In the world of literary inspiration, nothing quite thrills me like Edith Hamilton’s classic Mythology book. Its thicker than an old school phone book, more engaging than a soap opera, and wildly not much unlike our world today. Its no wonder that writers lean so heavily on the classic tales of Greek and Roman times (there are a few Norse myths here, too) to craft stories that impinge upon us: for all our technological advances, our basic drives are strikingly similar. We haven’t changed much in centuries.
For all the self-help, for all the therapists and strides we’ve made in behavioral science, mythology is as relevant as ever. This is nothing new to lovers of Joseph Campbell and anyone who has read the Robert McKee screenwriting classic, Story, or to anyone who latched onto mythology in high school if you were lucky enough to study them in school. I wasn’t as able to understand myths as a teenager as I am now, and these myths have provided a kind of clarity on life that is surreal. Its also very clever cocktail party conversation, and interesting tidbits have helped break the ice at a meeting…!
This Edith Hamilton’s Mythology sits on one of my nightstands for about half the year(yes, I say its great feng shui!), and I’ll open it to a story at random, deciding that this is the one that I need to hear. The flower myths are my favorite, providing a magical meaning behind the creation of several flowers like the narcissus and the hyacinth. And the tales of the Gods and Goddesses and the art and the passion… These tales are too good to be relegated to an academic setting. If you have a chance, flip through some Mythology and you will- I bet- find vast wisdom and food for your imagination! xoxo Dana