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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Mythic Definition as Mystery

Write with Impact

Albert Einstein said, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge.” Einstein called his imagination “a holy curiosity.”

Mythic mystery absorbs this concept of holy curiosity combined with awe.

“Manna—what is it?” Israel asked, mystified by the flaky fiber carpeting the earth, surrounding their camp. 

“Bread from the Lord,” Moses replied. Gather as much as each needs, an omer apiece only, one day at a time.

They did not, could not, recognize the substance. They struggled to comprehend it, classify it, cook it. Food from heaven. Fare of the angels.

Mythic mystery creates a sense of yearning ‘awe’ that ignites a heart hunger. It combines a search for answers as well as a willingness to just absorb the beauty and questions left behind.

Science has given us detailed explanations of why the sun rises and sets. Yet the causes do not affect the unique beauty of each one spreading its palette of design across the heavens every day.

Jane Yolen refers to folklore as “constantly transforming and being transformed, putting on chameleon like, the colors of its background.” So despite the familiarity, the story is always new and unique.

The lure of a mystery is present in all genres due to the main story question. If we are hooked at the beginning we will read, even through dull sections, determined to find the end’s answer. Chapter endings, scene endings need to leave us with that pause of ‘will she or won’t she succeed or fail’. The books and movies that keep us wondering breathe that mystery thread with both multiple possibilities and/or multiple questions.

When we add and weave a mythic thread of mystery’s awe into our stories, then we can also leave a lingering sense of yearning and a ‘holy curiosity’ that fuels our soul language as well. We write with deeper impact and significance. Like a light breeze causes us to pause, mythic mystery leaves a catch in our throat.

Share: What aspect of nature continues to fill you with awe?

Read deep, marcy

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Mythic Definition

Write with Impact

“Myths are narrative patterns that give significance to our existence.” Rollo May

Why do we need myth? What exactly is it?

According to one google search, myth is defined as:

a traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.
 a widely held but false belief or idea.”

How to reconcile two seemingly opposite concepts? The Bible itself is filled with stories under the first category and yet there are also a few verses warning against myths as lies.

Rollo May says that, “A myth is away of making sense in a senseless world.” Perhaps that is where the crunch comes—what makes sense in one situation can be a serious threat in another and seen as senseless.

Yet when we study myth under the first definition above we find ourselves building bridges of understanding between a different world and our world. We begin to see with a new perspective. A perspective that drives from a heart/soul story truth rather than a formal legal rule.

Like wisdom literature or love, myths speak across time and across cultures in fresh and ever changing language. It encompasses mystery and yearning, truth and hope, imagination and creativity in myriad possibilities.

Mythic literature refers to stories that have been handed down from generation to generation, orally and finally in print. They include proverbs, parables, wisdom stories, creation, family heritage, cultural, songs, fairy tales, and folktales.

According to Rebecca J. Lukens the term ‘traditional’ or ‘folk literature’ expresses the universality of human wishes and needs. “Folktales have been called the ‘spiritual history’ of humankind, the ‘cement of society,’ binding a culture together.”

Whether we recognize it or not myth plays an integral part in our lives. As writers when we can tap into its qualities we are able to write our stories with deeper impact, regardless of genre. Sometimes myth will drive the entire narrative and sometimes it will add only a few spices. However it’s premise of soul language has the capacity to add significance whenever it is used.

Over the next few weeks we’ll take a close look at mythic characteristics to see how they can help us build our stories and write with impact.

Share: What mythic story has impacted you?

Read deep, marcy

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Heart for Inspirational Romance (Part Two)

Reading for Craft

Last week we looked at the romance attribute of fellowship. Here are the next two relevant characteristics for quality inspiration.

Insight. Whether flying the skies over Europe in the historical World War II series Wings of Glory by Sarah Sundin, or time traveling in Italy with Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time, inspirational romance gives insight, clarity, and discernment by modeling real lives struggling with real relationships. All without telling or teaching or trampling.

We may not be the ace pilot with a slightly enlarged ego, but we might recognize that the words his friend had been quietly speaking are similar to the ones our trusted friend has been warning us about. And avoid the fall-out in our own relationship because we listen. Or find the courage to confess an indiscretion and trust it will lead to reconciliation. Outer circumstances change along a timeline, but hearts don’t. Struggles over envy or greed or fear remain. Desire for love, acceptance, and understanding never end. Good fiction mirrors heart-life and in inspirational romance readers can trust the foundation.

Hope. Inspirational romance springs from a faith-based perspective. Often when we really need personal advice we go to someone who not only has known our ups and downs but also has stayed by our side through them. They already speak our heart and soul language. We have confidence to know we are using the same vocabulary.

Author Gail Gaymer Martin notes that there are three threads in inspirational romance: personal, romantic, and spiritual growth. As the characters grow into their relationship with each other, they also develop a relationship with God in their individual faith walk. Understanding and developing their spiritual needs sometimes will draw them closer together and at other times will drive them further away. However, the end result will always be hope, even if it is only a sliver of light.

Inspirational romance is heart romance inside and out—changing lives, restoring souls, and creating new beginnings, all grounded in love.

Share: What authors do you know that share all three aspects in their romances?

                                             Read deep, marcy

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