Retelling Lore and Updating Mythologies

This morning I found a dead bat in my house. It was a teeny tiny little thing – a little brown myotis. At first I thought it was a leaf. I was sad to see this tiny nocturnal creature  on the floor of one of the bedrooms, with it’s wings close to it’s body, all alone.

Mind you, it wasn’t a Vampire. It was just a bat. A precious and tiny little beneficial flying mammal that eats bugs. It made me sad to see it dead and alone.

This made me think of common lore, that is of Vampires and bats. Most of us prefer the night but we aren’t shape shifters. Mind you, we can make you think we are but that is your own fault.

Lore is spread through stories once told around the fire at night, and now told in movies, books, and television. Stories and mythologies evolve as our world and culture evolves. What is popular becomes belief. What is unpopular becomes forgotten.

I took the dog for a walk and started to think of the reworking of lore and mythologies, especially in weird times like now. Even the stories of atomic creatures such as Godzilla and giant insects come out of the advent of atomic bombs. Mothman first appeared in West Virginia folklore, in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. In fact some people claim to still see him from time to time. So much of Space Alien lore and a boom in Science Fiction, also takes place in the 1950’s – 60’s, at the time of the space race,  though it goes back to as long as people have been looking up at the stars.

A writing friend of mine asked about rewriting mythologies. I say DO IT. I love it when authors take old stories and rewrite them.

One of my favorite things to do it to take a modern look at old characters. In my story Sam Judge I rewrote the story of Samson and Delilah in a post apocalyptic setting. Holy shit, I wrote it a few months before our current Covid-19 pandemic started. It was for the new WPaD Anthology Goin’ Extinct Too! Apocalypse A-Go-Go. 

Sam Judge was a retelling of the biblical story from the point of view of Lilah. Once you get rid of all of the sexist bull shit it just becomes a story of a guy with a lot of power and a powerful family, and a woman trying to do her job.

I wonder about a lot of old stories. Take David and Goliath. David was a guy who threw a rock at the big bully Goliath who was a GIANT. David became the King because that is how people picked leaders back then. My take is that David was about average height or maybe on the shorter end of average  like 5″6′. I’m going by what is average today, not five thousand years ago. Goliath was tall but not a giant. Maybe about 6’11” or even 7′ like a basket ball player. Goliath could have been the same height of Goliath who was obviously the epitome of the school yard bully. David kicked Goliath’s ass. It could have been with rocks. It could have been with words. The point of this story is that David’s crew had to spin the story to make it look more spectacular. They had to make David look bigger than life so they made Goliath into a 15″6′ giant and made David into just a regular guy which he wasn’t. The spin doctors were going for the lowest common denominators with their mostly agrarian and illiterate constituents. See where I’m going with this.

Another favorite story of mine and of my readers is Ode to a Greek God. I take the god Hermes and update the readers on what he is doing now in his home in San Francisco.  His son Pan is settled down. Hermes is evaluating his life and still getting into trouble with women. It is a new world where mortal humans tend to be a little more savy and demanding. I might even continue that story one day or update the new mythology.

For centuries people have been fascinated by the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table stories. Was Arthur even real? What about the Holy Grail. There are stories within stories within stories. Everyone from John Steinbeck to Stephen Spielberg had their own wonderful takes on the lore of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Of course Monty Python did it better than anyone.

I also had my own take on the story of Arthur, Merlin and the Camelot Crew with my Druce and Morcant stories. In Off To See The Wizard the two friends started with a trip to meet Merlin. I’m still writing their stories. By the way Druce is a Warlock, and Morcant is a Selkie. That makes for even more lore.

And speaking of Selikes please read the wonderful new story by emerging author Adelia Hoff called The Fisherman. She did a beautiful job taking the predatory and mean nature out of an old tale.

Be it Bible stories, Greek Gods, Vampires, Selkies, Mermaids, Wizards, Ghosts, old legends, or what ever lore you’re writing just remember that it is your story to tell. YOUR STORY.

Someone started the lore and mythologies we currently retell over and over and over. Why not start your own.

And if you just want to read you have plenty of material. I’ll make a list in my next book blog post.

In the meantime keep your mind open. Keep your heart open. Keep your imagination running. Wear a mask. Talk with your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help. Stay safe.

And tell me what your favorite stories of myths, lore, or retellings of old tales are. I’d love to hear.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Write what you know…and make up the rest.

Common advice to people who think they might want to write is “Write What You Know.”

Then again don’t. Especially if you’re extremely anal. Then book stores and libraries would only contain autobiographies and technical manuals.

Don’t be anal. Write what you know and make up the rest. It’s OK.

In an alternate universe I’m associated with a society of amazing authors who mentor and encourage writers of all kinds. We are frequently asked “What should I write about?”

What do you want to write about? The human condition? The great angst of it all? Maybe not. Maybe that has been done too many times. Most of all maybe that isn’t where YOUR heart and soul is.

Or you might say “How can I write about Vampires? I’m not a Vampire.”

No you aren’t a Vampire. However, you know about relationships, you know about desire (I hope for your sake), you know about night, you know about being different, you know about fear, you know about the deep dark thoughts that you didn’t dare let out before NOW. So write what you know AND about Vampires (and zombies, ghosts, trolls, unicorns, talking dogs, dragons, cops, politicians, middle aged men trying to find themselves…)

Another example…

I don’t know first hand about trolls but I know relationships. So I could make up crap about trolls and write about troll romance and troll family drama and I’ve dated more than my share of scientists (in an alternate universe) so I could write about scientists who are tricked by trolls with complex romantic and family relationships. I know how wet dogs and skunks and goblins smell so I can imagine how bad trolls smell. And I know a few politicians so I could write about trolls who are criminals and compulsive liars. Or I could continue to just be silly.

Another example: If you’re writing about dragons write what you know. These are YOUR dragons so they can blow raspberry jelly at people if you want them to, or they can breathe fire. But what you do know is how they’ll react when they find love, or if they’re in danger, or the fear when someone steals their babies or invades their home. You know the feelings. Let your Dragons know your feelings and they’ll let you know theirs.

So what I’m trying to say is that I tell writers to tell their stories. If you can look into the night sky then you know the wonder of Science Fiction.  If you’ve ever loved anyone or had a friend or family you can write about relationships. If you’ve ever enjoyed figuring something out then you can write a mystery. If you know what terrifies the souls of men then you can write horror. The list goes on.

Don’t just write fiction. Write facts. Do research. Follow your passion and put it down on words. Share a story, fiction or non fiction. Just remember that in all fiction is some truth. In all fact is your voice, not just hard cold facts.

Fact or fiction it is your story. YOURS. Your reality, even if you are writing from an alternate universe or from your own desk or breakfast table or under a tree in a meadow.

This my dear readers is an example of a rambling dialogue about writing.  So your assignment is to have fun and start making stuff up – about what you know.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 Vampires write love letters too

Short Story Sunday: I’ve broken up with Mr. Coffee

It is Sunday. Change your clocks for an earlier sunrise. I threw out my Mr. Coffee machine yesterday. He was like one of those bad boyfriends in a relationship full of promises but never quite measures up. The pot would remain empty and all of the water would just go up in a sputtering steam. Hot air. I replaced him with an old fashioned French Press.

Anyway, maybe it is the coffee or lack of coffee or the early sunrise or the fact that I should not be up during the light of day at all…

But I have no short story for today. No, I am not doing NaNoWriMo. I already have novels to do final drafts on, damn good novels, but I don’t want to go there. But no I’m not in a writing frenzy that is keeping me away. There is obviously no frenzy today. Not for me. There is no coffee yet either.

I’m just out of story today.

I thought of topics concerning coffee, writing, the change of weather, hot nasty Vampire love, Vampire history, Vampire visitors, Vampire college professors, more hot nasty Vampire love… but nothing made itself into a story inside of my head. I could post a story from somebody else, but I don’t want to deal with formating. Did I mention that I’m waiting for coffee? Plus there is a meeting this morning for a sport we’re involved with. I hate those meetings. It sucks the very breath out of me in a way no Vampire or ghost ever could. Most meeting with sports, school involve a lot of hot air and no coffee. Politicians are like Mr. Coffee in a lot of ways too.

I sort of hoped The Ghost would materialize in his black suit and his smirk, brushing his long hair out of his eyes, but even he is gone. Just a ghost of a ghost.

But don’t despair… I have a list of most of the previous Short Story Sundays stories so you can get your short story fix, or browse this blog for a zillion other crazy insane Vampire tales and inspirational bits or share one of your own short stories with us.

Ahhh I think it is time to press that French Press and get my brew.

xoxoxo

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

More from Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday is a regular feature on Vampiremaman.com.
Expect the unexpected … and a lot of fun! Click on the title to go to the story.

Where are those ideas?

Where are those ideas?