Feedback Thoughts

A large part of my Mythology and Folklore class is supposed to be based on giving and receiving feedback for the writing that everyone does. I think this is a very good idea, but I hate feedback. When I show someone my writing, I typically want them to tear it apart (in a constructive way) and help me find what I’ve done wrong or what I need to clarify or what doesn’t make sense so I can fix it. Unfortunately my peers are less that likely to do that because it could be seen as rude. I’m the same way. As much as I want constructive criticism for my own work it is very hard for me to offer it to other people because I don’t want to discourage them. So my personal project for this semester is to be as honest as possible with my feedback, while still being positive and respectful. Hopefully some of my feedback will be useful.

I also read a few articles about giving and recieving feedback. One was “14 Signs your Perfectionism has gotten out of Control” and, while I don’t particularly consider myself a perfectionist, it described me pretty well. So I’m probably just in denial. Luckily my “perfectionism” is on the light side, but I do need to be self aware and make sure that I don’t just focus on being mistake free. Mistakes are how you learn, and that’s what this whole thing is about.

The other article I read, “Using Harsh Feedback to Fuel your Career,” was basically what I want to be. I try to see criticism as a challenge to improve (maybe I am a perfectionist). I also get upset and vent to my family for a bit or take a break and do something else for a bit before I get back at it. I think that’s just the healthy thing to do.

Hopefully these articles, and lots of practice, will help me get used to both giving and receiving good feedback this semester!

Image: Stock photo for “feedback.” Source: Pixabay

Project Topic Brainstorm

Apparently it’s already time to start thinking about the end of semester project for Mythology and Folklore. Not that I’m complaining – this looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun! So these are my ideas and you might notice a theme; apparently I’m really interesting in the ladies left in the shadows. But now I get to give them a chance at the spotlight!

  1. Women of Greek Mythology

One idea I’ve had for a project is to write about some of the awesome ladies in Greek Mythology and give them voices. Like letting Helen of Troy tell her own story, or giving Pandora a chance to explain why she opened the box. I think it would be really cool to take some of the one-dimensional characters from different myths and rounding them out with real personalities and plausible motives. The ones I’ve been thinking about – besides those already mentioned – are Atlanta, Ariadne, Psyche, and Thetis.

  1. Fairy Tales: Damsels in Distress

Similar to the first idea, I’d like to take some of the traditional fairy tale damsels in distress and give them a dose of 21st century “I am my own independent woman.” I don’t want to get rid of the men in the stories, but I’d like to turn them into supporting characters and let the ladies be their own heroes. I think the ladies in Cinderella, Bluebeard, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty could all really benefit from this. Maybe also Beauty and the Beast, if only because it’s my favorite and I think I’d like writing about it. Besides is the original story Belle is very brave, but she doesn’t really try to take control of the situation.

  1. Forgotten Women in “History”

I also think it would be cool to take some ladies in different myths who were left on the sidelines and either retell their stories from their point of view, or re-imagine the stories with the women as the heroes. I would like to show how much an impact some of the ladies in different myths could have if they were allowed to take a more active role. Specifically, I’d like to work with Maid Marian, Elena de la Vega (the Legend of Zorro), Guinevere and/or he Lady of the Lake, and actually Hua Mulan, but I would change that one in a slightly different way.

  1. Rejected Princesses

This idea might be a bit of a stretch, but I think it could be interesting. A few years ago I stumbled across a website called Rejected Princesses. The website is full of stories about “women too awesome, awful, or offbeat for children’s movies.” I’d love to take some inspiration from this website. There are currently 29 entries based on different Myths from around the world, and the author includes citations for every story that would be really helpful if I decided to rewrite them. There are some really awesome women on there too! Sita, Amaridevi, and Banu Goshap are just a few that have caught my eye.

Note: A lot of these links are to Wikipedia articles. Once I pick a project I’ll use that as a basis for further research, but for now I just needed a cursory overview of each of my ideas.

Image: Stock photo of “idea.” Source: Pixabay

Week 2 Story: To Answer a Prayer

I wish… like my ivory girl.

Venus closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. This day was always difficult, when every believer called on her for the blessing of love, but this plea was the one that caught her attention. This prayer, so heartfelt, was unlike anything she felt from a human for centuries. Venus focused even more intently, listening for the voice that caught her attention. It had faded, almost to nothing, but was not gone. The human had not given up hope yet.

“If you can grant all things, you gods, I wish as a bride to have one like my ivory girl.”

It was a man in Cyprus, making his offering to Venus at his festival. But Venus could hear hesitation in his words, and she looked into his thoughts to hear what he was not brave enough to say. She saw this man, Pygmalion, carving stone into the likeness of a woman in his memory. She wasn’t perfect but Pygmalion looked at her as if she were. Venus could see in his memory how his love for his creation grew day by day. Venus saw Pygmalion’s true prayer in his thoughts and in his heart.

I wish as a bride to have my ivory girl.

Impressed by his devotion, Venus granted his wish. She watched as the fire expressed her intent and Pygmalion ran to his statue. His love gave the statue life, as Venus intended, and as long as Pygmalion continued to love her, she would stay alive.

Venus watched as the two began their lives together, pleased with their happiness. She couldn’t see the future, humans rarely did what was expected anyway, but she imagined they would be happy together for many years. While their story would probably not be remembered – and who would believe it, even with the gods?- Venus would remember the man who’s love was strong enough to bring his ivory girl to life.

Author’s Note: This story is based on Pygmalion by the Roman poet Ovid. In this story a sculptor, Pygmalion, carves the likeness of a woman. He falls in love with his sculpture and asks Venus, the goddess of love, for the girl as his wife. Venus answers his prayer and the sculpture comes to life. In this story I changed the point of view from that of Pygmalion to Venus.

Bibliography: “Pygmalion,” Roman myth by Ovid. Web Source.

Image: Photo of Lely’s Venus. Source: Wikimedia

Reading Notes: Anthology

I finished my first weeks reading! Let me tell you, some of those stories were interesting. But I think a few of them have potential to be the source for my first storytelling assignment later this week. I think I have three different options for my story, based on the readings.

The first one I could base it on is the Metamorphosis story about Pygmalion. I like the idea of this story, and I’ve actually read it before, but it bothers me that so little is revealed of what the characters are thinking. I also think the story would be improved with more details after the statue comes to life. It’s kind of creepy when it just ends with Pygmalion kissing her right as she becomes human. So I think it would be interesting to give it a go at improving the story.

I also really liked the character dynamic in the Trickster story about the Jackal. This character reminds me of the chaotic good theory, where someone strives to help people and is willing to disregard the law if necessary. I think that would be a cool trait in a main character, and a nice challenge to depict in a realistic way.

Finally, the Beauty and the Beast story caught my eye. It’s always been one of my favorite fairy tales and I’ve read countless different versions. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. I’m not sure how I felt about it, but I think it definitely needs more detail. It didn’t really make much sense as is, but it would be cool to add my own ideas into it.

All of these would be cool to work on, so we will see where inspiration strikes when I get to work later this week.

Image: Generic stock photo of book. Source: Pixabay

Reading Options

Let’s talk about what I’m going to be doing this semester. I really like that I get to choose what to read each week because I know that I’ll enjoy whatever I pick, so I’m really excited to get started! I was looking through our “Untextbook” and some of the sections really caught my eye.

  • Cupid and Psyche looked really interesting. I’ve always been curious about Greek mythology and I’ve read a story about this couple in the past. I think it would be cool to get more details and context about them.
  • This section about Women Saints looks especially interesting, because I’m always open to reading about awesome women who were ahead of their time, especially when they also rely on a strong faith to help them through.
  • The Arabian Nights is something that I’ve always wanted to ready but I’ve never really found a good translation of it. I’m really excited to get started on this one in particular because I’ve read a fractured story about┬áScheherazade and she seemed like an awesome woman!

These are obviously just a few that caught my attention, and I’m excited to read a lot more than just these stories. But this seems like a great way to start!

Image: Stock photo of book. Source: Pexels