More than Human, More than Woman

stories, myths and legends about mermaids from around the world

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Issue #1

Happy Monday! If you’re in Malaysia, you’re probably at home right now. It’s day 13 of the government-announced movement control order and I’m working from home. After almost two weeks of being mostly stuck indoors, I’m feeling a little feral. A little more beastly. Like mermaids, who are part animal, part human.

Anyway, wherever in the world you are, I hope you’re well. I hope you’re safe. And I hope this email makes your Monday blue in a better way.

Now, on to some of the things I’ve been reading:

The Secret History of Mermaids by William Bond | Woman Thou Art God

Perhaps mermaids aren’t as mythical as we’ve always made them out to be. There are several accounts of mermaid sightings that only mention a nude woman sitting on a rock far out at sea. And the idea that 1) she was nude and 2) she could swim that far was so unbelievable that “of course”, she was magical. But perhaps there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it.

Asian Mermaids (Matsyāṅganā and Ningyo) | Cryptid Wiki

So there’s a type of Asian mermaid called the Ningyo — it’s Japanese — and it’s said to be more fish with some human characteristics, rather than a human with a fish tail like Western mermaids. I don’t know what was more chilling, the fact that someone imagined a creature like that or this line: “Its flesh is pleasant-tasting, and anyone who eats it will attain remarkable longevity.”

Neither Fish nor Flesh by Caroline Turgeon | The New Inquiry

An old article from 2013, written when mermaids were having a resurgence in pop culture. At the time, they were being called “the new vampires” and Turgeon writes that both vampires and mermaids have common ground in their “conflicted, frustrated sexualities”. They’re both monsters that we’ve used to highlight and make sense of the most human parts of ourselves.


Most appropriate mermaid feature on social media in this season of COVID-19:

As with all my other projects, I’m figuring this out as I go along. Bear with me! Let me know if you have any comments — what you like / don’t like about this newsletter, what you’d like to see more of.

Meanwhile, I’m heading off to continue work on my collection of short stories. Would you read a story that began with: “The mermaid walked into the bar…”?

Until next Monday! (Hopefully.)