Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus and Myths of All Sorts

--Today is the federal holiday that celebrates Columbus Day; I'm willing to wager serious money that most of us don't have the day off.  When your mail doesn't arrive, you can take a minute to remember Columbus, who wanted to find a shorter trade route, but failed miserably in that goal.  Still, most of us think of him as a success.

--What lessons can we creative types learn from Columbus?  Many of us start off with a vision for where we'd like to go, perhaps even with five and ten year plans. Yet if we're open to some alternate paths, we might find ourselves making intriguing discoveries that we'd never have made, had we stuck religiously to our original plans.

--We tend to think of Columbus as being one of the few to realize that the earth was round, but that's a myth.  Garrison Keilor's The Writer's Almanac post for today reminds us:  "Legend has it that only Columbus believed the earth was round, but that's not true; most educated Europeans at the time knew the earth wasn't flat. However, the Ottoman Empire had cut off land and sea routes to the islands of Asia. Columbus became obsessed with finding a western sea route, but he miscalculated the world's size, and he didn't know the Pacific Ocean existed."

--I need to start thinking about mythology in other ways too.  In two months, I need to be finishing an academic essay in which I talk about women poets using Greek mythology to talk about work, more specifically work outside the home.  If you've got poems out there that use Greek myth to talk about the workplace as women experience it, I'd love a copy of those poems.  I've got lots of books to look through, but I'm aware that there's a wealth of poems published individually which will be hard for me to find.  If you don't want to comment publicly here, feel free to send me an e-mail:  kristinlba at

--Even if I can't refer to the works of anyone else, I've got my own work.

--Speaking of my own work, I should look through my old poetry notebooks.  I first write and revise poems on legal pads, and then, later (sometimes months or years later), I type them into the computer, making any last revisions that I can see.  Lately, the typing into the computer part of the process has gotten neglected.

--I need to do this not only for my academic essay but for my Fall submissions.  The journal Slant only accepts submissions until Nov. 15, and they've always liked my poems based on mythology best.

--And thinking about mythology always gives me an entry into new poems to write, as does history.  I have Halloween on the brain, and global warming, and the treasures that Columbus did find (tomatoes!  peppers!  chocolate!).  Could these swirl into a poem?

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