Of Muskateers and Myth

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Myths and Legends are certainly alive and well in Hollywood, are they not? From the continual flow onto the silver screen of Marvel and DC Comics characters to the computer-generated Greek heroes of mythology, we get treated every few months to another epic battle between good and evil. (Though I am still waiting impatiently for Wonder Woman to make an appearance.)

I’ll admit, I love going to these movies. I’ll buy a ticket to most all of them, but when the credits roll, I don’t always feel that I was caught up in the story, as I’d hoped to be. [See my thoughts on Thor here.] It’s not about the effects, the dialogue, the CGI, or even the storyline. What’s missing is more elusive, and infinitely more difficult to achieve, whether in film or on the page of fiction.

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Myth Made Fact

Parthenon, Athens

I’m delving into a new category of blog posts today, one I’ve been eager to begin for quite awhile, that of “myth made fact.” It’s a topic near to my heart, as I seek to create my own stories that reflect The One True Story, yet are set in time periods when the population had other stories, other myths, to explain their place in the cosmos.

The phrase comes from a favorite and oft-quoted essay by C.S. Lewis, “Myth Became Fact” and from his spiritual memoir/autobiography, Surprised by Joy. Lewis was a master of the classics and of myth, and when he came to Christ later in life, part of his conversion entailed reconciling all he knew of mythology with the biblical narrative.

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Music of Jordan

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Listen to this gorgeous piece by musician Zade, called Amman.
I listened to it about a thousand times while writing Petra!
(Click the play arrow to listen)

7 Not-to-be-missed Sights

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Greece, 450 BC…

Herodotus dips his pen into the ink, pauses a moment as he looks out over the sun-drenched Aegean, and recalls the adventures of a lifetime. Travels throughout the world, Questions posed to knowledgeable scholars, collections of stories passed through generations. And oh, the wonders he has seen!

But there will be time enough for nostalgia as he pens his greatest work. Before the ink in his pen can dry, he writes. These first words will be an explanation, his reason for giving his Histories to the world.

“...to preserve the memory of the past by putting on record the astonishing achievements both of our own and of other peoples…”

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My Take on Thor

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If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a sucker for all things mythology, and perpetually fascinated by the way Hollywood handles the ancient stories. (Usually poorly, with an emphasis on special effects over depth and accuracy. Think Troy and Clash of the Titans) Nevertheless, when Thor hit theaters, I knew I’d be there with my Twizzlers. And following on the heels, as it did, with my recent passion for Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas of Norse myth, which also features Odin/Wotan as a major player, I had to check it out.

While I’m categorizing this post under “Books, Music and Movies I Love,” I can’t say that I truly loved this movie. What I loved was the idea of this movie – the melding together of Norse mythology with contemporary science, in a sort of sci-fi-ancient-blend that provoked thought. (Again, it was the idea I found thought-provoking. The movie itself did not even attempt to be such.)

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My Ongoing Love Affair with Opera

Valkyrie

I’m not sure when it began. Years ago, I remember hearing Nessun Dorma sung in a movie, or perhaps a TV show, and feeling a strange desperation to discover its name, to hear it again. When I somehow stumbled upon its purity once more, it was being sung by Michael Bolton on an album that was a surprising departure, My Secret Passion. Michael Bolton singing opera? I figured I’d give it a try.

It was a gentle introduction to a new world for me, and I’ve loved that album for years, though I’m a bit more savvy these days and recognize that Bolton doesn’t hold a candle to the greats. And perhaps I felt some kinship with him, for I kept opera as my own secret passion – I’d met no one personally who shared it, and couldn’t imagine pursuing the interest alone. (How pathetic would a night at the opera be, if one were attending alone?!)

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Three Reasons Christianity Flourished in the Roman Empire

Pompeii cover

I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in History, focusing on Ancient and Classical studies. From time to time, I will post essays written for classes. Below is one such essay, written for my class on the Roman Republic and Empire.

With Pompeii: City on Fire releasing soon, my thoughts are with those who lived in the Roman Empire, during the first century when Christianity was just taking root. If you’d like to read more about the beginnings of Christianity in the Roman Empire and the lives of those bold enough to embrace it, I hope you’ll read Pompeii: City on Fire.

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Roman Coins Tell an Intriguing Story

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I’ve been finishing up rewrites on my next book, Pompeii: City on Fire, which takes place in 79 AD. The prologue, however, is a snapshot of a terrible day in history – August 9, 70 AD, the day Jerusalem fell and the Temple burned. The descriptions are truly horrific and the prologue was difficult to write.

Recently I read an intriguing article* about the Roman coins that were minted in that year, to commemorate this great victory on Rome’s part.

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What a 1600 Year Old Man Said to Me Today

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No, it’s not the stuff of grocery store tabloids. And I’m not hearing voices. Well… only my characters talking in my head, but that’s a topic for another day.

I’ve finally started reading a book I should have picked up long ago – The Confessions by St. Augustine (and in case you’re wondering, his name is pronounced Aw-GUS-tin, not AW-gus-teen, which is a city in Florida.)

One of the early church fathers, Augustine was a philosopher and theologian who lived from 354 to 430 AD, in the Roman city of Carthage on Africa’s northern coast. The Confessions is essentially his autobiographical spiritual journey from birth to his conversion in his thirties, written in the form of one long prayer, and divided into 13 “books.”

Today I read Book 1.

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