Creative Wordshops Nov 2019 Writing Newsletter

A Myth? What is a myth?

I love this question. To try to answer I’ll tell a story – a make up on the outside with several truths hidden on the inside. Which then changes the outside.

Stories are about goddesses and gods, about parallel worlds and realms, where trees speak, birds become people and sea monsters devour the unwary. Choosing paths. A story thrives on paradox, irony and ambiguity. For a story is about what never happened but always has, over and over, dressed in all the cultural costumes of our world. Here’s Horace, the Roman poet: Mutato nomine et de te fabula narrator. Change only the name and this story is about you. Change the place and it’s about you too.

Many have sought to solve the riddle of a myth. To sing its mystery, moment and mysticism. Carl Jung, carved a Latin inscription above the lintel of his home.
Vocatus atque non vacatus dues aderit. Invited or not the gods will be present. Joseph Campbell, spent his days and nights trying to decipher myth: A myth is a metaphor for the individual journey in our lives. ..so follow your bliss. So how do we live a mythology not a pathology?

A tale is the flower, yesterday today and tomorrow. It unfolds in time. Yet it also blossoms and decays in the reverse order. Like an inter-penetrating gyre that spins and coils out from both ends at the same time. It’s a didgeridoo player who circles sound through the cycle of in-out breath. Like the Okavongo river in Namibia that flows both ways.

Are you lost? So am I for we are trying to express the inexpressible. That’s why I’m writing in metaphors for an image takes us as far as language can go before we enter the silence beyond tongues, the echo of don’t know. We enter the cloud of unknowing.

Imagine – now that’s a quintessential word. Imagination – our highest faculty says Coleridge the poet. When Joan of Arc stood on trial one of her accusers taunted her. You say you hear the voice of God. How do you know this is not just your imagination? The Saint to be retorted How would God speak but through the imagination?