Booze, Nooky, Hades, and an Existential Crisis

It’s a metaphor. Well, the Hades part is. Maybe.

I didn’t fall asleep till after 4:30 in the morning just the other day. I was listening to music on my mp3 player, trying to fall asleep, when a song by Lauv came on. There wasn’t anything special about the song, but Lauv was introduced to me by my coworker Alex. Suddenly I’m thinking about him, which one thing after another led me to a memory of Lucifer and Wildflower that left me reeling. There, in the wee hours of the morning my heart is racing and I’m remembering slamming out of the kitchen so mad and frustrated that I finally burst into tears outside. I had other coworkers come to find out if I was ok, a manager, a general manager, and finally my big boss and owner of the restaurant. To the point where I was asked if I needed someone to talk to Lucifer. This memory still pisses me off, and I was laying there seconds away from texting Coffeeman, because I was freaking out….. two plus years after it happened. It happened in 2018…. Time has passed, so why does this still get to me?

“What is it about this job that lends itself to freak out moments?” I write later on the whiteboard at work. “From dreams that leave you tossing and turning, to middle of the night panic attacks.” This comes after finding out Astro D has spent the night with wild dreams as well. (mine were panic inducing, to some point) This writing on the whiteboard leaves both Jersey Boy and New York Babe (our bar manager) stumped. “I’m having an existential crisis,” is all I tell Jersey Boy who shakes his head and wanders off. Trust me, he could not handle a K having an existential crisis.

This made my mind go in so many directions

A month ago I was talking to Scarlett St. Clair about a line she wrote for her upcoming novel, A Game of Malice, and her character of Hades, god of the Underworld.

Scarlett: He’s pretty intense right now. LOL
Me: he’s got a lot going on right now. Sometimes this is all that eases the stress…

Long ago TomCat ended a particularly brutal night with the statement, “I need a shower and sex.” I laughed at the time, but later on as I became more and more responsible for bigger things, I started understanding this line. And I used it on Scarlett to explain Hades intensity.

“In my world, it’s like the perfect stress reducer,” I tell her. “…And it actually works… not that I dabble in much more than showers these days…… The adrenaline runs high even after hours of work, so trying to wind down is killer. Hence why I am a serious night owl. Chefs turn to drugs, alcohol, and sex to wind down. It’s funny in the gloss over version, but it’s actually a much deeper issue under the surface. Hades actually personifies a lot of the inner stress and depression that exists in this world. Part of the reason I love him. It’s also why we have sick, twisted, and sex related jokes.”

“Hades is definitely a good metaphor for that,” she replies. “How insane, I had no idea honestly.”

The cooking/chef world is unlike any I thought I would ever join. ( See Note at the bottom of this post) And there is the strangest amount of adrenaline that comes from being in it. New Year’s Eve had me making pizza till 1am, then having to clean up and close down. While I went into work later than usual, I still had all this prep to do, a service time where I was busy with making more pizzas, then winding down for two hours, to start it all up again. I didn’t get to sleep till 5am on New Year’s Day. The adrenaline kept me wired for hours. It is so hard to just let it all drop out of your system. And a crutch of alcohol, or drugs, or sex, is like the only thing that kind of kills all the mental crap going on. I do not dabble in much more than alcohol, but usually at a controlled rate. I don’t like hangovers, and I have to be careful. But to feel pleasantly buzzed after a chaotic night is relaxing.

Sex takes a massive edge off. Probably because it is its own form of a high. Ironically, all the things I mention are also all highly addictive. So is the adrenaline of a service rush. You want to talk let down, have a quiet night when you were expecting busy. New years….. I was running on such a high. From getting glammed up, to having a bunch of fun orders and the speed of getting them done before midnight, then fireworks. I was on cloud 9 till suddenly I mentally crashed and groaned at the smeared eyeliner and mascara.

Most people I talk to do not have a clue about the world I am in. I don’t expect them too, but it can be an insane world. One of the reasons I love Scarlett’s character of Hades is he is a metaphor. His scenes are incredibly appealing to me, especially the vulnerable ones, because he has his highs and lows and frustrations. He doesn’t sleep well. He is up at all times of the night. He’s addicted to whiskey. He’s addicted to Persephone and sex… Not that that’s a bad thing with her, but he is addicted.

I know chefs that go to bed at 3am and are up by 8am. Burnt out is an understatement of what is going on with them. We all get burnt out at some point. Right now I am exhausted. An instagrammer I follow was asking how my new year was going and I said I was trying to be more mindful and healthy, but I am 3/4 of the time exhausted. Cut back hours and I am more tired than when I was working a 40 hour week. There is a lot of mental instability right now with shut downs, and take out, and attempting to maintain products with no pattern to sales.

And this is why even though I am not the executive chef, I have middle of the night panic attacks. I was panicking before work today because I forgot to let Astro D know that we had blown through a specific weight in dough. The two of us are pizza first and foremost, so that is where we back and forth problems. The oven was being a bitch today. The dough was needing to be rerolled. The dough was over proofing. It was too big. And so on.

Existential crisis might be hyperbole, but at the same time, here it is 3:30 am and I’m drinking wine in bed while I write this. Mulled, but wine nonetheless.

Maybe I am Hades….

(Scarlett said I was when I showed her my glass of whiskey at 3am a few weeks ago)

Kate

Note:  I recently started following Culinary Love, a platform for discussion about the culinary world. From taking care of our cooks to discussing the hard things like depression and addiction. I haven’t delved into the whole blog, but I follow one of the chefs who was part creator. I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in finding out more about methods to dealing with depression, and if you are a non service industry person, a good resource for finding out some of what our world is like.

Click the image below to take you directly to Culinary Love . Or click the link right there.

 

A Touch of Ruin – Book Review

So, I reviewed the first of a trilogy (?) of a Hades and Persephone retelling, A Touch of Darkness. Just this last week, the sequel dropped and I had it read in a few days. I thought I would take the time to review both of the books to support the author, Scarlett St. Clair. I think newer writers can use all the help we loyal supporters can give them.

A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair takes place a few months after A Touch of Darkness. Persephone and Hades are officially public, though all still think Persephone is a mortal. Except for her best friend, Lexa who knows the truth ( who gets a whole story within this book as well).  Persephone is still dealing with the pressure of her mother’s displeasure of being with Hades, her boss is requiring an exclusive story on her and Hades relationship, and now she just found out, her friend Sybil, an oracle of Apollo’s, has lost all her power since she won’t sleep with Apollo. Justice warrior Persephone to the rescue!

Everything is going wrong. Hades past is catching up to him, and Persephone is still dealing with her feelings on trust and love. Her powers are manifesting in ways she can’t control, and all the general stress of life and being in the public has gotten to Persephone in ways that are not helping matters.

Basically, everything is going wrong. By the way, this is classic sequel territory. You have the set up in the first book, the fall down in the second, and redemption comes in the third book. You start to see some redemption by the last quarter of A Touch of Ruin. But this is long after you’ve wanted to shake the dickens out of Persephone. How could she be so stupid? Answer? Because we all do stupid things when we are insecure, unsure, and afraid. (Perse, I’ve been there). But redemption is sweet. While Hades isn’t the best communicator of all times, : insert dark and brooding types never are : he desperately loves Persephone and he really is trying. There are even current social issues of death. I won’t say more as it will spoil.

This book still left me with certain questions, like how in the first one, Hades uses his powers of invisibility to ‘spy’ on Persephone, but you are left wondering if he really was. And if other gods can bestow favors, why can’t Persephone?  And while I love how Scarlett inserted one of the myths of Pirithous, I found it slightly rushed towards the end and I was hoping Persephone was a tad bit stronger. Just a tad. But hey, I’m a writer, I will always want to put my spin on a perfectly lovely story.

This book tends to focus a lot on sex, and as a good sex scenes type book, this hits the nail. We’ve all read our erotic fiction, this one is pretty darn good for that.

I love how we get tastes of other gods in this one. Apollo (I actually love his character), Hermes, Hecate, Aphrodite, and even Helen of Troy are brought in. Hermes and Hecate are truly great supporting characters. Well written and fun and full of depth, they are just the perfect ensemble cast for Persephone.

This book, while not the level of flair as A Touch of Darkness, is still really enjoyable and makes me anxious for book number three. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, but then, most sequels hit this way.

If, like I said in A Touch of Darkness review, you are looking for a fun retelling of the classic myth, then check out books one and two. I can’t wait for number three!

I’m kind of hoping Ms. St. Clair tackles other myths over time. I can see her going to town on so many.

Kate

A Touch of Darkness – Book Review

I love classic story retellings. Emma by Jane Austen to Clueless, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare to She’s the Man, and Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare to 10 Things I Hate About You, just to name three films of that ilk. So when I was on Pinterest browsing one day and came across quotes and lines from a Hades and Persephone retelling, I knew I just had to check it out.

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair is one of this guilty pleasure books that tickle the fancy of any mythology junkie, which I happen to be. I have already read other versions of Hades and Persephone, Cupid and Psyche, Jack Frost and his “winter princess”. Basically it’s like glorified fan fiction, but who cares.

A Touch of Darkness is a modern twist on the ancient myth. Here you have Persephone, an almost college graduate living in New Athens, striving to become an investigative journalist, all while trying to get away from the crushing pressure of her goddess mother, Demeter. Persephone is an unknown goddess herself, but her powers are killing plants. That’s it. She can’t use glamour magic to hide her divine self, so she has to borrow her mother’s, something that irks her and keeps her under mommy’s control. 

Persephone has an internship at The Daily which is what leads her to end up celebrating at Nevernight, one of Hades casinos. And also one of the places Demeter has forbid her daughter from visiting. Interacting with any of the divine in general is a big no no for Persephone as well as she has not had her coming out, so to speak, so she is 100% unknown. But well, sheltered girls are apt to want to spread their wings. Not only does Persephone end up at the nightclub, but she also ventures into single players club and sits down to a card game with a handsome stranger. Oops. Can we guess who this is? Not only is it a god, but it’s Hades himself, where she also inadvertently ended up making a deal with Hades. Boy, how to take mommy’s rules and in with them.

Now she’s stuck having to fulfill a bargain with Lord of the underworld, fighting her attraction to him, dealing with Adonis, who steals her exclusive story on Hades, among a host of other problems. How in the world is a “useless” goddess going to handle all the pressure?

This book has so much more in it than I have even scratched the surface of. Several of the divine make appearances, not to mention the pesky nymphs and backstabbing mortals with favors. Do Persephone and Hades work out? And just what is going on in the Underworld? 

I read this book in a day and a half last summer, loved it so much, I reread it again right off the bat, then had to wait till April of this year for the sequel! The romance and attraction between Hades and Persephone is palpable and sucks you in, in just the best ways. I loved this book. I purchased the kindle version which doesn’t have some of the extras the paperback has.  I am tempted to get the paper copies.

5 out of five stars for fun off the top. Side warning, this book is definitely for adults. Nut read it if you like myth retellings. And then the sequel is next for me to review. The next in the series is A Touch of Ruin.

Kate