As an artist, I am comfortable in chaos. I like very much being out of the box and a different marimba. In college I discovered the Myers Briggs type indicator MBTi and I rejoiced upon finding my "type" had a mere 4% representation in society. Imagine my surprise when I perceived that my poetry, and my LIFE for that matter! was following a true form and structure.WUT.Long a fan of Sonata form and three act theory, I admired the development-crisis-resolution form and structure of music and film. I was introduced to the Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey via Star Wars. I'd been recently fascinated with literary alchemy via John Granger. Since becoming a mom and having a daughter, I was drawn to the Triple Goddess theory of maiden-mother-crone.
Realizing my poetry embodies all of my fascinations and weaknesses was truly frightening. I'm not just telling a story. I'm writing my life story. But you know what else I realized. I'm writing your story.
Let me explain.
My intent had been to assemble a collection for my daughter, that she would read it someday and learn about how I came to be her mother. How I grew up without a grandmother figure, how I perceive my own mother. How my mother-in-law is the antithesis of my mom. All archetypes, right? We are all characters in the stories of our lives.
And story follows form. There is beginning, middle, and end. But more significantly, there is exposition, development, conflict, and resolution. There is refusal of the call. There are trials and tribulations, denouement and resolution.
And there are twists and turns, red herrings, cliff-hangers, new loves, and new villains. I could be talking about Lost or Star Trek, but I'm not. I'm talking about your life.
Somewhere between reading John Granger's wonderful interpretations of literary alchemy, and Valerie Frankel's From girl to goddess: the heroines journey in myth & legend, I realized my own story. Literary alchemy illustrates development of Harry Potter, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and The Hunger Games via stages of alchemy: black, white, and red. Valerie Frankel's book states the female hero's journey differs from Joseph Campbell's hero's journey in significant ways, including confronting the terrible mother archetype. Hello! I happened to know one. A terrible mother right in my own constellation of characters. So I killed her. In story. And then I wrote a book.
The black stage of alchemy is the burning. This is the trials and tribulations phase, the suffering of self. For me it was during my college years, marked by my boyfriend breaking up with me and then contracting mono. The prima materia is burned down to its essence. Everyone goes through this. You have to fall down before you can get up. See "how being stubborn, depressed, and unpopular SAVED my life" by jenipher lyn. The individuation phase has so much angst. These are also my maiden years. What was your black stage?
The white stage of alchemy is the cleansing. The hero regroups, rethinks, redirects. There is introspection, redirection. The prima materia is now washed, cleansed. The heroine has changed her mind, taken a fresh perspective. These are also my new bride/young mother years. What was your white stage?
The red stage is the glorious resolution, the triumphant. Victory. The choir sings in harmony. The music of the spheres resonates. The notes/plot devices all fall into place, called by a certain gravity. The hero now knows her purpose. These are now my crone years. It is my purpose in writing my story to get you to write yours. What's your story?
Corinne is the author of Persephone & Me, a poetry collection, available now at amazon.com.