Mythology and Folklore: Amused with Muses

Hap177fattp61to418t22j91p9our50_47397ppy Labor Day, ya’ll ! This month here at Writing Prompts, we are writing about Mythology and Folklore. Quite an exciting topic, wouldn’t you say? I think it’s partly because although Mythology contains the word “myth”, its connotation gives voice to unknown mysteries and inner longings to know about ancient civilizations. Why? Not just because old stuff is cool, but because sifting through history and what we can pull from the culture, philosophy, and traditions of past societies, helps us make sense of our own.

3875279530_7a72cc6f21_oWhen I was in 7th grade, I was introduced to Homer’s The Odyssey. The tales of brave Odysseus strummed new chords of my girlish imagination. Do you recall the first time you encountered a one-eyed Cyclops? I can remember being mystified by a love-sick Calypso. Countless terrible beasts of land and of sea, brought me daring new stimuli with which to associate the word “adventure”.

Isn’t it funny what we latch on to? I wasn’t so much interested in the stories of the gods, as to me, none of the tales could hold a candle to the God who sits on the throne of my heart. But one thing was for certain, I was mesmerized by the muses. The Mosasi were goddesses in their own right. The experts might challenge me on this. At any rate, I was intrigued because they were once thought to be the bearers of inspiration. Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania; these nine daughters of Zeus were said to be lords over the arts.

When our class took the exam on all we could remember about Odysseus and his journey, I am proud to announce that I passed with flying colors! By that time in my life, I had also learned what it took for me to get in “creative mode,” which I soon discovered could also be referred to as “unleashing my inner muse.”4031749500_1469e2d930_o

I recently watched a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, share her thoughts on what these muses have to do with our creativity. Gilbert comes from the stance that there is far too much pressure placed on artists to conceive perfection in their work. She discusses the great tragedy behind relying solely upon ones creative genius, as many artists often meet their demise under this great weight. This idea of divine support, relieves not only fears of failure and rejection, but also obliterates any shred of arrogance.  Do you employ some inner muse to accomplish your greatest work? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

<3AOC

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“Dave, Dave, the Strong and Brave” (a short story)

Sidney, Greg’s pint-sized college roommate, playfully pokes at the oversized muscles of Dave, Greg’s high school buddy who is visiting the campus. “Are those real?” Sidney asks in his nasally voice.

His pals laugh, but Greg just rolls his eyes.

american-football-336896Dave spent three years at Pennsylvania State on a football scholarship. Now he works at a health club where they expect him to have a physique that raises the hopes of anyone who walks in dreaming of a new body. In other words, he is paid to look good. And Greg resents it.

They stand outside Greg’s dorm room and the small crowd in the hall grows as Dave tells his tired football stories. They ask what his best play was. Has he thought of going pro? How much can he bench-press? Has he ever entered bodybuilding contests?

Grinning ear to ear, Dave answers them all.

They stroll to the cafeteria at lunchtime where more friends, especially female ones, come talk to Greg just long enough to be introduced to Dave. Starry-eyed college girls hang on his every word. Guys try to impress him with their old high school sports feats. They want his opinion on the college playoffs. They ask more about his coworker who played for the Lakers for two years.

Someone asks, “Have you ever measured your biceps?” Greg pushes aside his lukewarm spaghetti and reaches for his cherry cobbler, doing his best to tune it all out.

Ifarm-wrestling-176645 they only knew Dave like Greg has for all those years. His flaws and insecurities, the big ears under the perfectly groomed red hair, the stupid things that came out of his mouth since they met in kindergarten back in 1964. “I’m Dave, Dave, the strong and brave,” he’d say with a silly grin. He was the tall kid sitting behind Greg, making gorilla noises.

Then there were the times Greg helped him with high school assignments so he could just stay on the team. Greg had the brains, Dave had the brawn, and the looks, and that transparent Mr. Nice-Guy aura.

Greg feels stuck in the college cafeteria as all his friends lavish attention upon his overly muscular boyhood buddy. These are friends who should be congratulating Greg on his story in the college journal, his election as class senator, or making it to the dean’s list again.

That evening the two guys get on a bus headed downtown. Greg stares out the window, listening to the rain drumming overhead.

Dave interrupts their silence.

“Greg,” he says, “do you think I’m okay?”

After all the hubbub on campus today, Greg can’t believe his friend is still fishing for compliments.

“Sure,” he says, watching the rain-soaked cars.

“No,” Dave says. “I mean, do you think I’m really an okay guy–on the inside.”

Greg turns toward Dave with a curious frown and catches him wiping tears off his cheeks. His eyes are red and puffy. His head is lowered and turned away from other passengers.

Then it sinks in.

This tall, good-looking, football player-turned-bodybuilder really cares about who he is. In an age that worships appearance, he’s honestly hurt that no one cared about who he was on the inside.

Dave’s humility blasts a gaping hole in Greg’s arrogance. He clears his throat.

“Yeah, Dave,” he says. “You’re a great guy. I mean it.”

His jealousy is nudged out by a swelling shame, and Greg remembers why he’s called Dave his best friend for all these years. He’s one of the good guys. Character matters to him. He’d do anything for anybody. He’s as honorable as the day is long, with a heart twice as big as his biceps.

Greg recalls two young boys sitting at their school desks. He sees a lanky kid with big ears and a silly grin, and in front of him sits a skinny blond kid with an incurable cowlick, trying not to laugh at his friend’s muffled grunts.

Greg’s eyes begin to water. He puts his hand on Dave’s shoulder and smiles.

“You’re one of the best, pal,” he tells him. “And I’m proud to be your friend.”

Then in the deepest. most serious voice he could muster, Greg stares at him and says, “Dave, Dave, the strong and brave.”

Dave stares back–and makes gorilla noises. A man across the aisle turns away, and the boyhood buddies bust out laughing.

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Writing prompts for our writer friends:  (1) Pick a random year from your childhood, and write about the first memory that comes to mind. (2) Find a photo of children at play and create a story from it. (3) Write about how a national event or trend affected you or your family.

Mary Hamilton

Mary Hamilton

Today we welcome Mary Hamilton, YA author, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

 

(1) What is your favorite book? (Bible excluded)

Mary: That’s a tough question. I think I would choose When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin.

 

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Mary: It would be great fun to be Lizzy Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Going to those dances and ending up with the dashing Mr. Darcy would be a dream!

 

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Mary: I’d love to explore the United Kingdom—Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland. So many of my favorite childhood stories were set in England and there’s so much history there.

 

Thanks, Mary, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Leave a comment for a chance to win Mary’s latest book, Speak No Evil, in either paper or e-book.

Speak No Evil

SNEfinalcoverHaving his younger sister at camp would be a pain, but Taylor Dixon never expected the pain to go so deep.

At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving racecars when he’s older. Only his younger sister, Marissa, believes in his dreams, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Dad won’t let Taylor get his license unless he stays out of trouble, and predicts he’s heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp, expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he discovers a classic Mustang in the camp’s machine shed, and the owner’s invitation to help restore it fuels his dream of driving race cars. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the ensuing war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens to destroy both the car and his dreams for the future.

Will Taylor fulfill Dad’s prediction? Or will the message of the old Mustang’s engine set him free from the prison he built himself?

Book Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/on44xf4

Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. She writes about kids who bring their real life issues to camp and learn to approach them with a different perspective. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, hosting small group Bible studies and pancake suppers. One summer, she even volunteered as a camp counselor for a week, and decided once was enough.

When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.

Website/blog: http://www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

Twitter:@mhamilton122

 

Ushering in a Spiritual Awakening

After 50 years one can look back and see that the 1960’s was a turbulent era to be sure. Political, social and moral upheaval could be witnessed in in all aspects of life. One of the most memorable was the “Flower Child” movement. A countercultural effort to promote freedom from establishment of the day. Peace, Love and anti-war sentiments were spewed through out the media, fashion, language, and even our Spiritual norms. Who can forget the chant of that generation, “make love, not war” while passing out flowers to get attention.

imagesN1M721QMThe war in Vietnam certainly effected that culture, it was perhaps the first time Americans could witness how war was fought from the comfort of their living rooms from a television set. I am sure it was a shock to the system. With the assignation of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, people from all walks of live were also taken to a darker side of humanity never before seen by the average American. And yet in all the chaos and confusion, God had his own revolution taking place. I remember well the Spiritual awaking of the early 70’s. My family was effected by it as well. Billy Graham dominated our airways anytime he was broadcast on television. And then the question became, “are you born again?” God did not let us slide down the slippery slope within a chaotic world. He sent men to remind us of our purpose here on earth, a guiding light, a beacon of hope.

I can’t help but reflect on the similarities of yesteryear and today.

All around us we are bombarded with our own cultural upheaval, some of which may be in our very own homes. Instead of “flower children” we have a generation of children who constantly question everything. While that is not a bad habit, it can make for some interesting conversation around the dinner table. There is certainly enough fodder in our society to make young people confused. We all feel so passionate about our own points of view, that its hard for some of us older folks to remember that today’s social conflicts are much more experiential to our younger generation. They have grown up in a world where it has permeated their lives and us older ones are constantly playing “catch up.” Whom you love, and decide to marry has become much more complicated for some of us. We are taught to love everyone, and everyone matters. God’s plumb line of his word has become a mill stone instead of stepping stone for some of our neighbors. And though we may love some of those people more than our next breath, God’s word does not change, deceive or take away freedoms. imagesINLGH9DI

And then there is even bigger conflict I believe is on the horizon, from a country in the Middle East. We have all heard the stories of our brethren being persecuted for their faith. How does this not drive one to their very knees. What are we all doing about it? While we go through our day working, consuming, existing, sleeping. There are folks out there who need our prayers.

But I do not sit in a puddle. The Lord has told us to be steadfast. To consume his word as if we could not exist without it. The Lord is  the purpose in life, we are the guiding light, the beacon of hope. We have been called! And there is and ALWAYS will be those leading the way. Reverend Billy Graham at the age of 95, still prays, encourages and believes for another Spiritual Awakening.

I believe there is a greater movement of the Spirit is yet to be experienced. The Lord has saved his best for last. Be ready!

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When the Beatles Came to My House

By Betty Boyd

beatlesIn 1964, I was 8 years old.  The Beatles had just made their big splash in America, by appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.  I watched the show along with millions of others.

 

Here’s what was unique about my experience:  My father is a very private, aloof man.  He does not demonstrate (on a regular basis) much affection.  When the Beatles album entitled, “Introducing the Beatles,” came out, he bought a copy.  We had a finished basement in my childhood home in New Jersey.  My father (now a retired Electronics Engineer) built himself an old-style tube phonograph.

 

My father places the Beatles album on the phonograph and starts dancing to it.  I look at my father with bewildered eyes, and wonder what is going on.  To an 8-year-old, this is a true delight.  I get up and start dancing with my father.  It is one of my happiest memories.   At first, it is only my father and I, but eventually my younger brothers and sisters join in.  My father dances to every song.

 

He has a smile on his face I will never forget.  For one brief moment in time, I see my father truly happy.  I wanted to enjoy this moment forever.  Finally, the album was finished.  I wanted my father to play it again, so that we could dance some more, but he said that was enough for one evening. He put the album away then turned off the phonograph.

 

From time to time, I would play this album and try to recreate the moment, but it just was not the same.  I have never seen my father dance like that again.  I did try to get him to dance once more to this album, but he didn’t want to.  I suppose he’d decided it was better to go back into his shell of privacy.

 

The Beatles did show up at my house, via a phonograph album.  For one brief moment, the dancing and happiness that ensued let me see how much love my father has inside.

Delia Latham

Delia in FlowersToday we welcome Delia Latham, inspirational romance author, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Delia: Well, at the risk of being pelted with rotten tomatoes, I have to admit my favorite book is not an inspirational…although it is an epic tale of good vs. evil. That book is Stephen King’s The Stand.

Jennifer: We throw no tomatoes here :)

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Delia: On a serious note, I’d go with Jane Eyre. On the lighter side, wouldn’t it be fun to romp with the forest creatures and be cherished and protected by those adorable dwarves as Snow White? :)

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Delia: That would be a toss-up between Ireland and New Zealand. Depends on which place I win an all-expenses-paid vacation to first… lol

Thank you, Delia, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of LOVE IN THE WINGS and a pair of pink mother-of-pearl angel drop  earrings. [The earrings will be available to U.S. winners only]Pink MOP Angel Earrings

 

 

perf5.500x8.500.inddChurch secretary and praise team leader, Aria Robbins isn’t happy when she  has to work with the new youth minister. She also has to grin and bear it when he moves into the cottage next to hers at Heart’s Haven…but she doesn’t have to like him. Truth is, she’d be much happier if Corbin Bishop would take his charm and his big, fancy ideas right back to Austin where he belongs.

When a spiritual attack on Angel Falls lands Aria and Corbin on the battlefront as part of a team of prayer Warriors in God’s Service (WINGS), they must fight for their town, their church, and their pastor, and Aria sees Corbin in a whole new light.

But emotional scars from an unspeakable childhood have distorted Corbin’s acceptance of certain Scriptural truths, and Aria won’t trust her heart in the hands of a man whose faith is unsure. Aria wraps her prayer wings around him tightly. Will Corbin finally trust God to heal his soul?

 

Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, currently living in the beautiful mountain town of Tehachapi with her husband Johnny and a Pomeranian she calls Boo. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and absolutely loves hearing from her readers. You can contact Delia at an of the following locations:

Her website

Her blog

Facebook

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