to brace me, comrade-in-arms in battle!
But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees. Athena's owl of wisdom and Merlin's companion, Archimedes, were screech owls surely, not this bird with the glassy gaze, restless on the bough, nothing but blood on its mind.
Question (from a reader) : Will the Wise Goddess Athena overthrow Zeus and become the ruler of Olympus? Athena's answer : What an interesting idea . . . No, just kidding, Dad. Put away the lightning bolt.
Ancient of days! august Athena! where, Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul? Gone--glimmering through the dream of things that were; First in the race that led to glory's goal, They won, and pass'd away--Is this the whole?