Ever since I got sick, I’ve had a lot of trouble re-committing to my writing ritual, so it was important to me that I get up this morning and try to write.
Lately, I’ve been writing adaptations of myths. Since I wrote Myrrh, I’ve been interested in focusing on the ones where the gods turn someone into a tree. The myth of Daphne was one I already had in mind to write about. Daphne was so loved by the god Apollo that he chased her. She fled and prayed to the gods for help. They, in turn, turned her into a laurel tree. Poor Daphne. Bet she didn’t think that would happen after asking for help. How is turning someone into a tree helpful?
The important part of writing these myth adaptations for me is to let the myth influence the dramatic action, but not the little details of character, setting, etc. The last couple of times, I’ve had to read the myth and then walk away and try to write it without the myth weighing so heavily on me.
That part was successful today. Daphne turned out to be a housewife:
“You spend your days trimming crusts,
leaving potato skins in the sink like opened envelopes.”
By making her into a housewife, I could really focus on a sense of longing through her repetitive actions. Her longing then begins to focus into wanting an imagined person who she looks outside the window at night for. When he (in this case, Apollo) finally comes, he’s brutal and violent. I’ve written the “she turned into a tree” scene, but I’m not quite sure if I want to keep it. I might want to just leave it ambiguous, since Myrrh already describes how she turns into a tree.
The good news is that I wrote a poem. My writing ritual has yet to fail me. That’s so comforting.