All well written Speculative Fiction tales are a part of the fabric of the new mythology. This is true whether the author meant it or not. Every story we see/hear/watch is unconsciously compared to the stories we live by. If the new story aligns with, adds to, alters, or changes that story, it has become a part of an individual's personal mythology. Simply calling something myth or mythos does not make it so. Only when that alchemy occurs and the story is adopted by others does the story become myth.
While that may sound pretentious or mystifying, it is, in fact, a plain statement of fact: Pure mythology...
- is fiction that gives the reader/viewer a true experience of being alive.
- is drawn from the archetypal well of dream that invests meaning into the text.
- is written in such a way that it connects with the reader to impart clues to understanding profound mysteries.
Any writer who truly engages their imagination in the creation of their work does all three of these things, often without conscious thought or action to do so.
When a writer or artist is set free of commercial and popular demands, and allowed to penetrate and explore their own creative vision, the result can be pure unencumbered art. The more corporate the art of writing becomes, the less interesting, and true the result.
Many fans are tired of the homogenized work that is becoming more and more common in the industry. We do not need another company driven by profit margins, or another author whose self-important propaganda obscures the art. We need writers and artists that love what they are doing. That is why we are here. We are looking for something better.
Return of the Cultural Cycle
As we discussed in the Project: Shadow Manifesto, In the era before copyright, "stories, heroes, melodies, and lyrics belonged to the people. Stories were told, and retold. Numerous visions of each story competed against each other. The best were remembered, collected, retold, embellished, and built upon. The rest were forgotten."
Stories used to have to fight for the attention and memory of the populous. Now they fight for the attention of an editor or producer who is often more interested in making a quick buck than telling a great story. But things are changing!
The advent of the internet and the various methods of print on demand have opened up the floodgates for anyone to publish a story, movie, or song that wants too. We are returning to the old survival of the fittest model but with one major difference. We lack the common space for this free exchange of stories to take place.
Only a small fraction of YouTube's traffic searches for the video they watch. Most rely on others. And when it comes to text or audio, where do you go to find what you are looking for. The chance of discovery has increased, but so have the odds against being able to find something new.
For the vital role of the Cultural Cycle to return, we have to discover new and better ways to enable discovery of the new stories.
Copyright, not the only problem
Each generation must retell the tales of the preceding generations in their own context to keep them relevant. This cycle has been broken by copyright, but this is not the only problem facing us.
- We are not teaching writers to create lasting works.
- We have not made it easy to find these works.
- We have not made it easy to share these works.
- We have yet to find a way for these to writers to easily make a living from their work without repeating the problems of the past.
And there is one last problem, and its a big one:
The word “Myth” has become a marketing term.
It has gotten so bad that people have started rebelling against the very notion of myth making, assuming it is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
We have to fight this trend and realize that myths are just the stories that give our live a sense of meaning and purpose. Without them, life is dreary hollow place. To quote the Manifesto again:
We need writers and artists that love what they are doing.
We need fans who are not afraid to speak their minds.
We need places in our towns/cities and online where we can meet and share the few gems that we find from the industry and from the independent artist, writers, and filmmakers who are still following their bliss rather than the dollar.
Now we need to look at what a myth really is, and how we can spread them easily.