Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Time takes care of all things September 8, 2012

“Time is a lot of the things people say that God is.  There’s the always pre-existing, and having no end.  There’s the notion of being all powerful–because nothing can stand against time, can it?  Not mountains, not armies.

And time is, of course, all-healing.  Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of:  all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

And if  Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.”

Diana Gabaldon in Breath of Snow and Ashes

I found this quote rather profound.  Memory being the Devil ascribes evil to our past.  Beyond haunting, it implies danger, cruelty and manipulation.  Do our memories really do that?

Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory shows up in Grace Awakening Myth.  She and Lethe, the goddess of forgetfulness, are working together on Ben to sculpt him just the right combination of memories to keep him optimistic.  They work together to keep him whole, because he would not be able to bear contemplating the possibilities opened up by his more painful memories.

I wonder if our own memories often work the same way?  If we are successful in burying the negative history, we are re-working our own memory.  I suppose it must also work in reverse.  We can ignore all our positive experiences and craft ourselves memories of a terrible childhood, and use that strange, inaccurate perspective to fuel our behaviour.  We can view ourselves as down trodden over-comers, and use that to force ourselves to deal with current challenges.

Gabaldon’s quote is from Claire’s perspective.  Claire has a lot of memories from life in the future and in the past.  She has a complex web of memories that she might like to escape.

What do you think?  Are your memories an inspiration to your future, or are they a challenge to overcome?

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ballet of Orpheus May 14, 2012

Filed under: Mythology — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:42 am
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And now, for something completely different…

Pas de Deux of Orpheus and Euridike from the much acclaimed ‘timelapse/(Mnemosyne)’ created by choreographer David Dawson for Dutch National Ballet (2011)

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truth and memory December 27, 2011

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Mythology,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:40 am
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One of the values of learning another language, is the enlightenment it provides to your own language.  I have links to an article about this in a previous blog post.

While I’ve been working with Mnemosyne and Lethe this week, I’ve discovered an interesting thing.

In English, the opposite of memory is forgetfulness.  In Greek lethe (forgetfulness) is opposed with aletheia (prefix ‘a-‘ making some thing the opposite, remember). Aletheia doesn’t mean memory, it means truth.

I find that very profound.  It’s not the concept of a lie that is the opposite of truth in Greek, it’s forgetfulness.

It begs pondering.

I think I can do something with the concept

.  I’m not sure what, at this point, but it fits with Ben’s reality, doesn’t it?  Lethe has robbed Grace of memory, and it keeps her from knowing the truth.

I suppose this means I’m about to be introduced to the goddess Aletheia.  I wonder what she’ll be like?   Writing is fascinating business.

 

Mnemosyne & Ben December 26, 2011

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Mythology,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:59 pm
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Here is a snippet of ‘something yet to be.’ I think it will end up in Grace Awakening Myth, but it will tell me for certain in its own time. The author has very little say in these matters.  Characters have their own agendas.   Lethe is the river of forgetfulness from which humans drink before they pass into the underworld. The personification of the river is the goddess Lethe herself.  ‘She’  is Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.  ‘He’ is… uh…well.  Ben.  Sort of.

**************

She remembers all, of course. She must. It is her talent and her obligation. It is her blessing and her curse. Everything is in balance, an essential paradox poised on the point of a pin.

He doesn’t remember everything.  Whatever he sees in those longing backward glances, Mnemosyne knows the two sided blade. She has gifted him with the joy of them, but she has blessed him with Lethe’s touch as well. Of course, he has no memory of that.

He senses the tragedies though, despite the lack of memory.  He feels the ephemeral pain of loss, rejection, disdain and disgust.  He clings to the fear of them, to fuel his pursuit, but they threaten to overwhelm him at times.  It was doing so now.  She could feel the force of her presence stirring memories in him.

A faint hum stirred the air along with a cool, gentle scent.  Mnemosyne reached behind her to a goblet that had materialized there.  She touched his shoulder, “Here, son.  Drink.”

He smiled vaguely, sipping down the draught.  He nodded gratefully, and she felt the tension leave him  as he gazed beyond the room.  “I must go.”

She nodded.  “I will do what I can from here.”

“Thank you.”

As he turned into the ether, she smiled to herself.  “Thank you, Lethe,” she said to the empty room, and heard the distant  melodious chuckle in response.

Paradox indeed.

 

 
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