Susan here. One of my favorite movies this summer was Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins and personified by the amazing Gal Gadot (if you haven't seen it yet, the DVD release is next week!). Inspired by Diana Prince, Amazon princess, and her gifts, determination, compassion, great costume and golden lasso of truth, the Wenches recently took a break from writing to consider what super powers we might like to have ourselves – and why.
The extraordinary power itself, whatever it may be, isn’t as appealing as the chance to go beyond the ordinary, experience something magical or mythical, elevate some useful quality or ability, and step in to help others. Without effecting some change or benefit, what really is the fun and reward of a super power? Cooking dinner with heat vision might get a little old after a while (and we have microwaves for that), and stirring up a whirlwind to rake the autumn leaves would be cool—but much more fun to be able to do that for all your neighbors’ yards too. As writers, we can contribute stories—and while writing isn’t a super power (though super stamina is required to produce an entire manuscript!), it does make a difference for readers.
There’s a dark side to super powers too; every super hero, male and female, has a weakness or vulnerability or a limitation. They are not perfect. “I've always liked that the Statue of Liberty isn't a ‘pretty’ woman but a strong one,” says Wench Anne Gracie. Super beings in comics and films have much in common with mythological beings, who often had complexities of strengths and weaknesses. Super heroes, male and female, are a modern equivalent of gods and goddesses.
Strength, wisdom, integrity, courage—beings with super abilities, in every story and every film, are often very human, if not completely in their DNA, in their natures—and that humanity, combined with some super power, can create extraordinary magic. And that is hugely appealing.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? How about your costume and/or special attribute? Let's save the world, Wenches! Or at least bring some improvement to our little corners of the world.
The original super heroine who looks like a woman with real physical power was Xena, Warrior Princess. Xena had muscles under her bustier!
Always the contrarian, I’ve never liked flashy superheroes in their tight costumes that shout “Here I am, look at me!” I’m a quiet, reserved person, so I think of librarians as superheroes, with the ability to open new worlds to anyone who asks. Or teachers—man, there are real heroes! I could ask for patience to be a teacher as my superpower.
But if I get any superpower I want, then I want one that produces peace. There has to be a downside to every magic, so I suppose I wouldn’t be able to fly around, sprinkling peace dust, but maybe I could take myself to places that need to see an end to fighting and sprinkle peace dust on their leaders. Or shoot them with it. <G>
If I was choosing a super-power for my own personal gratification it would be the power to fly. I dislike flying in aeroplanes but oddly I dream of flying quite often and it’s delightful. However I feel that if you are granted the awesome responsibility of a super-power it should be used for the greater good. So I would choose omni-linguism, like Wonder Woman (!) so that I could understand any form of language. The idea of making communication between people easier appeals to me as I think it would lead to a greater understanding and appreciation between everyone and that can only be a good thing. I also like the fact that I could read the runes or any other cipher or written language!
I’d choose to be a super-heroine whose power came from Wisdom. I’ve always loved the idea of Athena—the strong Greek Goddess who was both a warrior and a thinker. She represented strength and courage, tempered by the ability to look at problems thoughtfully and understand the nuances of the challenges. To my mind, Wisdom—the ability to think and listen—is something that would go a long way in making the world a better place.
I actually like it that we have strong villainesses, too. I'm an equal opportunity female character writer. I want strong women as the bad guys, just to make it realistic.
You're going to make me pick one super power, aren't you? Shall I ask to be the wise turtle that endures and sees age after age and becomes very wise? Shall I wear winged sandels and travel the nine worlds, seeing everything? Or will I simply sock evil in the snoot and bring the greedy and venal low for the harm to so many people?
So many choices.
But let's take the high road. Give me the power to heal, I say. Let me fix things. Let me restore Balance. Think of me carrying a broom and a bucket of soap, cleaning up after all those heroes have come through trashing the place.
I can never answer this kind of question because there are too many possibilities, and each one leads me down endless rabbit holes of speculation. Spinning out possibilities is something I enjoy as a writer, but this is such a huge question I might never emerge.
I first thought I might have the superpower to dissolve anger, which would then enable me to stop wars and fights, but then it occurred to me wars are rarely fought in anger, but with cool-headed righteousness and sometimes opportunism, and in many other states, but rarely actual anger.
I thought next of being able to cure disease, but then, if everyone were healed, would there be enough food, and might I be condemning them to eventual starvation or wars over resources? The balance of the world is so delicate. So many rabbit holes . . . so many questions.
But no answer isn't helpful, and I must choose something. So then I thought I'd choose the power to put kindness into people's hearts. It's a gamble, it might have no discernible or dramatic result on a large scale, but then most lives are lived on a small scale. But being a "kindness fairy" sounds pretty feeble, and costume-wise, not terribly interesting. I'm thinking pink with fluffy draperies, and I'm NOT going to wear that!
So then I thought, animals aren't mean, maybe I should have some kind of lioness outfit. So I went searching on the web for a suitable costume, and came across the cutest little girls dressed in lion outfits for Halloween, and there I went, down a rabbit hole again. Distractible, that's me. (Pic from http://www.costumemodels.com/lion-costumes/cute-lion-costume-for-girls)
I’d want a super healing power, no question, to share around liberally, and I’d base my super hero persona on the Celtic goddess Brighid, patron of healing and creativity. As soon as there was a need, I’d transform and be ready to zap a little healing wherever it was needed. Sliver in your finger? Zap. Carpal tunnel, sprained ankle? Zap. On your way to the ICU with something life threatening? Call on me. Zzzap. I’d have a few handy tools, a spinning light to heal what’s ailing your cells and systems, a triskele that carries with it the power of life and regeneration, and an endless supply of chocolate. Because chocolate pretty much makes everyone feel better.