Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Addendum to the Summation

On a separate, less negative note, I did become far more proficient in the study of the past and connecting it to the present this past semester. There were three big things that Dr. Sexson even brought up in class (to my great joy): the oddities of marriage in the classical period, the archetypal character, and of course the Hermes-Stewie connection. It has been fun, good luck to you all on the final exam, and on your next semester.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Summation

What have I learned this semester from this class? Well, for one, I have learned that blogging is a habit I just can't get into, way too easy to just forget all about it. This of course means that this kid right here has no where near enough blog posts. Seeing as how the blog counts as 25% of our final grade, I am sure that this isn't a wonderful position to be in. Oh well. I lived it, even if I didn't always write about it. That's the important part. It may not result in the best grade, but after having a number of profs that wanted me to limit myself and say what they wanted to hear, I have come to terms with the fact that what is best for me and what is best for my grade are not always the same, and I certainly value my life more than an A.

I lived the classics. Maybe not as much at the beginning, but at the end. The changes in Ovid matched changes in my own life, and the hectic nature of Euripides certainly mirrored some things I was going through (though not nearly to the extent he portrayed, thank God).

I wouldn't say I value the classical time period and its literature more than I did before. I have know it was important, and had read more than the average kid my age in that area, but I do believe that there is fallacy to the oft-repeated statement of how all of the present traces back to the past. I believe in originality, and being unique, and I live life to be that way. Maybe certain aspects go back to then, but not all of it. However, the greater fault lies in stopping where we do, with the Greeks and Romans. We never are pushed to realize that they were far from original themselves. Numerous cultures rose and fell before and during their time, and influenced them dramatically. Far older cultures with far older literature are just as marked by their immediacy to events today. The classics are not the beginning of everything; they fall prey to the past just as much as we do today.

This sounds like a lot of negativity, which it isn't meant to be. We read some fun, interesting stuff, to be sure. I just don't get so wrapped up in their be-all, end-all status that we are lead to hold them as. The works of classical Greece and Rome are like the works of today: some are good, some aren't, and they amount to each person what the individual reader takes away from them. So it goes.


Luke: I wrote a summation blog (as our teacher asked us to) and I'm wondering if it is bad that I totally cripple any pretense of me thinking that the classics are super special shit.

Meghan: How so? What did you say? It is super special shit.

Luke: (chuckling) No it isn't. No more so than anything else that has ever been written. It has some good stuff, some whatever stuff, no different than literature today.

Meghan: Yeah (pause) But it's still super special shit...

Luke: To be fair, you've said yourself people make a big deal of every surviving piece of classical literature being super important, but it doesn't have to be[NOTE: Meghan is a classicist. She majored in what we just studied for a semester].

Meghan: Yeah...I know...

Luke's Symposium Speech

This is the speech I gave as part of my group's bit about the Symposium. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that this is a simple reworking of a blog I wrote way back on Valentine's Day. Hope you enjoyed hearing it. I certainly know that blabbering about love in front of a bunch of people was embarrassing and awkward on this end, hopefully it was better for you.

Love is. No matter what it is, it always is. And it is always strong. So called "weak love" is a fallacy. It is love or it is not. And while I wish I could address all its many forms, I fear I can't. Therefore, I will stick with the one that harkens to me most: romantic love. I won't pretend to be an expert at it. I can't imagine I'm even all that great at expressing it, in word or in action, but it draws one like nothing else on earth can.

Love is stunning. Just when you think you've got it figured out, it branches out and surprises you all over again. If you haven't lived it, you can't know what it is like, and this will fall on deaf ears, but I'll try to explain it a little bit.

Why do we desire love, worship love, exalt love to the highest reaches, or even, to put it simply, why do we love love? It is all the little moments. Love is the little things. The first kiss. The second kiss. Every kiss. The times when she can't stop crying and all you can do is hold her, whisper that it will be okay, and then go cry after she is gone, because it was so horrible to see her hurting like that. Spending money on movies you watch but never see. Being scared as hell when you meet her parents. Finding out her parents actually like you. Finding out that her parents have stopped liking you.

Love is bittersweet. When you are standing at the airport, and you have to leave, but she has to stay, and they have called your row four times and are about to close the doors, but you need one last hug, a quick touch of your hand to wipe away her tears, and then one last kiss before you run to the plane, knowing that if you look back you won't be able to leave. Long phone calls when you are far away, desperately clutching the phone and wishing it was her hand you were holding instead.

Love is without a language of its own. Words fall short every time. You can't describe the perfect smile, even though you see it every time she looks your way. The blue in her eyes is not any shade known to man, and no one sees that blue but you. The soft sigh of contentment as she falls asleep curled up next to you, safe in your arms. The sweetest laugh as you tell yet another joke that is funny to no one else.

Love is silly. Your dumb little jokes, your mushy moments that nauseate everyone near by. Drawing hearts all over packages to embarrass the other when he has to pick them up at the front desk. Random bouts of flirting. Fake fights.

Love is for the young, but age isn't measured in years. It's measured in emotion. Love makes you young, love keeps you young, and with love you never need to fear death, because you will never die. It's true. Love never ends. It is a forever thing that you get once and never again, and if you screw it up, you don't always get a second chance. But when you have it, and when you can keep it, there is no greater feeling in the world.

Love isn't easy. It can lead to arguments, sadness, the whole affliction. But we love love. Because it never is just about the bad. It is about the good. It never hurts more than it heals.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Why Is Luke's Term Paper Not On His Blog?", What Is There Instead (It Could Be Cool!), and What You Can Do About It!


The simple answer is that he is an author, or at least is working at becoming one. As an author young in career experience, as well as publications, every new publication counts. Most publishers ask for what is know as First American Rights, which basically means that they claim the rights to publish your story (Yes, I wrote a story) for the first time in America, be it on paper or electronically. By posting a story to my blog, I forfeit the right to first American publication, as the story is now up for any one to see. Publishers are hesitant to charge for something that can be found for free, with the knowledge that people like free things. Therefore, in the future interests of my career as a published author, I refrain from posting the story here.

This may seem to be based around the arrogant assumption that I think my story is so good that publishers of short stories will fight over my story, and I must protect it. This, however is not the case. Were I to publish the story on my blog (which I effectively do by posting it), no matter how I polish the story, fix it, work to make it perfect, unless I make story-altering, plot-changing edits to my story, it remains something that people won't want to publish.

This is all a long-winded way of saying, Yes, I am not putting my story up here, I am becoming the type of person I made fun of, and I apologize.


Along with my story, I was told to write a page or two explanation of the whys and hows. That is inserted here:

The above story is a creative adaptation of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The story is a forerunner to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with two lovers that will both commit suicide, one on failed assumptions, and the other because of the first’s mistaken attempt to join their love in death. The story has a powerful resonance, leading me to want to adapt it over any of the other stories found in Ovid’s greatest work.

The myths of the classical world are found embedded all throughout modern culture, and the motto of our class, “All that is past possesses the present,” strikes that same exact note. Yet these immortal tales are falling out of the direct consciousness of larger body of the population. They are reliving the stories without noticing them all around them.

Almost 150 years ago, Thomas Bullfinch noticed this, and created the first book of what was to become Bullfinch’s Mythology. He wanted to create a book of these stories for the masses, a reference for those that don’t have the time to study the tales and learn their nuances, but that want to know these stories that they live with and that suffuse their art, literature, and world. His work became just that, but it has aged, with the stylistically plain prose and the censoring for the audience of Bullfinch’s day making the tales far less than they could be.

To that end I, an author, wanted to update this wonderful idea. I feel that the modern world needs a new book of mythology, one that is up-to-date and accessible, but that still keeps true to the story, and establishes the main themes and emotions with a deep integrity to and respect for the original tales.

From that initial inspiration, I needed to simply begin the process. I studied and read over Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Ted Hughes’ version, Tales From Ovid), and found the story that gripped me most, the story that truly expressed beauty but also drove a dagger into the heart, wrenching it as Ovid was so capable of doing. The one that stuck out most was the simple tale of Pyramus and Thisbe. Love is an obsession of mine, its truth and beauty and wonder, and this tale had that. After multiple rereading of this particular story, I had the basic framework of the story in mind, and set to writing.

The above story is the result. I took the framework, adapted it to my own style, yet did my best to retain all of the pertinent details, from Thisbe’s anger towards the crack followed by her change of heart, to the gods’ (in the story, there is more of a focus of the “thunderous” voice of the thunder god, Zeus) pity for Thisbe and the resulting color of the mulberries. I also tried to maintain the mood of the story, from hope to sadness, yet I also wanted to draw in the audience immediately with a powerful beginning, and decided to set the entire story during the time Thisbe bleeds to death. While this is a slight change from the structure of Ovid’s version, it fits the exact framework, and changes no major details of the tale. The only part of the story not lifted directly from the source is the anecdote from their childhood. The story as Ovid tells it simply mentions that the two were childhood friends. I felt that showing a very short example of the friendship would be more powerful than an overbearing narrator’s voice stating that it was so and moving on.

The experience was rewarding, allowing me to feel into new levels of the story, and was, as I had hoped, fun. However, the goal, beyond enjoyment, was to write a story that people would like. While that may seem obvious, it is vital to the goal stated at the beginning, and one that hopefully this tale is the first step in reaching. This story is the beginning of bringing the immortal stories of gods and heroes, and the people that lived with them, to a public that is slowly forgetting about them. It is the start of a renaissance, one that will remind us of where we came from, in the hopes that it will let us better understand where we are going.


If you are curious about what I wrote (and listening to me talk about it and read an excerpt from it for my presentation on Wednesday doesn't dash this curiosity) and you would like to read the complete story, I am happy to let you read it. I want my work to be read, I just want to also be able to make a little money off of it down the road, as well as help build a name for myself with my writing. Simply leave a comment to this post, or send me an email at and I will be more than happy to provide you with a copy. I appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter, and I hope you enjoy my presentation!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I've been in and out of the loop the past week. Have we figured out a time to get together or anything yet? Let me know:

We need to get going!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Imaginary Life: Relationships to Texts and Today

Publius Ovidius Naso wrote his greatest work on Change. The Metamorphoses revolves around every type and variation of change Ovid could compile into his large work. David Malouf’s fictional account of Ovid’s time in exile reflects the theme that ran through Ovid’s most famous work vibrantly. An Imaginary Life, due to the nature of its protagonist, obviously has close ties to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the poet being the main character. However, the ties go far deeper than that.

Of immediate notice is the lyrical voice throughout the novel. While still very much prose, the words and sentences flow off the page and, when spoken aloud, slither through the air with grace almost equal to Ovid’s own poetic verse. The elegant yet simple way of telling Ovid’s story lends Malouf a tone very much mythic in feel, just as Ovid’s work portrayed the myths of his culture.
However, the truest tie, the one that binds the tightest, is the change inherent in Malouf and Ovid. Malouf portrays in his novel the metamorphosis of Ovid. “Slowly I begin the final metamorphosis. I must drive out my old self and let the universe in” (96). Ovid arrives at Tomis a civilized Roman, attuned to society and the Roman way of life, but, with help from the intervention of a feral child, Ovid changes into a new sort of man, one far closer to nature and the universe. As Ovid lies dying, he reaches the pinnacle of his naturalization, feeling one with the earth around him. Having moved as far from his previous life as he possibly could have, Ovid has lived through the last of his metamorphoses.

This novel truly brings the methods and ideologies of the classical time period into today, humanizing and familiarizing ideas and people that have taken almost mythological status in modern times. It is through works of a more modern sensibility that one can find any immediacy and modern day important in the works of greats thousands of years removed. Perhaps Ovid’s final change will bring us all closer to discovering the truth found in all myths, all cultures, and all lives.

Apology, Authors, and Maybe More!

First, sorry about the two week break. First spring break, then my girlfriend came up for a week. Yes, the girlfriend I have written about a couple times. We have to spend this one year apart, as she is finishing up her last year of her degree (In Classical Studies, of all things. Yes, I have a little outside help for this class) at Ohio University. I last saw her around the beginning of 2009. All this (potentially excessive) personal note is here for is to explain that, having not seen the girl of my dreams in about three months, there was no way in hell I was going to get much of anything done. I'll claim that I was living the words spoken in the Symposium and at the very least feel slightly better about not being totally with it, for this class if no other. Anyways...

I did some research into the backgrounds of two authors pivotal to our class, both being from the present day, oddly enough.

Ted Hughes seems like a rather odd duck. His wife kills herself by stove. His lover (whom he cheated on his wife with and had one child by him) murders their child then kills herself the same way Hughes' wife, Sylvia Plath, did. Hughes marries a second wife, and cheats on her with numerous other women. Hughes' other child, a son, fights clinical depression and then commits suicide. Very unhappy and dark.

David Malouf led a far less socially noteworthy life, but one far less filled with tragedy. While it seems some of his views have been called racist towards the indigenous peoples of Australia, he has been otherwise uncontroversial. Apparently a very private man, he enjoys solitude, anonymity, and feels it is ridiculous to view him as a role model.

Also, a very intruiging essay on An Imaginary Life.

Next Up: One Pager Time!