Because May is “Get Caught Reading Month,” my last post was a little history lesson on cuneiform, which marked the beginning of storytelling as we know it today. Another powerful form of communication, oral storytelling, is a popular tradition in Native American culture. I am going to shift from the the goal of “get caught reading” to “get caught listening,” not only because oral storytelling has such a rich tradition, but because it also has a place in my heritage.
Native American stories were passed down for centuries, exploring everything from practical advice on preparing food to stories of friendship. Most were shared in order to pass wisdom from one generation to the next. The culture was grounded in the knowledge that history can teach us invaluable lessons on life. It is our responsibility not only to apply this knowledge to our lives, but to pass it on to the next generation. And isn’t that the goal of many stories, whether written or spoken? These words are not only meant to entertain; stories can inspire, encourage and ultimately improve our lives and the world around us.
Image 1 credit:www.pnsn.org
Image 2 credit: native-americans-online.com
May is “Get Caught Reading Month,” so in light of the importance and intrigue of the written word, I thought I would go back to where it all began. The earliest form of writing changed communication forever, lending a permanency oral communication couldn’t offer. Since the inhabitants of Mesopotamia developed cuneiform writing around 3300 to 2990 B.C.E., humans have had the ability to record stories that have been passed down for millennia.
The earliest known piece of literature, the narrative poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, was found in cuneiform, and was written by multiple authors beginning around 2100 B.C.E. It took around a thousand years for the final story to be completed, and the wedge shapes on clay tablets laid a foundation for storytelling that would eliminate the boundaries of communication. Later, the Phoenicians developed the signs for consonants that have been modified over time tot he alphabet we see today. It’s hard to imagine a world without written text, and this reminds us to never take for granted our ability to read, learn, and grow.
This clay tablet, which is 2,600 years old, was found in 2015 and adds 20 lines to The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Metamorphosis: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means
In the past few posts, I’ve been rambling incessantly on the challenges we face in life, veering dangerously close to Oprah-like discussions. So, in the interest of intellectual relevancy, I’m taking a literary turn on the second blog for April’s theme of change. As I was thinking about the alterations that occur throughout our lives, both within ourselves and in our surroundings, I remembered Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. For those not familiar with Kafka’s work, The Metamorphosis is a humorous yet tragic story of a young man named Gregor, who transforms into a cockroach. He never feels like he fits in with society and due to his family’s mistreatment, considers himself an outcast; this is magnified when he turns into an insect and is locked in his room for months, often with very little food. After he dies, his family moves on as if nothing happened, letting the maid clean up his remains and promptly forgetting about his prior existence.
The cockroach form that Gregor obtains is a metaphor for how others treated him. His family viewed him as ugly and useless; therefore, he took this form. Though a little odd to picture, we can see Kafka’s relevant comparison to the human tendency to change based on other’s opinions and their surroundings. If we let them, people’s remarks and the situational changes in our lives can affect us in either a positive or negative way. Though it is highly unlikely any of us will be morphing into an insect in the near future, it helps to remember the affects others have on our lives, as well as the strength and value each of us holds.
Everyone considers change an inevitable part of life; it’s as sure as the sunset and as random as a mid-west skyline. For the most part, we understand the need to adapt to the changes in our lives, whether seemingly positive or negative. The variation in our lives are like the ocean. The waves are constant like our existence, yet the sand is always shifting, with the tide ebbing and flowing as it’s pulled by the gravity of the moon.
Although it comes easier to some than others, we have been designed with a similar and imperative ability to adjust to the alterations in our lives. When the changes are positive, we celebrate, and when they are negative we do our best to cope. Remember that these challenges in life can bring us down or make us stronger. Most of us would make an attempt at the latter. So no matter what the next day holds, focus on taking the changes in your life and not only allowing them to occur, but embracing the spontaneity and unpredictability that is part of the world we live in.
Need a little inspiration? As usual, I have a song, (or two), for everything.[Top]
To continue our theme for March celebrating women and their accomplishments, let’s take a look back at the impact of women such as Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony. This is only only a fraction of the influence women have made in history, and should remind us of our limitless capabilities in our ever-changing world.
Helen Keller, despite being deaf and blind, spent her life helping others with handicaps and founding organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s rights and started the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Helen Keller image http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/helen-keller/biography-and-chronology/123
Susan B. Anthony image www.gccschool.org[Top]
March 8th is International Women’s Day, and I decided to take this opportunity to encourage women, as we find ourselves in an interesting time in history. It’s a period filled with many viewpoints of women’s abilities, successes and challenges. Although many advancements have been made, there are still inequalities in the workplace, especially concerning the pay gap between men and women. I think of the employee who is paid less than her male counterpart, or the young girl who has been told her dream of becoming President is impossible. However, gradual changes in society are giving women more opportunities than ever.
Women have been ingeniously designed not only to bring life into the world, but to continue to care for those lives while balancing work, school, and other obligations. Those who choose to start a family at a young age often have the ability to continue their education and earn an income from home while remaining the sole caretaker of their children. Some may choose to make their children an exclusive priority, while others choose a career; still others decide to do both. Every woman has unique talents, and it’s important to remember there are so many options. Though it may require sacrifice of time, money and valuable sleep, women can find fulfillment in many different areas.
Sometimes in the stress of everyday life we forget to take a breath and remember who we are as individuals: our goals, natural talents and dreams for the future. If we search our hearts and find out where we are meant to be, we can make an impact in both our homes and in our world.
mother and child:http://kathycaprino.com/ professional women:http://www.pwbctx.com/[Top]
In most cases, a writer’s greatest fear comes when they are looking at that blank word document with the taunting blinking line and the mind matches the emptiness of that page. I finished my Associate’s Degree in December, and with numerous essays and papers in my distant memory and a seemingly higher understanding of literature, I find myself looking at a blank screen. Although I learned a great deal, and will never regret going back to school, never in the process of my education did they explain the publishing process or the art of submitting a query. Despite this, the blank page of my writing career is liberating. Although I previously self-published a book, I feel like I am a different person than I was at that time, and can take my career down any avenue. I want to connect with readers where they are now, and fill the empty pages with new adventures and characters who come to life.
I believe writing is simple in nature: write what you know and love, and meld this with topics that interest others. Thus far, my blogs have been a mixture of discussions of human nature, my inner thoughts, and music, none of which are probably of any any interest to many readers. I am going to delve into the world of freelance writing for a while, hoping to find clients who need proofreading, copywriting, or pretty much anything in between. So until I find that niche that will interest readers, this blog will continue as it has-random and slowly evolving over time. It will most likely encourage, discuss a current topic, or share a new book or album of interest.
I am not one to take the expected route, and believe there are multiple ways to one destination or goal. I look forward to this new page (pun intended) in my writing career and hope this blog informs, encourages and entertains as lives and interests change over time.
For those of you who may be thinking of starting out in freelance or novels, Writer’s Market is very helpful. It’s informative in regards to query submission, establishing a platform, etc. Writers Market on Amazon