“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words… Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.” ” – Joseph Campbell
It never fails when I need something to write about to read folklore or mythology. It’s like instant inspiration for me. So many of the stories are so rich and yet so bare. They feel like playgrounds to me. They beg to be told from different perspectives. They seem to yearn to have details filled in. They taunt me with the questions, ‘But what happened after that?’
But this prompt is not about retelling. This is an exercise in setting. I will admit that I often do not give the setting of a story enough thought. Setting changes everything.
Pick a random myth or folktale from the (amazing!) collection at the University of Pittsburgh’s website here. Some fun things I’ve tried: tales starting with the same letter as my name, a character’s name — you get the point. Then spin a globe and pick a random place to set your story. Or, better yet, use the antipodes map to set your story on the exact opposite side of the globe. Set the story in modern day to change the setting even more.
I would be super interested in seeing what other people come up with, so if you do this, please share!
Creative Commons love to Tina Bell Vance, from flickr for the photo. Please check out her work. It is amazing!