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#actuallyautistic voices

Odyssey Revisited

Nadia's back with more writing! Like her pal Jack, Nadia chose to take on a revision of Homer's Odyssey.

In case you need a quick refresher, Odysseus sails off to fight the Trojan Wars, leaving his wife Penelope behind on the island of Ithaca.

Nadia tells the tale from Penelope's view, and gives a fresh twist to the old tale.



Penelope gazed across Ithaca’s rocky hills out at the stony beach. Her eyes lingered on the waves, looking for sails. Every day she searched for her husband’s ship, and every day no ship appeared.

Today was no different. Penelope sighed. Queens weren’t supposed to be without a king, everyone said. So why was she dreading Odysseus’ return? The single life agreed with Penelope. Temporary or permanent, his absence was what she had grown accustomed to. Hard to imagine anything else after twenty years.

After Odysseus sailed for Troy, Penelope settled into the rhythm of life without him. When the war ended she avoided thinking about how everything would change with Odysseus’s return. As time passed and there was no return, Penelope began to relax. The people of Ithaca got impatient. Why not take a suitor? “I’m waiting for my husband,” Penelope insisted. This bought her some time.

When the years passed and still Odysseus did not return, the chorus of questions began again. Will the queen finally take a suitor? “I must mourn Odysseus’ father,” pleaded Penelope. She promised to consider the men clamoring for her when Laertes’ shroud was complete.

Each day Penelope wove at her loom. Each night she unraveled the work she had done that day. The suitors asked no questions at first. Eventually they grew suspicious. At the end of one day, a few suitors whispered together. Where was the shroud? How long did it take to weave one? The men all agreed that they knew nothing about weaving but that something seemed amiss. They decided to ask an expert.

Yes, Penelope and her maids indeed had tricked the suitors. What teasing! The suitors’ tempers flared. Who did she think she was? They roused the Society to Protect the Patriarchy.

The nine old men shuffled into the Society’s auditorium. Eager to tame this free-thinking woman, they enacted a new law. No woman shall remain unmarried following the death or disappearance of her spouse. The nine old men cackled. The suitors puffed out their chests once more. The patriarchy was secure.

Impatient to learn which of them Penelope would choose, the suitors rushed to her quarters, waving the law. “Now you, indeed, must choose one of us,” they insisted. Penelope grinned. “I have chosen,” Penelope replied, clutching the hand of her ever-present maid. “Meet my wife.”


The author points to letters to spell her poetry.

Nadia asks the world to presume competence of all nonspeaking autistics and to use respectful language when you talk about people who type instead of speak.

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