Wednesday Workshop: The Love of Myths and Loss

Part of accepting that you love something is the part where you accept that some day, you will lose it forever.

It is something you rarely see in our 'happily ever after' world where we are sold narratives like over the counter medication, that love and good feelings will make everything better, and that 'being informed' automatically makes you a better person.

Well, sorry, none of that means anything. that I said that, how do you feel?

Probably a bit upset, right? Now why is this so? Stick with me a moment while I explore a couple more feelings about this, if you will.

I read these posts on social media of people mourning a loss, and I have done my share of that in the last few years. You have to grieve, and I am all for sharing those feelings in whatever way helps you heal. What strikes me about those posts is that love is still there, that the part of 'love' we often miss when we write and reflect life is that 'missing you' part.

I get this feeling that every day we work so hard at living in a fantasy world we miss what is real, what is really in front of our faces, and what life really means. We are sold fantasy every day, by the sites we visit, the news we read, and by those looking to extract a couple more pennies from our pockets. If you think mythology is just minotaurs and medusas you have a lot of learning to do, as the practice of creating and perpetuating mythology is a part of everything we do and everything we see.

We create a lot of myths about love, but for me, I feel we embellish it like some artificial princess fantasy where love solves everything, and it is worth any price. Think about that statement, that there is some love that isn't worth the price you would have to pay.

It's absurd, right? The media tells us love is everything! Love fixes everything! Love is the universal solvent for any problem!

Some love comes with too big of a price to pay, and even though that love it there, it just isn't worth the price.

Romeo and Juliet?

Don't go stabbing yourself over a lost boyfriend, okay? The price isn't worth it. I am sure the two of them, if either had truly lost each other, would have had more to give the world in the years past the loss they suffered. Let's say Romeo died, and Juliet moved on. She found someone new. She had a family.

Juliet's children.

Think about that. She could still love her first love, but what makes who she is special is her ability to still have that love and move on. To pass that love on to the things that matter now, her children, and use that loss as a brick in her foundation - a stepping stone to a better her.

I'm not trying to tell people to 'get over it' and that is not what this is, this is for writers thinking about love and what it means. Love is bigger than that, and it is bigger than the few things which are repeated endlessly by the modern myth industry of entertainment.

But yes, there is some love not worth the price, as either of Shakespeare's two star-crossed lovers may later say if they had their minds about them at the time. I feel we rarely explore that in romance or other works, because we try so hard to be part of the industry that creates, perpetuates, and sells myths to the masses.

I see this as the term HEA (happily ever after) in romance, and how some romance books are sometimes criticized for not having one. These days, you can't be called romance if you don't have a HEA, expectations have progressed the genre to the point where it is beholden to convention.

If you have one or not and want to put your book in the romance category is up to you, and yes, there is a huge population of readers that see these books as an 'escape' and expect the warm fuzzy, happy, cream filling of a payoff at the end of an emotional roller coaster of a book - myself included. Like a good popcorn movie I enjoy the sugar high and creamy aftertaste to movies and entertainment based on mythology. If a book should have had a happily ever after moment and we were setup for one - and didn't get it - I would probably be among those who would complain.

Such is the power of mythology.

The power is there. Without a HEA something would not feel like romance. Even for me, someone who wishes to escape the surly bonds of genre convention.

Which is why some people today spend their lives creating myths. Today, entire industries are devoted to writing modern mythology.

Just watch the news.

Or don't watch it and feel a lot better about yourself and the world, but that is just me.

This is not about 'happily ever after' just like this is not about mourning or the news, as this is about the mythology surrounding these expectations and feelings. Why you felt upset when I challenged your beliefs. Slow down. Step back. Realize we live in a world that isn't controlled solely by emotion and reactions to those emotions.

Realize there is something there, there.

There is an expectation game and built-in power of 'the myth' working either for or against us in everything we do. Have you ever worked with someone who is always said to be a 'great worker' and when you look at 'what they do' it is less or no more than anyone else in your job? Are you envious at them? Pissed off? Trying to live up to them?

That great worker thing is a myth, perpetuated by a small handful people in the pool of office politics, and regret it or love it (especially if it is you) - that myth is a powerful thing. It is a predisposition, a story, and a narrative which is often accepted before the facts are ever known. Great worker, yeah, team player. They could be sitting at their desk all day and the myth is still there. The myth could give people a reason to rally to them and do a better job at what they do, merely because that person is there and the myth is a real and driving force for that organization. The myth here is a real thing, in that people work better as long as this person stays with the company. But it is not based on any fact or anything real.

The myth.

Realize when something is said, there is a tendency to go one way or another based on the myths around whatever this is. There is a power in controlling them. There is another sort of power in realizing when you yourself are being affected about this power.

Do you have a reason to believe the story or the myth that is commonly accepted to be the truth?

Or is there something else there?

Some fact you may be overlooking if you put the myth aside for a moment and dig deeper to look at what is real.

You can come back to the myth later, if you choose, or twist in in a unique and special way that plays with people's expectations.

But reflecting on why we believe some things to be so makes us a better observer of the world, and in turn better writers of this thing we live in, which we call life.