“I saw then how I had changed. I did not mind any more, that I lost when we raced and I lost when we swam out to the rocks and I lost when we tossed spears or skipped stones. For who can be ashamed to lose to such beauty? It was enough to watch him win, to see the soles of his feet flashing as they kicked up sand, or the rise and fall of his shoulders as he pulled through the salt. It was enough.”
— The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
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AT LAST THE DAY for our departure came. Our ship was a beauty, finer even than Odysseus’—sleek and slim as a knifepoint, meant to cut the sea. It rode low in the water, heavy with stores of food and supplies.
And that was only the flagship. Beside it, forty-nine others, a city of wood, rolled gently in the waters of Phthia’s harbor. Their bright prow-pieces were a bestiary of animals and nymphs and creatures half in between, and their masts stood as tall as the trees they had been. At the front of each of these ships, one of our new-minted captains stood at attention, saluting as we walked up the ramp to our vessel.
Achilles went first, his purple cloak stirring in the breeze from the sea, then Phoinix, and me with a new cloak of my own, holding the old man’s arm to steady his steps. The people cheered for us and for our soldiers, filing onto their own ships. All around us final promises were shouted: of glory, of the gold that would be stripped and brought home from Priam’s rich city.
Peleus stood at the shore’s edge, one hand raised in farewell. True to his word, Achilles had not told him of the prophecy, merely hugged him tightly, as if to soak the old man into his skin. I had embraced him too, those thin, wiry limbs. I thought, This is what Achilles will feel like when he is old. And then I remembered: he will never be old.
The ship’s boards were still sticky with new resin. We leaned over the railing to wave our last farewell, the sun-warm wood pressed against our bellies. The sailors heaved up the anchor, square and chalky with barnacles, and loosened the sails. Then they took their seats at the oars that fringed the boat like eyelashes, waiting for the count. The drums began to beat, and the oars lifted and fell, taking us to Troy.
- The Song of Achilles
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ok but dismantle the idea that you should finish your writing as quick as possible. some of my favourite books (stand-alones. with series i cannot choose) were written over the span of many years. the secret history was written in 10 years and the same with the song of achilles. all the light we cannot see took 9 years to write. almost every fan fiction takes the span of a few months to create and even then they aren’t perfect. lotr took 16 years for tolkien to compose. jkr took six years to write the philosophers stone. victor hugo wrote les mis in the space of 12 years. yes, many good books and stories are written over the course of a few months, but everyone’s different and it might take some more time for you. all im saying is that all these amazing books have changed and shaped literature and they weren’t written in a day. so take your time, it dosent matter if your work dosent turn out to be a masterpiece, you can perfect it day by day until you’re satisfied. don’t feel compelled to rush
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