In May 2015 I sat down at my laptop, facing my shrine, and began a writing project unlike anything I’d undertaken before. I wanted to write a hymn to the god Antinous every day that month. I had been involved in the worship of Antinous since late 2012, and since 2013 I’d been developing a habit of daily writing through the excellently minimal website, 750words.com. Inspired by my growing love for the god and the examples of other polytheist bloggers who did 30-day writing sprints devoted to individual deities or pagan topics, I wanted to create a body of hymns as an offering to the Beautiful Boy.
I planned out the project more than I usually do for my fiction; I listed epithets and titles I wanted to include and shuffled them around to create a progress of topics I felt was organically sensible. Then I went to the website each day, usually in the evening after dinner, looked at my topic, put my hands on the keyboard, and wrote.
Sometime back in June, I think–not the Before Times, but a while ago now–I conceived the idea of writing a “DVD commentary” on the Hymns. In fannish communities where fanfiction is written and read, the “DVD commentary” is an author’s reflection on how and why she wrote a particular work, much like a director’s or actor’s commentary on a film. Since a lot of fanfic (but by no means all) is inspired by film or television, it’s not surprising that someone borrowed the idea and applied it to the narrative transformations of the source material. I’d never actually done such a commentary on any of my fanfic, but I thought it would be useful to me, and thus potentially to other devotees, to do so with these hymns.
I am aiming for a spot somewhere between the fannish idea of the DVD commentary and the traditional notion of a commentary on a sacred text. (One of my foundational premises in life is that fandom is religion, but religion is also fandom.) These hymns are not sacred texts, except to me and to those who, I am grateful to know, find them helpful in their own devotion. I hope that my commentaries, too, may be useful to my readers.