I employ Classical Myth in all of my Epic Fables of Time, by using archetypes of course, but also numbers, both of which are essential to the accepted formula.
For a writer, Myth as a literary tool is all-powerful given it’s usually an unconscious connection, and this unique contrivance opens up vast opportunities in storytelling, for when skillfully practiced Unconscious Myth produces reactions and provokes feelings that may not be readily understood, and that’s a wonderful creative device leading to unexpected situations and outcomes.
Use of this imaginative stratagem as an enhancement to the plot is therefore limited only by the artist’s finesse, so to speak.
To actuate this standard formula, archetypes (often called prototypes) are paramount in Mythology for when these easily recognized stereotypes are utilized they tell the backstory by virtue of their universal nature, therefore the author has no need to explain the underlying significance, for the connotation is already understood by virtue of the existing collective experience.
For example, this very short story from the book TALES of the ELASTIC LIMIT contains several Classical Mythical Aspects, with the worldwide ethos of water and the apple being easily apparent given the prevalent cultural symbolism each already holds.
Other facets are not so obvious, namely the social archetypes displayed, the numbers engaged and then plugged into the formula, and also the numerology used within the paragraph structure itself.
By exploiting the Magic of Myth, it’s expected these commonly understood elements will quickly engender a simple, but also engaging atmosphere within which the ultimate point of the Time Traveling Story can be presented, and I’m hoping the reader will agree.
Here’s the Epic Fable:
The Adroit Advantage Taker
The History of Turning Things Around
There once was a little man whose nearest neighbor was very clever. This neighbor had learned to split trees along the grain, a neat trick considering there were no metal tools. He used wooden wedges pounded by wooden mallets.
If that weren’t enough, he’d learned to join the planks he split. He somehow notched the ends to interlock, as the fingers of your hands could. At last, employing judicious use of rawhide strips, he then invented the storage box.
This opened up lots of possibilities. Thin boxes with a strap made a strong shoulder-held carrying case while thicker boxes could be dragged, again using straps. Dogs could pull a good load this way, or people if one didn’t have a dog.
But the clever man’s neighbor owned a nice ox, and it was always in high demand to pull the plow of his fellow farmers. He was lucky he’d inherited it from his mother’s brother, someone he’d never met. This uncle was from a distant land whose people had first tamed the massive, but now docile beasts of burden.
Years before, his mother as just a child had been taken as a spoil of war, but that conflict had long ago been resolved and the unknown uncle had held no other heirs.
The hereditary ox was a marvel for, although their use was known, they were scarce and therefore hard to come by. The little man’s animal was the first, and so far, the only one in the area. This rendered it a most valuable commodity.
The man’s clever neighbor had made for him a big box for his ox to pull, and the large bovine could drag much with it, also a service of high demand. Yet at some point, the bottom planks of the box would always break apart under the strain. His neighbor had given him many replacements, but they broke, also.
Next he’d tried strapping hides to the bottom of the box, but while helping some, this action had failed to alleviate the problem.
This current state of affairs would soon change though, and all because of him. After much consideration, the little man now thought he knew how to remedy the situation, and it would be easy. Yes, he was very clever too, or so he thought.
Always a heavy thinker, the diminutive man, who was leading his ox that was pulling the box, came to a brook. It was hot out. He stopped to water himself and his beast, and they drank deeply.
“Are you hungry, my friend?” asked a nearby voice.
Both the ox and his startled owner looked to a tall stranger, who sat holding a large apple on the opposite bank of the gentle stream. Then the oddly dressed man held up a sack made of stitched animal skins. It was lumpy and heavy looking.
“I’ve aplenty,” he said with a smile. “They’re large and very sweet. Your ox would think so, too.”
At this time, tasty apples were hard to come by, for not all such trees created palatable fruit. Yet, planting the seeds of those that did never produced an identical crop, instead just growing many variants. And, the knowledge of grafting vegetation, the only way to assure a standardized yield, would remain hidden for eons.
So, a while later the men sat side by side with their feet in the cool water, each one savoring an apple. The ox had already eaten three in rapid succession. Now it was more than content to stand in the brook and slowly chew his juicy cud.
The little man was explaining his big idea to the stranger and, indeed it was a simple one. Why not attach limbs to the bottom of the box? These limbs, he pointed out, would run the length of the structure, and thus keep it off the ground.
This, he was confident, would be a great improvement changing everything. The limbs would then drag the ground, not the ground on the box. What could be easier?
Yet the stranger acted as if he didn’t understand, making a face and shaking his head. Of course, he did understand. He understood many things, and most were concepts the little man beside him would never know, or even know of.
This stranger was a stranger in more ways than one for, unknown to his simple companion, he was in fact a time traveler currently occupied with a critical mission.
He picked up a flat rock and handed it to the little man. Then reaching about, he picked up two short, nearly straight sticks. These he handed over, also.
“Show me,” he requested.
The little man placed the sticks parallel on the ground between them. Then he put the rock atop them. Next he demonstrated, by sliding the rock over the twigs.
“Problem eliminated,” he pronounced, pleased with himself.
“This is good, yes,” the stranger agreed. But then, after taking another bite of his apple, he added, “I see another way, though. It’s a much better way of pulling things.”
“How? he was asked.
The determined time traveler took hold of the rock. Instead of sliding it over the sticks as his counterpart had done, he moved it in the other direction. He pushed it against the twigs, which now twirled neatly underneath it.
“You’d use logs,” he advised. “You and your helper just need to find some way to attach them. Is this not a better solution?”
Making the connection, the little man agreed, and said so.
He soon hurried off most anxious to try out this novel idea, naturally to be claimed as his own innovation. His clever friend, he knew, would somehow work out any complicated details. So, he pulled on his ox that pulled the box.
The now contented stranger, still eating his apple, was smiling.
TIME TRAVEL LITERATURE is always highly scrutinized by its rabid devotees and often labeled mere FANTASY if it lacks ‘Hard Science’ that fails to address the normal, inherent pitfalls of the genre such as Paradox, Alternate Timelines or a set, believable Working Theory and Hardware, etc.
Yet, I often employ this very distinction as MISDIRECTION in the EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, by setting up a ‘Fantasy-Like Scenario’ that proves not to be the case when the resolution is later revealed.
I find this Literary Device very effective, adding a larger, unforeseen twist to the overall TIME TRAVEL plot.
For example, here’s the INTRODUCTION to PIERCING the ELASTIC LIMIT.
It seems to portent a very Fantasy-Like story.
Of course, after further discovery, one learns that it's strictly SciFi, after all:
It had been hot of late, oppressively so, with little wind to speak of. The worst of the day’s stifling heat was past, but it was still uncomfortable outside. The summer sun’s abundant radiation, earlier absorbed by the earth itself was now rising, the warmed ground freely releasing its heretofore-trapped energy.
The humidity was thick and constant, hanging in the air. It clung to the body as a glove would, enveloping, embracing. One could easily, physically feel the clammy atmosphere’s presence surrounding you, as if in a sauna.
This seasonal pairing was nothing new, as it was always hot and humid during the summer months. Yet the copious sweat generated by virtue of the high temperatures provided no accompanying cooling relief, for it was so sultry that any produced perspiration failed to evaporate. This was nothing new, either.
Nevertheless, the boys were enjoying themselves. A dozen or so of them were running around the giant magnolia tree centered in the deep lawn of the spacious back yard. Each was shirtless and most were barefoot, although a few youngsters had on flip-flop-type sandals or scruffy tennis shoes with no socks.
All were wearing shorts of some sort, typically hand-made cutoffs of one type or another. Many of these were well-used jeans, relegated to the task because their now absent knees could no longer hold patches, but there were some old sheared-off dress pants too, also well beyond their better days. A few of the boys wore only frayed and faded swimming trunks.
The trunks were dry. Swimming wasn’t in the game plan for the neighborhood boys today. The nearest available pond was a few miles off, and no adult was inclined to drive the dusty road leading there in this stationary mugginess.
Besides, in this heat walking that distance would be quite a trek, especially on the way back. Any respite achieved by swimming soon would be bleached out of you by the return trip. The kids would just be worse off for the effort, not better.
Still, one never knew. There was always the hose or sprinkler in a pinch, but the playing boys were unconcerned. They had a different agenda scheduled for this afternoon.
From the screened porch on the back of the house the man and the woman were looking at the youngsters in the yard below. The oscillating fan on the corner table gave them little comfort. It just blew the steamy air around.
“What,” asked the man, “did this doctor say?”
The man’s daughter turned her head to look at him but he didn’t notice this movement. He still stared towards the boys beyond, hectic and excited in their play. He appeared tired, although she knew there was little reason for him to be.
“There’s no change,” she answered him.
Her father didn’t react to this unhelpful statement. He looked as if he hadn’t heard it, but she knew that he had. He was elderly but still engaged, and he didn’t miss much.
She drew a breath, adding, “He may never change.”
This announcement caused him to purse his thin lips, but again he didn’t respond. How does one respond to such news? It was nothing but a waste, a sad, sad waste.
“The bastards,” he spat at last, as if it were the doctor’s fault.
Finally he turned his head and looked at her, demanding, “How, if they can’t explain it, do they know he will never improve? They can’t even say what’s wrong with him. And they’re the experts?”
She met his eyes, unafraid of the truth. The last few years had steeled her. She would never be the same.
Long ago her sense of surprise had given over to despair, and then that despair, deep and hurtful, to anger. But that was gone now, too. Over time she had become a realist, had been beaten by circumstances into being a realist in order to survive the total ordeal, to continue on in some normal fashion.
Her father knew this, of course. It was another thing that he didn’t like. It was just one of the many things that the man couldn’t reconcile, or even begin to reconcile.
“He’s not backward, I tell you,” he emphasized with a stony face, as if to convince her, which was moot as well as ridiculous. “He’s got insight sometimes, and humor. How do these so-called professionals of yours explain that?”
“No one,” she said slowly, hitting each word more for emphasis than for information, “can explain anything. That’s the point exactly.“ And then, continuing in her normal cadence, she added, firmly but quietly this time, “You know this.”
His reaction was a grimace and a sad shake of his head. He realized that he was beaten, and to no good end. The boy was just an innocent, a bystander of the unknown.
The whole thing was beyond pointless.
She looked out to the huge magnolia, its leafed limbs thick and to the ground, showing no trunk. It dominated the equally expansive back yard, long ago trimmed of any other trees or shrub. The surrounding lawn, large, newly cut and lush from over-watering, framed it nicely.
The boys were busy playing about the tree, screaming and laughing at each other. She knew that he was down there, although she didn’t see him at first. Then she saw his older brother in the branches and knew that he had to be close, and she was once again grateful and relieved that he was always well looked after.
“He’s a wonderful kid,” her irate father said with vehement finality, and mostly for his own benefit.
“So is his brother,” she answered him with equal vigor. “They’re both good children. You know that, also.”
The adults watched from the porch as the young boys, by ones and twos, disappeared from view by melting within the leafy boughs of the giant tree. It was the perfect playhouse, a natural fort they loved and used often. Inside the periphery, the long branches lost more leaves the closer they came to the smooth, ancient trunk of the magnolia, and this created a dream-like setting.
The bulk of the sun’s relentless rays were cut off there but it was easy enough to see within the shadows. It was also a little cooler, the air still and contained, buffeted from the outside heat. It was a sanctuary, and they all relished the calm it engendered.
The branches were numerous but spaced far enough apart to afford easy seating for all of the boys. They were quiet and waiting now, dispersed about and looking like hanging ornaments placed there at random. Most were smiling, either to themselves or with others, in quiet anticipation of what was to come.
The older brother moved to a well-worn seat on a limb near the fort’s center, across from his younger sibling, who sat on another branch. This boy’s arm was curled around the tree trunk, hugging it close, his cheek pressed into the bark. His eyes were vacant, widely open but staring off at nothing.
The younger boy’s face was also unique among the assembly, as currently his alone was unsmiling.
Once seated, the bigger brother extended his arm behind him and kept it there, waiting. Several of the boys then passed an old quart pickle jar between them until it reached his outstretched hand. He slowly raised the jar up and then about, using a steady and deliberate movement for all the boys to see.
The clear glass revealed that the jar was not empty.
The old man now sat alone. His daughter was resting, seated in the next room, stealing a few minutes before her daily dinner routine began. The only sound was emanating from the fan running on the porch, rhythmic and constant.
He was still looking out at the backyard scene but his attention was elsewhere. The man had faced enormity before, and in myriad ways. But this circumstance was different.
Now there was nothing to debate, or fight.
It was true that in his long history he had grown in ways which he had not, could not have conceived beforehand, but that insight gave him little solace now. His extensive life experience, rich and varied far beyond the norm, yielded in this instance no commiserate wisdom. And his best tool, his brilliant mind crammed so full of knowledge, was useless against this onslaught.
Unaware of what he was doing his hands tightened on the arms of the chair, his long fingers gripping, the tips digging in. There had to be a reason, an explanation, there had to be. In his long experience, there always was.
Inside the tree fort, the older boy moved the jar before his brother’s face, breaking into his field of vision. He held the vessel by its hole-poked lid, leaving an unobstructed view of the large insect inside. It crawled, its six legs slipping, with a deliberate but awkward pace about the contained circumference of the pickle jar.
For the first time the younger boy became engaged. He first intently peered at the bug behind the glass and then about at the other boys, as any normal kid might do, to see if they shared his sense of awe. They did, but for a different reason.
“Can you do it?” his brother whispered. “Can you do it now? Can you call the angel here, now?”
“Oh, sure,” the smaller boy answered him. He also whispered, and adding a nod of his head he followed with, “It’s easy to do it now. It gets easier every time.”
“He says yes,” his big brother announced in a louder voice, to everyone. This anticipated news was well received by all those present. Each of them loved to see it.
The older boy adjusted his grip to palm the jar proper, while he used his other hand to remove the lid. His sibling uncurled from the ancient tree trunk and extended both of his hands outward. He interlocked his fingers above the open rim.
The brother holding the pickle jar next shook it with a slight but firm flick of his wrist. The large bumblebee inside stopped its ponderous routine at this abrupt interruption. After a few seconds it tested its wings with a buzz, then took flight and in slow circles rose into the younger boy’s caged fingers.
The elder brother then leaned back and removed the now empty jar. He waited, as all the anticipating boys did, with gripped attention. He also loved to watch this show.
The insect, now buzzing in earnest, bounced about inside his kid brother’s palms, investigating the new area created therein. The bumblebee was easily visible to everyone through the gaps in his fingers but most of the youngsters adjusted their stance some, so as not to miss anything. It would not be long now, they all knew.
In the house the old man’s daughter was restless, her magazine doing little to distract her from her current demeanor. Tossing it to the side table, she saw a framed picture there of her parents in an earlier age, and realized once more how much she missed her mother. They had been very close, but more so her mother had always handled her father as no one else had been able to do.
Her now absent parent had been the strongest person that she’d ever known. The woman had been unshakeable. Nothing had ever taken command of her destiny, despite the tempestuous nature of the life that she and her husband had long shared together.
Against all odds the intrepid pair had never been defeated, but now that her mother was gone, it seemed as if her beloved but tormented father was slipping away, also.
So it was he that she feared for most now, not her sons. No, she knew the boys would make their way despite the difficulties. The brothers had a suitable trust fund in place, and future contingencies had been planned for.
True, her younger child proved more problematic, but she knew that both of them would cope in their own way in the long run. The woman was not so sure of the old man on the porch. She had never known him to be so bitter, so hateful of life.
Nothing in the past had ever affected her parent in such a devastating and relentless way. It was not like him. He was lost in his misery, but she was at a loss as well, in terms of helping him alleviate his now endless suffering.
Yet she was the one who had to be strong now, not only for her boys’ sake but also for her father’s. She had to be, for there was no one else left to care. Once more she yearned for her mother, the firmest friend that she’d ever known.
Within the tree fort the anticipation was palpable. All eyes were glued on the young boy. His arms were held aloft, his concentration still focused within his fingers that contained the slowly hovering, buzzing bumblebee.
Suddenly but almost imperceptibly at first, the scene began to change. The atmosphere about the boy’s hands became distorted and the visual detail there was lost, replaced by an ever-growing brilliance that slowly permeated outward. The temperature within the tree’s limbs dropped a good ten degrees.
Every hair on every boy’s neck now stood to attention as they watched, and all of them, as if each rehearsed to do so, held their collective breath at the unfolding spectacle.
As the distortion grew to encompass the youngster, the sound began. It was a shrill, sharp note that increased in volume until it approached a near painful level. Then, with a pop the relentless tone ceased and the distortion became complete, enveloping what had been the boy but what was now only a blur of sharpened radiance in the area of where he once was.
The new image then started to form. Faint at first, it quickly drew richer in detail as the seconds passed by. The angel emerged just where the boy had been, shimmering with slow motions within the ever-undulating distortion.
The figure’s lips were moving but no words were projected, and none heard. It looked about in a distracted sort of way, as if it were searching for someone or something, all while the muted mouth opened and closed. The angel’s dark hair, thick and unruly, radiated with light as his large head slowly articulated.
The image, now floating in space, was striking to see, but imprecise. The fluttering likeness resembled the reflection that would occur within the ripples of a wake-filled pond. Yet it appeared backlit, starkly framed within the glimmering brilliance.
It was this illumination that the old man on the back porch first noticed. Out of the corner of his eye it pulled him from his absorption, his defeated musings. He leaned forward in his chair, all of his concentration now engaged by the piercing light filtering through the inner depths of the massive magnolia.
The leaves of the giant tree were in motion he noted, moving in a slight, erratic pattern even though the wind was not blowing. The juxtaposition was eerie and seemed out of place. The twitching foliage danced in perfect syncopation to the droning beat set by the oscillating fan still purring behind him.
Without his knowing why, his heart began to race. Responding to the adrenaline already flooding through his body, the hair on the back of his neck shot up. Yet his attention, now riveted was in fact slowed, his focus piercing, honing in.
Then the realization struck him.
His daughter was still in the next room when she heard his anguished cry, guttural and stilted. It scared her. She thought that he was having some sort of an attack, perhaps his heart, she feared.
He was standing when she reached the threshold, still looking toward the tree. His face, handsome even given his advanced age, was taut. He turned to look at her as she leaned against the doorjamb, a horrified mask now framing her own features.
“No,” he said in reassurance, “I’m alright.”
This accomplished nothing, for she was still upset. But as she glared at him searching for an explanation, she observed a change in his demeanor. He became calmer, his aspect relaxed.
Then he did something, something that he had not done in ages. In hindsight, she had thought she that she would never see him do it again. Her father smiled at her.
“Everything’s going to be fine,” he said.
“What do you mean?” she asked him, incredulous.
He turned his head, once more glancing at the tree. The strange light within it had faded away, and its large leaves were again unmoving. It all made perfect sense to him now, it all fit into place.
“I understand,” he answered. He crossed his long arms, at last satisfied. Then he added, “I know what’s happening."
Epic Fable Fans,
Well, this was interesting:
I'm reissuing my books and eBooks with revised website info, so I Googled myself in order to compare any 'before and after' effect in the list of links, and this image came up.
It's quite the departure from the last time I checked when there was just one picture of me above the listed links (the one I used on all of my books) and I was unaware of how many pictures of me in this Timeframe now exist within the public domain.
It's apparent I need to keep a closer look for if many more creep up, to be safe I'll have to redeploy into another Current Reality, something that I have occasionally been forced to do as explained in all the books.
Ha, now I guess it's just a matter of Time...
I'm posting this for my good friend, English author Eloise De Sousa, who is very interested in getting children to read, as am I.
Her adult books are great also, so please help her in our combined quest.
For some reason the book marker didn't load but you can get one by following the included link, thanks:
Blast Off with Space Dust - Day Four
We have landed in a time and place where tales of the Elastic Limit would entertain and inform the likes of Little One to no end. With Big Ox steering us clear of any dangers, what might we see whilst we visit this amazing place?
Though Space Dust can’t merit itself with the title of epic fable, the nature of this story encompasses the compassion of human nature and how we, as adults, can assist and teach the young how to overcome adversity with that empathy. If Big Ox started out with the intention of being an adult presence for Little One without any thought given to Little One’s dilemma of missing Mum, the day would have been stretched out in agony and poor Little One would never have enjoyed an adventure out in space. In fact, there would be no story to tell without Big Ox steering us in the right direction.
Forever searching for Mum, our little friend takes comfort in the companionship and kindness demonstrated in Big Ox’s patience. Their adventure through space reaps the reward of adventure, education, fun and overcoming the pain of separation.
And now, as a reward for your continuity through time and space with our little adventure, how about a freebie? We all need to mark our place in this world, whether it is in what we do, or where we mark our reading page in a book. So, to help that along, here is a downloadable copy of a book marker with Big Ox and Little One in their special canoe.
Thank you for stopping by and finding out a bit more about this special story crafted for the local libraries to support their Summer Reading Challenge. Please click on the link below if you haven’t already ordered your copy of Space Dust.
Click here to order your copy of Space Dust.
Do send in your pics and reviews of the book, or any of the others. I’d love to share them with the rest of the readers.
If you would like to find out more about my books or about me, please click on any of the links below:
Thank you for joining me. Tomorrow, we will be visiting Trent’s Worldwhere a smile is always included in his week. See you there!
Visit my author page at http://eloiseds.com
Follow my blog at http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com
I write EPIC FABLES and have covered that term in a past blog dealing with Literary Jargon (https://www.howardloring.com/blog/literary-jargon-defines-the-epic-fable).
Today’s endeavor concerns yet another unique term, the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, encompassed in all of my Time Travel books and used in each of their titles.
For my purposes, the phrase ELASTIC LIMIT is also jargon, for it has a specific, technical meaning pertinent to the theory that I employ in all of my EPIC FABLES.
These EPIC FABLES explain that in order to successfully Time Travel, one must first understand the true Nature of Time, so that it may be manipulated to permit the phenomenon mostly, but not always, by employing hardware designed for the purpose, all of which is fully covered in each of the books.
My interpretation of the true Nature of Time has also been discussed in a past blog, found here: https://www.howardloring.com/blog/the-true-nature-of-time.
Both this theory and the hardware involved are therefore encapsulated within the set jargon of the ELASTIC LIMIT, but the term as I use it has another, broader meaning, given the phrase is also a Metaphor for the Human Imagination.
Utilizing this interpretation, the novel BEYOND the ELASTIC LIMIT, could also be named BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION.
As well, the novel PIERCING the ELASTIC LIMIT could be entitled BLOWING YOUR IMAGINATION AWAY, while TALES of the ELASTIC LIMIT, holding twelve Time Traveling short stories, could be interpreted as FEEDING YOUR IMAGINATION.
As an aside, the image attached to this blog is a wall painting that I created in a Past Reality, one that depicts the exact moment the elusive ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME is breached, and the small red object above my arm is the Containment Room, an integral part of the machinery involved, which is fully explained in the books.
My EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME utilize MYTH, the set rules of storytelling, and mostly I adhere to the system described at length by the late Joseph Campbell, who gleaned his basic points from various sources that came before him.
According to the predominant theory, MYTH as a literary tool is all-powerful because it’s an unconscious connection, or can be, that is.
Given this hidden aspect, MYTH moves one in unseen ways and this fact is most satisfying in literature, for it can be exploited to astonishing effect, slapping you in the face as it were, or coming from left field, especially if you play the established formula counter to form, which is what I do in all of my TIME TRAVELING books.
The conventional rules of MYTH are now well recognized but no egghead in some Ivory Tower dictated them, rather they were slowly honed through vast durations of TIME spent crafting the Art of Lore.
After all, spoken language predates written by some five millennia and that massive span of centuries engendered more than enough repetition and trial and error to fully perceive what techniques are most efficient in terms of gripping and engaging, effective storytelling.
That’s why when written language did emerge the rules were already set, and Homer, for example (who in reality may have been several different people), is preeminent not because he invented the craft of storytelling, but because he had learned these time tested lessons well and employed them very early on to great effect, at least in Western Literature.
Indeed, all good storytellers use MYTH whether they realize it or not, for if it’s an alluring tale the MYTH is always present, and that's why it can affect you as it does, in ways that you may not understand nor be comfortable with, etc.
Ever experienced a movie, play or TV show with great production values, suitable acting and direction yet the effort was just not satisfying, for you felt it was somehow lacking?
Chances are the MYTH therein was ill used, perhaps the stereotypes mismatched or not resolved properly, and often the numbers involved are off, a huge but basic mistake.
Numbers are VERY important in MYTH, again an unconscious commodity that can be manipulated ad infinitum, and as a literary device is only self-limited for an author.
I’ll discuss what I call the ‘magic numbers’ of MYTH at length in a later discourse, but for now I’ll stick to the fundamentals:
MYTH, being unconscious relates the back-story, and this practice relieves the author from the burden of doing so, which tends, I believe, to bog things down, or can, at least.
In my opinion, as a writer you can’t flow if you’re stuck in minutia, and given I construct TIME TRAVELING page-turning adventures, I prefer instead to engage the awesome power inherent in MYTH, thus alleviating this normally abundant technical problem altogether.
As well, MYTH is universal and so can be applied universally:
Everyone has been unlucky in love, hated the job or felt to be at the end of their rope, but most have also had hope, joy at times and occasionally at least, a sense of purpose or duty; these are basic human situations innately understood by all.
To actuate the formula, there are many set ‘types’ in MYTH, prototypes or so-called archetypes, stereotypical figures that everyone can easily recognize, and so their basic motivations are already comprehensively established by the nature of who they are.
These can be such universally recognizable characters as the hero or villain, the innocent victim, the wise one who helps (and this could just be knowledge or magic gleaned along the way), the comic or trickster, the sidekick or warrior, etc.
Likewise, to be effective as Literature, any unfolding action (the quest or journey, overcoming some obstacle, any comedy or tragedy involved) must also follow the set dictates of MYTH, and again I’ll deal with these various aspects on another occasion.
The point is that successfully engaging MYTH inherently enhances the plot instead of impeding it, ensuring an appealing and satisfying tale, and this enriching protocol is always generously applied to all of my EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME.
Literature has jargon, the specialized language of any Discipline.
Therefore Literature, as a Discipline, holds its own terminology:
A Fable is a simple story with a moral, or a moral lesson.
An Epic is a bigger story with a greater point.
My Epic Fables on the ELASTIC LIMIT OF TIME are both.
A Short Story is just that, a contained episode, while a Novel has a deeper plot plus character development.
Conversely, in an Epic the plot itself is secondary, and the real storyline is how the characters themselves change, for it's not what they do exactly, but who they become as a result of what they do that’s the paramount point of the endeavor, jargon wise, at least.
The circumstances depicted may be different, but in any Epic, the situation itself is always transferable, and so always recognizable.
And Epics by definition do relate such universal, human transformations, for every reader, no matter who they are can successfully relate to them, and ever in ways that will be easily understood.
Given we all experience these same conditions it's inevitable, humanity wise, and always has been.
After all, everyone has felt distress, has lost at love, faced daunting obstacles or held the onerous view that they were defeated and looking at the proverbial end of the rope.
Equally, almost everyone has been happy, felt joy, experienced love, had no qualms of the future or sadness in the present.
As such, in my Time Traveling books, I find no need to overly describe such personal circumstance when everyone is aware of them already, by virtue of an inner, empathic connection.
So, my EPIC FABLES are simply written, but soon unfold to explore and encompass these larger complex issues.
And speaking more jargon, all of my Epic Fables are also Redemptive Tales, dealing with basic philosophical concepts such as truth and justice, good and evil, “Might makes Right vs. Right makes Might” or if a bad thing can ever be used for a good purpose.
As in any Epic Mythology, flawed characters are forced to evolve as a result of their quests, gleaning insight into these universal human constructs to which everyone can relate.
Each must grapple with difficult personal choices, and hard decisions forced by dire circumstances always yield unforeseen consequences, challenges that must be met and overcome, and all contained within a page-turning adventure often utilizing true history.
Yet, as in any Fable, the narrative style is simplistic, with the action being layered with fast-paced sequences often presented through flashbacks and proceeding from different points of view.
But in the end, each major character learns a moral lesson, and develops a personal morality, again universal conditions which are explored through a simply written narrative.
And still more Literary Jargon:
The novel, BEYOND THE ELASTIC LIMIT: AN EPIC FABLE employs classically defined Myth, a story dealing with real or imagined ancient gods who hold dominion over human activities.
Also employing Myth, the novel, PIERCING THE ELASTIC LIMIT: AN EPIC FABLE can also be defined more properly as Folklore, fiction based on real characters, as well as Legend, traditionally considered stylized portrayals of actual historic events.
TALES OF THE ELASTIC LIMIT: EPIC FABLES contains twelve Short Stories, again employing Myth, Folklore and Legend.
These Time Traveling books can be read in any order, all being stand-alone Historical Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Detective Tale, Saga and Love Story, yet all of them relate and explain the others, therefore the reading sequence chosen determines the order in which the hidden backstory connections are revealed.
Of course, despite any jargon employed, the ultimate proof of good storytelling always rests in the believability of the final product, and whether the attempt is an enjoyable experience as opposed to a heavily laden, burdensome narrative requiring firm effort to complete.
So, as both Epics and Fables, my Time Traveling yarns on the ELASTIC LIMIT are by nature easy reading, and cover interesting and eclectic subject matter unique to the established genre specifically, as well as Literature generally.
At least Jargon wise, that is.
TIME TRAVEL involves History, it can’t be avoided; sometimes it’s concocted in order to fit the story line, but I take a different approach.
My EPIC FABLES on the ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, two Novels and a compilation of Short Stories, employ true HISTORY placed within an authentic context, and the situations described therein are all accurately portrayed.
The best response I've gotten from using this protocol are from those who don't, as a rule read HISTORY, and are thereby un-expectantly pleased by this aspect, which after all, is only secondary to the overall TIME TRAVELING plot.
Here’s a partial list of Historically known figures and documented events I've covered, with the appropriate book title (BEYOND the ELASTIC LIMIT, PIERCING the ELASTIC LIMIT or TALES of the ELASTIC LIMIT) capitalized:
Neolithic (Ancient Humans):
BEYOND, chapters 1, 3;
TALES, Part Three (chapters 9, 10, 11, 12)
Early Human Society Forms:
BEYOND, chapter 1, 2, 4, 5;
TALES chapters 10, 11, 12
Religious Belief Codified:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5, 10;
PIERCING, chapter 5
Rise of Agriculture:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5;
TALES, chapter 11
BEYOND, chapters 2, 5;
TALES, chapters 9, 10, 11
Discovery of the Wheel:
TALES, chapter 10
Written Language Begins:
TALES, chapter 9
Language as Symbols:
PIERCING Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6);
TALES, chapters 6, 9
Archimedes of Syracuse (Higher Mathematics, Scientifically Applied Warfare):
TALES, chapter 8
Julius Caesar vs. Pompey the Great (Rise of Empires):
PIERCING, Part One (chapters 1, 2, 3)
Henry VIII (Age of Modern Sailing Ships, Onset of Science):
TALES, chapter 7
Politics of Elizabethan England:
PIERCING, Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6)
Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare (Classical Literature Established for the Masses):
PIERCING, Part Two (chapters 4, 5, 6)
Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn & others (Classical Music Rises to the Fore):
PIERCING, Part Three (chapters 7, 8, 9)
Thomas Jefferson (Age of Fossils, Modern Higher Education Established):
TALES, chapter 6
Albert Einstein (Science Accepted as an Established Discipline):
TALES, chapter 5
History of Commerce:
BEYOND, chapters 2, 4;
TALES, chapter 9, 11
EXPLORING HUMAN CONCEPTS:
Good and Evil:
Business Run Amuck:
Evolving Human Society:
TALES, Parts Two and Three (chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
TIME TRAVEL EXPLAINED:
Theory and Hardware Needed:
BEYOND, chapters 7, 8, 9;
PIERCING, chapters 9, 10, 11, 12;
TALES, chapters 2, 3, 4
TALES, chapter 2
Loops in Time:
BEYOND, chapters 10, 11, 12;
PIERCING, Part One (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4);
TALES, chapter 2
BEYOND, all chapters;
PIERCING, chapter 12;
TALES, chapters 2, 3
As a writer of TIME TRAVEL books, I employ my own, unique definition of the NATURE of TIME, one neatly couched within the parameters of what I term the ELASTIC LIMIT.
The genre of TIME TRAVEL clearly involves two separate aspects, language and usage (plainly understood terminology as opposed to skill in employing such) but beyond these components, for a basic starting point of any lucid discussion on the subject, TIME as a concept must first be defined, for doing so makes or breaks any story’s scenario and therefore its credibility.
While few think they can fully understand the minutia of TIME itself, given personal experience of TIME passing, most people do believe that they know more or less what it involves.
Yet the FOURTH DIMENSION is never one set, fixed phenomena that acts in a standard fashion, and that’s where the common confusion resides, at least in reference to the aforementioned items, that is.
For historically, the flow of TIME has been understood as existing in two distinct ways not just one, and as each example acts very differently, most problems involving TIME TRAVELING plots stem from trying to mesh these two conflicting points of view, or not being aware of any distinction between them in the first place.
I’ll adhere to this standard interpretation, simplistic but telling:
Is TIME a Loaf of Bread, or is it a River?
Or, instead of River insert Hallway with multiple doors, or a Roadmap holding many connecting routes.
So, does TIME ‘flow’ in a point to point sequence, one PRESENT after another PRESENT and so on, as the recurring pieces of sliced bread in a loaf,
Does TIME act more like a River, where any current taken then becomes the PRESENT and so leads to various other possible pathways, with unending potential PRESENT choices up for grabs depending only on the several directions you could take?
Once the NATURE of TIME is defined using this simple distinction, the listed concerns then become moot, for any apparent theoretical conflicts are no longer in play, or at least they can be explained in a rational way that enhances the plot as opposed to using plots that under scrutiny fail to pass the test of credibility.
As such, any good TIME TRAVELING story can be filtered through this lens, and the lesser examples can be as well, with the differences thereby becoming apparent and understandable, as opposed to just being confusing, or simply boring.
But using either of these two standard definitions always has inherent disadvantages, leading to pesky things like PARADOX or unworkable theory or hardware, so I take another approach to avoid such pitfalls inherent to the genre:
TIME is a Bundt Cake, circular in NATURE.
Or rather, it’s much like an unending Corkscrew, still possessing a liner flow and direction, but no longer within a single, set dimension.
As well, according to my Theory, a moment in TIME is not static but in constant, erratic flux, always expanding and contracting within an exact threshold known as the ELASTIC LIMIT, and this fact coupled with the Circular Nature of TIME permits TIME TRAVEL, given your Hardware is up and properly running.
In my books, all EPIC FABLES on the elusive ELASTIC LIMIT of TIME, many other things are of course covered, which I’ll expand on in future posts, but these different NATURE of TIME distinctions are always taken into account, and so they aren’t a distraction to the overall narrative as experienced in so many books involving this most interesting subject.
The man, the mystery, the time traveler, and epic fable author