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Outing the Mermaid


Outing the Mermaid

Last night at the summer-solstice launch for #OutingTheMermaid at Moonraker Books, there was cake and mermaid water (it was blue) and silly door prizes. Lianna Gilman won the silly mermaid socks, Hope Fay won the silly mermaid tights, and then Lianna's husband, Robert Gilman won the silly mermaid blankie. Pictures here soon, I hope. Please ask your bookseller to get the book for you. If you're unlucky and don't live near an indie book store, OK, go here: https://tinyurl.com/y9p9xa64 #NoMoreSilence #MerWOMENrock

June 22– "It was on this day in 1633 that Galileo renounced what we now accept as fact: that the Earth orbits the sun, not the other way around." My lifelong fascination with that event made it into Outing the Mermaid... On their last afternoon in Florence, Lee sought out Galileo’s tomb and sat beside it in Santa Croce, reading a pamphlet on this, her favorite character in history. As she read the familiar account of his abjuration, tears smudged the words. She had never been able to read dispassionately as he swore “that I have always believed, believe now and, with God’s help, will in the future believe all that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church doth hold, preach and teach.” Which would have to include not only that the earth was the center of the universe, but also that all other religions were demonic, that God kept accounts of indulgences and penances, that women were temptresses drawing men away from God and must be kept away from all things sacred, and that one could never leave the Church. In Galileo’s times they could kill you if you deviated from the Church’s views, threatening to take this man’s life, as painfully as it is possible to imagine, if he did not submit. They tried to kill his work and his soul, with the humiliation of this abjuration, this promise to not believe or teach what he knew to be true, even making him swear to inform the Inquisition if he found anyone else speaking the truth. Outgunned, frightened, he caved to an overwhelmingly stronger force. And lived to work on, in silence, in secret, despite them. Lee fervently hoped that the story was true that as he walked away from his submission, the old heretic said under his breath, Eppur si muove. And still it moves. She cheered now, silently, for the dear, magnificent coward. True remained true, no matter what the bastards made you say, no matter how much firepower they aimed at you. They could shut you up, push you to your knees, but we know what we know, don’t we, vecchio mio? And now the old heretic was entombed grandly inside the Church, brought here a century after his death, his Inquisitors no longer alive to protest. A marble bust depicted him looking sadly skyward, above a carved tribute that included the words Hic bene quiescat. Why didn’t she believe that he was resting here in peace? Being displayed in this great church, with all the marble gewgaws, wasn’t enough of an apology to engender peace. He should be buried up on a hill outside the city, where he could sit on his tombstone and watch the earth turn around the sun, just as it always had and always would. “Leedle, I found something over there that says he isn’t all buried here.” She looked at Joe, trying to understand what he was saying. “Part of him is across town in a science museum. Look.” He handed her the little booklet, the pages open at a picture of a glass bell with a gilded form inside. The translation read, “This is the finger with which the illustrious hand covered the heavens and indicated the immense space. It pointed to new stars with the marvelous instrument, made of glass, and revealed them to the senses.” And that’s not all it did, she wanted to add, as she read that it was the great man’s middle finger right hand, now gilded and erect, for all time. “This is funny? Sheesh, Leedle, you have a really weird sense of humor.” https://www.amazon.com/Outing-Mermaid-Ann-Medlock/dp/161343118X

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