reflections on EasterCon 2: the beginnings of things

So, in what can only be described as a fit of recklessness, I have decided to try and draft a story during EasterCon.  I did this a couple of years ago at LonCon 3, starting from an idea that came to me from the events of the news, bringing it together with an idea that I’d put on my List of Ideas for Stories to Write and managed to create a draft.  A flawed draft, admittedly, one I submitted for a quick rejection, and one that I need to get back to, revise and polish.  

And now I’m trying to do it again, again starting from an idea in the news, combining it with another from my List of Ideas, and to be honest, it’s going all right.  But thinking through the structure of the story has blended in my brain with some of the discussions over the past couple of days, listening to panels and in casual conversation with the people I’ve been meeting, and now I’m thinking about the origin stories of stories.

Some aspects of this I’ve pondered before, in Giants, Neanderthals and old stories.  But the origin story that came to mind this morning concerns the fables and myths we have.  I’m reading the Tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, which is a fascinating experience and I’m currently in the part, about 140 nights in for those who have read it, where we are getting lots of short fables, like the Thief and his Monkey, the Sparrow and the Peacock, and the Mouse and the Flea, each of which is explicitly being used by Shahrazad to try and persuade the King to behave more sensibly.

But the one that’s most relevant to the story I’m trying to pull together is Pandora’s Box.  We have an idea of who first wrote down the story and we have the characterisation of Pandora’s Box as an origin myth, trying to explain the origin of the evils of the world.  But I’m interested in a different variation of origin, in that I want to know why Pandora and a jar were used to tell the story, as opposed to anything else.  I’m completely convinced that there is a body of scholarly literature on the subject of why for instance it’s a woman who unleashed evil on the world.

But what I actually want is something that I know is impossible, namely I want to be sitting around the fire when the first version of what would eventually be the myth of Pandora’s Box was told.  What was the event that caused that first teller to start telling the story, and I am fascinated by this history of stories.

I think there is an inevitability to thinking about writing while being here at EasterCon, given the number of writers who are here and the amount of discussion of writing in all its glory and possibility.  It’s also interesting to watch how the story I’m trying to compose here is changing each time I sit down to put down words.  I think the story has reached a sufficiently stable form and all I need to do now is to finish it, but as part of that process of stabilisation, I have found several variants of the story that might be as interesting as the story I’ve decided to tell.   But this leads into a different topic for another day.

~ by Jim Anderson on 16 April 2017.

3 Responses to “reflections on EasterCon 2: the beginnings of things”

  1. I’m amazed you had time to write, Jim!

    If you’re riffing off the Pandora myth, then I’m assuming you’re read ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’? That book rocks.

  2. […] at EasterCon last month, I set myself a challenge, as noted in reflections on EasterCon 2: the beginnings of things.  I started with an idea and I set myself the challenge of writing (the first draft of) an entire […]

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