Showing posts with label Daedalus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daedalus. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adventures in Logophilia Day 8: Vade Mecem (Jillian)

After a thorough search, today's word, conveyed in to you in rudimentary calligraphy is...

Vade mecem (noun) is from the Latin (in case you couldn't tell) for "go with me" (or "come hither", as I'd say).  It is a book or manual for easy reference, or an item regularly carried about by a person.  Sometimes both, I'd imagine.

I'd like to think the blog (and perhaps Twitter) is the vade mecem of the internet age.  Now that many of us (not myself, however) have smarty-pants phones that connect to the internet and convey updates on our friends' thoughts, the latest celebrity melodrama or the weather.  We google from where we're standing.  We search and follow directions from these devices.  From an intellectual standpoint, the blog is a public journal, a different kind of vade mecem.  Depending on your subject matter, you're inviting your readers along for an adventure - not necessarily plotting directions but experiences.  I'd like to think that Daedalus is helpful - perhaps not a manual, but a source of encouragement to be carried about through the year.  This isn't my or Michelle's personal-minutia blog, but I'd hope we can share our challenges as writers. 

Honestly, this Autumn might be a tough one for me.  I might have mentioned it before, but I'm currently drafting a query letter for my novel.  I hope to get the first query sent to a literary agency in the next couple of weeks.  I've never done so before, and the more I think about it, the more it's like standing on the edge of an abyss.  The only way to know what lies beyond is take a leap of faith.  As that unfolds, I'm considering applying to a graduate creative writing program again.  I hope that through Daedalus you can come along with me on this journey in the dark, and we can figure out the world that is literary agents and publishing and graduate school applications together.  Who knows where we might end up?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Adventures in Logophilia Day 5: Intrepid (Jillian)

I had a hard time selecting a word today.  Nothing stuck out in my mind, even though I'd combed over the Lexicon twice in hope of inspiration.  Nonetheless, I have today's word, have put it down in ink (however imperfect my calligraphy may be) and it is...

To be intrepid (adjective) is to be characterized by resolute fearlessness; adventurous.

I'd like to think I'm an intrepid writer.  This year I've been in a sort of quest to try new things and to push my writing in new directions.  Not just where my novel is concerned, but in the everyday slog of the writing life.  Recently, I decided that I needed to get up early in order to tackle the novel before work.  As much as I hated, loathed, recoiled at the thought of getting up even a minute sooner than routine, it was actually a good thing.  I try to get up early now, and I am actually awake (if not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed) and refreshed and ready for the day.  It took a little intrepidation to do so.  And today, struggling to get out of bed when the alarm told me to so that I might blog was an intrepid battle. 

Sometimes we rail against the smallest things in life, but sometimes these little things are worth sacrificing in the greater adventure of our writing... stepping outside the box or the comfort zone or whatever you've been conditioned to call it.  We writers are curious creatures; walls cannot contain us.  I don't mean we should forgo the bonds of grammar and syntax and common sense, but use those "walls" as the starting point, the barest bones of our writing, and seek to find it viscera and blood and skin and clothes in new places.  Does this make sense?  We must go boldly into the Unknown, take risks, do what is uncomfortable or downright scary because the Story is worth it.  So... this Autumn I strive to be intrepid, sending my novel (my brainchild) into the deep, black hole that is the world of literary agents and publishing, trying again for a graduate program, and venturing into the world of online community.  I am off to see the world, pen in hand! 

One last thought: Daedalus making wings for his son Icarus to use to fly.  That's a bold move.  He warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, but he gave him the wings anyway.  The wax in the wings melted, and Icarus fell.  Is it Daedalus' fault?  Or is it the painful price we must pay sometimes for taking a necessary risk?  In our quest we may lose a novel or a story, our brainchildren, but we've gone forward, paving the way for what comes next over the horizon.  There will always be something to inspire.  Sometimes we must meet it halfway, or else wrest it with all our strength out of its hiding place.  As Michelle would say, Corraggio!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why Daedalus? (by Michelle)

Why indeed?

The myth of Daedalus is worth knowing, even if it is one of ancient Greece's more disturbing contributions to our cultural heritage. It nevertheless makes an interesting corollary to the story of his son, Icarus (the guy who flew too close to the sun and consequently fell into the sea).

Daedalus was a craftsman of Crete, and the queen of Crete, Pasiphae, developed a passion for a bull (yuck). He built her a cow suit so she could consummate it (double yuck). The result was the Minotaur, a monster half man and half bull.

Daedalus then built the Labyrinth as a prison for the monstrous creation. Unfortunately, he was then imprisoned himself, presumably so the awful truth wouldn't get out. But he built an escape: wax wings, so he and his son, Icarus, could fly away from Crete. His son was a bit thick and ignored his injunction to "take the middle path" (let's hear it for the golden mean!) and so his wings melted and he fell into the sea.

What's the point of my telling this slightly gross story? Simply this: Icarus is often allegorized as a model for people who want to achieve something that is not a guaranteed success: "Carpe diem! Seize the day! If you never try you'll never know. Who cares if you fail as long as you fail gloriously?" Or, alternately: "Remember Icarus. Don't overreach yourself. Just be content with what you have." But I'm not a Romantic or a pragmatist, and I don't particularly want to go down in flames.

So what about Daedalus? Perhaps he is a better candidate for allegory, for the artist anyway. Be clever, develop your artifice. If you make something horrible (like a Minotaur), you can figure out how to neutralize it. And if you end up in deep trouble (imprisoned on Crete) you can be resourceful and devise a way out. You will find a way to keep living and keep making things. Invention is a powerful thing; it doesn't make life perfect, but you can trust to your inventive abilities to help you to live.

It's not a perfect allegory. Don't ask me anything about Perdix, Attic blood, or what Daedalus' failure to impart any good sense to Icarus means. I don't know. I'm not a medieval encyclopedist.

Check out Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VIII if you want to read about Daedalus and Icarus first-hand. I like the Oxford Classics edition, translated by A.D. Melville. But, as LeVar would say, you don't have to take my word for it...


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