Monomyth Monday: Clearly I’m Stuck at Level 3

As in all great journeys, sometimes the hero(ine) refuses the call. That’s what I’m doing right now. I was supposed to write a nice story following the format of Joseph Campbell’s concept of the monomyth, but I’ve been partying instead. 20 year high school reunions only come around once in a lifetime. So, instead, I have attached a video that illustrates the concept of the monomyth and outlines some of the steps using examples from recent cinema, The Matrix, Harry Potter and Star Wars. So, watch up and get up to speed, maybe you’ll join me next week when there really, really will be an original story posted here. Thanks for your patience. May the force be with you.

This is also a response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge

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Daily Prompt: A to Z

Abby is a blogger.
Blogging is what she does.
Couldn’t she do something else?
Don’t ask questions this far into the story.
Everyone thinks they have a better idea.
For Abby, blogging was the thing.
Giving her opinions on things in the news and sharing her stories made her happy.
How happy?
I don’t know, stop asking questions.
Just listen.
Kindly lower your defenses and suspend your disbelief, this is a true story.
Let me begin again.
Many years ago, there was no such thing as blogging.
Not because there weren’t bloggers, but because the internet hadn’t been invented yet.
One had to recite one’s opinion out loud and hope someone would listen.
Prior to that, we were monkeys.
Quite a lot of progress has been made since then.
Reciting stories out loud to whoever can hear them is so old fashioned.
So, nowadays those people who used to tell stories are bloggers.
Too many stories to remember are now available twenty four hours a day right at your fingertips.
Use this power wisely my dears.
Very soon, even the internet will be obsolete.
What will we do then.
X-ray vision or teleportation devices will be the norm.
You will just know all the stories already without having to hear them or read them on the internet.
Zippadeedodah Zippadeeay, my oh my, won’t that be a wonderful day.

this is a response to the daily prompt: a to z

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Introducing…Monomyth Monday!

Starting next week I will be writing a story each Monday following the flow of the monomyth. This concept was elucidated by Joseph Campell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. I think it’s an interesting thing to study and supposedly is the foundation of many successful books and stories including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, etc. Below is an info graphic on the subject. Fellow writers, feel free to join me on this journey and we can share the thousand stories we create about the hero’s journey.monomyth

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Dinner for Loretta

Loretta pulled her fork to her lips and tasted her childhood in Dothan, Alabama. The red gravy she remembered from Sunday dinner at Gram’s. Gram would fix Loretta her favorite dinner every once in a while. Gram would fix all her grandbaby’s favorite dinners every once in a while, that way all of them were happy and when they grew up they could always look back and remember when Gram made dinner just for them. Loretta’s favorite dinner was swiss steak with mashed potatoes to hold all the red gravy and Gram’s famous coleslaw. It was famous because it was fancy, like the kind of thing you would bring to church for the pot luck, but she made it fancy all the time. She put chunks of red apple with the skin still on for color and pecans for crunch, and the dressing had her secret ingredient to make everything taste good, sugar. Loretta had been telling Margaret for years about Gram’s cooking. Loretta had stood at the stove while Gram would cook and although Gram had never officially taught her how to make the swiss steak, she could remember from her eyes. Loretta told Margaret about how important it was to flour your cubed steak and get a good brown on it at the beginning, then you take the meat out for a second while you get the onions and green bell peppers cooking in some oil, then a can of tomato sauce, some salt, pepper, garlic powder and, of course, a pinch of sugar. Once that gets all stirred up you put the meat back in the pot and let it simmer real low for a good while, till everything gets soft and tender and the red gravy gets thick from the bits of brown fried flour. And the mashed potatoes were perfect, no lumps, and not the kind of no lumps that comes from beating the potatoes to death until they are gluey. Gram always said the number one thing to do with mashed potatoes is not beat them to death, and the other thing to do with mashed potatoes is put in a lot of butter. A lot. Loretta had planned to make swiss steak and mashed potatoes for her children and then one day for her grandbabies, but that hadn’t been how things turned out. She had made swiss steak for Larry when they first got married, but he didn’t like it much, he didn’t like anything that seemed like a casserole. Larry said that cooking tomatoes and vegetables and meat all in one pot was almost like a casserole and so he didn’t like it. Larry had been mean a lot and had pretended to not like things sometimes just to make Loretta feel bad. One time he claimed to “not really like” peach cobbler when she offered him a bowl topped with ice cream. Loretta had invited her friends over for dinner, so it was an especially hurtful blow. Loretta and Larry fought a lot, but one fight stood out and she told Margaret about it over and over and over again. Margaret had been visiting Loretta at the Huntsville Women’s Colony for at least a decade. Margaret started going to the women’s colony because of the bible. The bible says that we should visit the people in prison, and so Margaret took up her cross and spent an hour every Wednesday with Loretta, talking about Gram’s cooking and Larry’s grubby fingers and Jesus. Loretta had one day made a fancy cake for her boss at the funeral home. Loretta had taken a job as the receptionist at Greenwood Funeral Home after her and Larry got married. Larry had told her he didn’t want to be married to a lazy woman and that until there were babies to care after, she had to get a job to contribute. Larry said he was a feminist that way. So, Loretta made this cake, it was a Coca Cola cake that she had baked in three pans and then cut in half so there were six layers. And the icing, a sticky concoction of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder and Coca Cola glued all those layers into a magnificent tower. She had even taken the time to make a perfect swirl on the top of the cake, then she took a shower. When she got out of the shower, Larry was home. He heard Loretta open the door to the bathroom and he shouted, “What kind of weird cake is this?” “Don’t touch that cake Larry!” Loretta yelled down at him. “Too late.” Larry laughed and his eyes were smiling as Loretta scurried down the stairs and jumped to the kitchen. Larry had put his grubby fingers right in the top of the cake and had scraped off a huge chunk of icing and poked a hole in the cake. Loretta didn’t say anything, she just turned and walked silently back to her room and put on her pajamas. But later that night she got out of bed after she heard Larry’s snoring and she went to the kitchen and she got her biggest knife and then she went back upstairs and stabbed Larry in the chest. And they said that she had been thinking about doing it all night so it was premeditation. And then, when they found Larry’s index finger sticking straight up out of the middle of that cake, they called that particularly heinous circumstances, and because Larry had kept it a secret from everyone except for Loretta that he was so mean, they gave her the death penalty. And so it came to Margaret to cook that last meal. Loretta had told the guards that she wanted swiss steak and mashed potatoes and cole slaw for dinner that last night, but she begged them to let Margaret cook it. Loretta trusted that Margaret had the recipes memorized by now and that Margaret had the right qualities to provide the special touch that grandma’s give to the cooking. Loretta knew that Margaret would remember the pinch of sugar, and she did. Loretta pulled her fork to her lips and tasted her childhood, her innocent days at Gram’s side, she tasted her tears and she tasted love.

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Grandma Green

My great great great great Grandma Green was a whore, no really. She was a notorious whore who trailed along with the menfolk on the cattle runs during Florida’s Frontier days. So when this guy first started calling me Grandma Green I told him not to. Being referred to as Grandma anything had a chilling effect on me. I felt like I would surely never have sex again. But then I thought about it, and I settled into the idea of walking around, wearing the badge of my great great great great Grandma Green, whose DNA runs in my blood, who was a whore. A notorious one. The Orlando Sentinel ran a historical piece on Florida’s early history focused on my great great great great Grandma Green. She has a swamp named after her. I know, a swamp, who wants a swamp, but in the real estate of the mid-1800’s if you were gonna have something named after you in Florida of any repute it was going to be a swamp. My grandma told me that Grandma Green was an Indian princess, which I bought growing up. She might have been, an escaped Indian princess riding cattlemen across the state. My grandma says that’s where she got her dark brown eyes, nearly black like ink, from her little indian grandma. But what the Orlando Sentinel uncovered was that Grandma Green had been famous for her hospitality, that she had accrued the largest fine for prostitution ever meted down by the State of Florida, even to this very day, even accounting for inflation. No whore has ever been as big a whore as my great great great great Grandma Green and I have her DNA in my blood. The older generation was appalled, yellow journalism, lies and slander. Grandma Green was a strong independent woman, they’d say. Grandma Green was a good, god-fearing woman. So was the woman at the well. But I say, how do you think a woman got to be independent back in those days? What kind of woman would even be allowed by a husband, an uncle, a father, a brother, to ride the cattle trails. The kind of woman who didn’t have to ask for permission. A woman of the night, a woman of independent means. Don’t cry for me Argentina, there is no shame in a woman using her power to gain her own freedom, even if it’s just the freedom to wander about the wilderness, talking to cows all day, eating and drinking and laughing around a campfire until one of the men clicks his tongue at you and invites you back to his tent to look at the stars.

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He Smokes Cigarettes

He smokes standing next to trash cans
Behind his apartment
Outside of bars
In friends’ back yards
He laughs a wild laughter
Like the child of a gypsy king
And his eyes come sparkling after
He drives on empty highways at night
Following a beacon of light called home
And he smokes cigarettes out the window
While Run DMC plays on the radio
And he sleeps on the floor most of the time
Cradled in blankets and bottles of wine
And sleep comes fitful in the night
And sometimes he yells in his sleep
And he knows how to play every game
With a skill that could make him a master
But when push comes to shove
The labor of love that began at the end would not last
For the heat of the sun
And the clang of the bells
Send writing up the spines of children
And fathers and mothers
And jails
And tiny purple shells
Encase the hearts of those who wait
Who give love time to calcify
Around its fate
He walks in two worlds
And he hides behind curtains
And he carries the world on his back
And he crawls like a snail
Who is soft on the inside
And his cigarettes help him exhale

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I Am the One Who Laughs at Your Death

I am the one who has no name, who has no form.  I am the one you can not see even with your eyes.  I am the one who laughs at your death.  There is laughter at your death, there really is.  You are hurtling through time and space and at the end when you see there is no time or space, when you pierce through the veil to the other side, which does not exist, there is laughter.  I am the one who sees joy in your struggle, lightness in your pain.  I am the one who laughs at your death.  I am the one who moves your limbs like you are a marionette, because you are, if you are anything at all and I am the one who watches as you plant seeds hoping for growth and I am the one who laughs at your death.  I am the one who sees past the mountains.  I am the one who sees past the sea, because even in your holiest of moments you can only imagine that you are as big as the sea.  Your body a wave set to crash at the shore and I will be there to laugh at your death.  There is no sea, you are not a wave, you only think you are a wave because you have reached the zenith of your majesty and from the top of the mountain you have climbed the most majestic thing you can think of to be is the sea.  But water is an illusion and it slips off your skin when you wail.  I am the one who laughs at your death, who watches as the story unfolds.  I am the one who holds the space for you to even be able to think of yourself as the sea.  Who is holding the sea?  That’s me.  I am the one who has no name, who has no form and I can’t even call you by name my dear child because I don’t remember if even you have a name.  There is no end to any of this, no life, no death, no mountain, no sea.  Just you and me.  Not even you.  There is the openness and in the end, what you see as the end, I am the one who laughs at your death.

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