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

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Mythic Definition as Creativity

Write with Impact

Have you ever noticed how many fairy tales and folktales begin with the concept of a land far away, and yet the "new land" might be just down the road as well as across the horizon? And while following that geography the tales repeat what would be considered familiar locations: a great forest, across the seas, a castle, a cottage, a road. The people and animals are listed by familiar type as well: beggar, woodcutter, king, peasant, dragon, wolf. Often their immediate actions and choices fall into familiar patterns, but then they have to reassess.

From Aristotle on many writers believe there are only two basic plot points which apply to every story. 1) A stranger leaves town. 2) A stranger comes to town. Note how perfectly they fit into the land far away mentioned above. And these two stories, as well as other patterns, keep being told over and over.

This is myth as creativity. Regardless of the consistent pattern structure or the basic ingredients, it comes out new and keeps being re-told. Think of Cinderella or David versus Goliath. Once Upon a Time has been completely recreated in the popular television series.

Mythic stories look at the familiar surroundings from a different vantage point. What is seen is not necessarily so. It takes a new vision, a deeper look. Whether the journey is long or short in physical distance or in terms of moral choices, the story characters return with a completely new perspective on their old familiar life.

These stories are both personal and universal. No two versions are identical. With each new telling the storyteller brings fresh color and music and conversation designed for his particular audience. It feeds the creative heart much like a child who asks to hear a story over and over again. Which one is your favorite?

Share: Whenever I give workshops where I give an exercise where I set out a pattern sentence or pattern ingredients I am always amazed at the variety of style genre and atmosphere.

Write your version of the following pattern.  Turn right at the end of the town square (whatever key detail you choose) and head (north, south, east, west) down the ………road. Soon you will (see, hear, notice, recognize)……. Be sure to reach the…….by sunset or else you will face…….

Have fun!

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Mythic Definition as Imagination

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“The imagination is our way into the divine Imagination, permitting us to see wholly—as whole and holy—what we perceive as scattered, as order what we perceive as random.” Austin Farrer (as quoted in Reversed Thunder by Eugene H. Peterson)

Mythic is often acknowledged, or accused, as imaginary with the emphasis on made-up impossibilities, or fantastical and unbelievable stories for entertainment. But mythic imagination is actually visionary—a strategy of seeing from a new perspective. It dares to ask the what-if questions to the nth degree. It risks failure over and over again in the attempts to make whole broken parts.

Mythic imagination permeates story and science, exploration and cuisine, language and geography. It is priceless, peerless, and passionate.

It dares to dream beyond the reality it can see and touch and feel. Galileo studied the heavens, improved the telescope, created an early version of a thermometer, and set his world upside down in arguments by proposing the earth and other planets revolved around the sun. For that he faced a trial for heresy.

Three Persian astronomers, or wise men, followed a star across a thousand miles to welcome a newborn king, born in a stable.

Known primarily for inventing a working light bulb, Thomas Edison also invented the phonograph and a motion picture camera. With world changing fantastical consequences. Madam Curie is famous for her studies on radium and Albert Einstein for the “speed of light”. He is acknowledged as a genius even though as a teenager he struggled in a school that demanded rote only learning. One of his quotes states, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

Mythic imagination explodes with possibilities. It ignites wonder. It sparks creativity.

Share: What reality would you like to see re-designed? How would a new perspective change its focus?

Read deep, marcy

                                                                    (Source: bookshelves, via fallukeelskeren)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Mythic Definition as Hope

Write with Impact

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;….. . But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13: 12-13

A mirror reflects images. Outer landscapes often act as mirrors in myth and fantasy, allowing the characters and/or reader a deeper insight into themselves, a reflection of their inner (soul) landscape, and recognition of shared humanity. When the inner and outer landscapes connect, this combination often illumines spiritual imagery through mirrors and maps. They translate the character’s internal landscape for him/her.

In a similar way the mythic stories that are handed down from generation to generation act as mirrors of hope. They include an assortment of proverbs, parables, wisdom stories, creation, family heritage, cultural, songs, fairy tales, and folktales. But a common thread they all share are that the stories are considered of value, the reality of what has gone before and the promises that the future will bring. Through a heart of love they continue to pass along hope.

In some ways myth as hope is tied into myth as yearning although this is not a fabricated put on a happy face future, but rather an expectation based on experience and relationships and truth. It is hope in story that brings about new beginnings. It shares dreams fitted with solid hiking boots.

James N. Frey, in his book The Key, points out that a hero’s journey does not necessarily mean the hero will survive, but rather that he succeeds and if he perishes—he dies victorious.

“The hero faces natural fears. They include the terrors of height, fire, wild animals, creepy things, dark places, claustrophobic spaces, physical combat, inhospitable environments, monsters, evil spirits, and perils involving water: storms at sea, rapids and so on.” James N Frey

When we can connect our stories to these characteristics and the patterns they provide as they pass down through generations, then we discover and develop personal essence that resonates today. They bridge the past, the present and the future with possibilities—with hope.

Share: What is the first novel you remember reading that gave you a sense of timeless hope?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Mythic Definition as Truth

Write with Impact

“Literature proves there is order in the universe. It says that, in life, moral choices lead to outcomes. In fiction there is meaning in human events.” James N. Frey

A truth is true or accurate regardless of opinion or debate or rebellion. A truth is true even when information is missing and we cannot readily perceive it. Or have not yet reached a maturity to comprehend its breadth and length and depth and height.

Science, for example, has seen many instances where discoveries and knowledge have opened up unbelieved vistas. One major universal fact being that the earth is round, not flat, and that it orbits the sun rather than being the center of the universe. Talk about a complete upheaval of perspective!

Although there continues to be ongoing debate over a “historical” King Arthur, as well as Robin Hood, historians do agree that legends often have a grain of truth in them. And in contrast, a recent television series had one character telling another that, “for a con to work there has to be a grain of truth in it.” That true recipe for telling lies goes all the way back to Satan’s deceit to Eve over the fruit on the tree.

Mythic characteristics can impact our stories when we tap into the heart truths they represent. Like a parable, there is a surface story and also an undercurrent story that produces an emotional tie.

We make ‘copies’ of the original stories and characters and pass them on through the generations. Some become so familiar that they enter into everyday language as common metaphors or references, both across languages and within ethnic cultures, giving us shortcuts. Terrible sea incidents become tied to Poseidon allusions, or floods. Rainbows are considered a sign of promise all around the world. Black holes immediately spell danger. So does Godzilla, regardless of the language being spoken.

James N. Frey points out in his book The Key, that “an astounding example of the similarity of myths from culture to culture is the myth of the hero king.”

In A Case For Christ, C. S. Lewis is cited as saying, “... the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.”

What meaning do you want your readers to hear in your story? How might mythic truth help you make that connection?

Share: What historical or fictional character do you think embodies original hero attributes?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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