Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Create a Myth...

Stories, legends and myths have always fascinated me. Where did they come from? Were they plucked from pure imagination or was there some seed of truth? A seed that grew with the telling or grew in the imagination?

I believe all myths stem from some bit of history or truth. An normal day is upset by an abnormal circumstance or visitor, an expectation is exceeded or a dream fulfilled at the most opportune moment, a surprise from mother nature or a nightmare realized – these are the things that become the seeds of myth.

Of course there is one other essential component of the creation of the myth; the myth-maker. The myth-maker is that person who tells the story and adds an adjective or a supposition. He or she is someone who compares the truth with a dream or another coincidental event. The story, the myth, grows like an apple tree sprouting branches and fruit. Soon those apples drop on heads and at the feet of more myth-makers and more story tellers. The mythical apples are stuck in a pocket and shared with a friend or two or twelve. A myth is born.

Do you want to be a myth-maker? Take a story, any story, happy or not and find the interesting truth: A news story about lost boy. Then add a dose of extended reality: he finds an animal den to sleep in. Then add the miraculous: boy is missing for several weeks but is found alive and well.  Ask the question why?

All you need to do now is find a plausible answer and set the story free (tell a friend or two or twelve). The lost boy was tended by a pack of coyotes who assumed he was some kind of human cub. They fed him and kept him warm and taught him to howl. Now for some reason he is able to understand the language of dogs. It becomes a myth about a Dog Boy. Retold and embellished it becomes more interesting and strange as it grows. The apple seed becomes the tree. And as they say, “We can count the number of seeds in an apple but we cannot count the number of apples in a seed.” A myth is born.

1 comment:

Melissa Gill said...

I've always found myths fascinating as well.