Saturday, January 10, 2009

Myth and truth

Mythology was required reading in high school and I loved it. Each culture uses their myths to describe universal truths about people and their relationships with each other and their world. The stories deal with greed, love, jealousy, pride, selflessness and other themes that seem unchanged throughout human existence. Each holds a kernel of truth that transmits down through the ages, regardless of how old the story is.

Joseph Campbell did an amazing job describing the basic structure of myths and in pointing out commonalities between ancient myths and well-told modern stories. He says the modern storyteller is honoring the ancient mythic tradition if he/she knows the kernel of truth or the moral they want to impart. But today's storyteller can't overtly state the moral in one sentence and still get the work published. The moral needs to be woven through the story so it becomes part of the fabric, so to speak, and not something that hits the reader over the head. I have so much to learn.

I sent out the first one-third of my book to my ICL instructor, Nancy Butts. Now I'm onto the 'big swampy middle' third of the book. Wish me luck.

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