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!

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