The Impact of an Author’s Mythology
The Enchanted Inkpot has asked other writers, “What’s Your Inner Mythology?”
It’s the grey and bleak time of year in the upper Midwest, when you leave the house in darkness and come home under the same. There are teeth in the wind, the trees are skeletal and bare. Nothing and nobody moves around unless they absolutely must. In days of old, I imagine you’d see the warm glow of fires from within your neighbors’ homes, but now we’ve got the cold blue flash of monitors casting them into greater solitude and darkness.
Every year at this time, I curl up and re-read the old Norse myths.
Now while Nancy Marie Brown has been blogging recently about her new book, Song of the Viking: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths – which is being added to my holiday wishlist immediately – I go back to Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Norse Myths every year around this time. As a child, the roaring tales of Odin, Loki and Thor were no more than another fantasy. I knew they were myths, but didn’t take many lessons from them.
As I grew older, I found more and more to take away from these myths. They talked of the end of the world, the end of all light, the twilight of the Gods – and also, they talked of its rebirth. Winter may be coming, but it doesn’t last forever. Everything you love will die, but new things rise to fill the world anew. There’s no endless night.
There’s just … every night.
FAMISHED: THE FARM is set just after Christmas for a few reasons, but all those reasons are tied to a single fact: The land I’ve grown up in speaks more in winter than summer. It can’t hide behind lush prairie grasses and dazzling green growth. It’s broad, and flat, and grey, and … well, seemingly endless. It’ll strip you down, just as it does to my protagonists.
Add Lovecraft’s uncaring universe to this bleak Scandinavian blend, and you’ll get an example of how a writer’s inner mythology can and will impact the things they write. I don’t think of myself as a depressive or downcast person (though I’ll cop to moodiness) – and yet, the colorless blend of fatalism and optimism in those stories fill my own stories as “the honey-wave fills our fortresses of poetry”.*
* – Well, I can’t discuss Norse Myths without just a little kenning.
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