I've invited someone quite special to step in today as my guest, and the invitation was graciously accepted. I think you're all going to be tickled pink.
Suffice to say, you all know by now what a Fan Girl I tend to be. I have said many times that writers are my rock stars. That's not to say I wouldn't squeal like an 18 year old if I were to meet some of my rock star idols. While that hasn't happened (yet! I'm still hoping for a ride on Willie Nelson's bus), I have been lucky enough to meet many of my literary idols.
I have been a fan of Phillip DePoy's work for a very long time.
And when I read that he was going to be attending Malice, I was over the moon.
When I introduced myself to him, I was happy as a pig in mud when he was every bit as charming as I had hoped. He did not cover his ears when I squealed, and was a perfect gentleman while I fawned over him. He's a total delight!
Then serendipity stepped in (don't you adore serendipity!?) and brought him to Boone for the second annual High Country Festival of the Book and I was able to spend a little time with him. Not nearly as much as I would have liked. Phillip DePoy is a fascinating man. I could sit and listen to him tell stories forever.
I've pulled some of the interesting stuff off his webpage ( http://www.phillipdepoy.com/index.htm ), but he's leaving out a lot, believe me!
Phillip DePoy began his professional career in 1965 with the Actors and Writers Workshop. He achieved a masters degree in performance art before becoming a writer in residence for the Georgia Council for the Arts and a nationally reviewed performance artist. In the 1980s he became the composer in residence for the Academy Theatre and in the 1990s he was the Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit when it was first reviewed internationally. (Beowulf, which he directed, received review in London’s Plays and Players.) Beginning in the early 2000s he created the theatre major program for Clayton State University and became its first director.
DePoy is the author of the Flap Tucker mysteries (Shamus finalist) and the Fever Devilin novels, as well as thirty-seven produced plays. He has written plays and music for performance venues throughout the United States. He is a recipient of the Edgar Award, given in 2002 for the best mystery play in the nation.MURDER'S HARP is the title of the upcoming Fever Devilin novel, but in the meantime, you can read a cool new Fever Devilin short story in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. A bullet riddled mandolin and a terrifying family secret combine to threaten Fever's sanity, and his life in The Deadman's Daughter.
His most recent published work includes, DECEMBER'S THORN, the seventh in the Fever Devilin series, this one takes on the Tristan/Isolde mythology.
and non-fiction, THE TAO AND THE BARD, a conversation between Shakespeare and Lao Tzu in their own words.
and now, here he is -
ta, DA - take it away, Phillip . . .
I found the following screed crumpled in a coat pocket of the dead man claiming to be Dr. Bishop. It was scrawled wildly, almost unreadable. At first alarming, I eventually found it to be a sincere statement of Bishop’s philosophy at the time he died. He was, of course, insane. But he wasn’t wrong.
DREAMING IN PUBLIC
Why Mythology is Important Now
Making the word myth synonymous with the word false is the most dangerous irony of the current age. Mythology is, in fact, the deepest truth of humankind. The irony is dangerous because human beings are taking an increasingly accelerated path toward self destruction. Technologies, and the economics of the technological world, leech our humanity while distracting us from the process of being bled to death.
Superficial mechanical communication, gossip masquerading as news, lies proffered as information, and the pornography of advertising occupy the majority of human thought. The eventual end of this process is the total surrender of everything that makes us human, and that makes us real.
Mythology is our species’ greatest mooring. In its stories, songs, explanations, symbols, and spiritual lessons, we learn, and remember, who we are.
D. H. Lawrence believed myth to be “an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep for mental explanation or description.”
According to Joseph Campbell, arguably the Twentieth Century’s greatest exponent of the power of myth, “ Mythology is the womb of mankind’s initiation to life and death.”
Before him, Carl Jung traced “the origin of dreams back to age-old mythological influences.” Campbell’s response to this link between myth and the unconscious was unequivocal. “Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”
This concept of relating mythology to the common pool of human dreaming is a generally accepted explanation for why all human cultures from all times and places have nearly identical mythologies. Every civilization has a creation myth, a flood myth, a savior myth, a hero myth, as well as an array of similar supernatural creatures and often identical explanations for natural phenomena.
Jung also provides, in this regard, the answer to Claude Lévi-Strauss’s conundrum. “On the one hand it would seem that in the course of a myth anything is likely to happen. But on the other hand, this apparent arbitrariness is belied by the astounding similarity between myths collected in widely different regions. How are we to explain the fact that myths throughout the world are so similar?”
Joseph Campbell, in The Mythic Image, offers an astonishing mathematical example of this concept. In India the number of years commonly called an kalpa (or eon) is 4,320,000. In the Icelandic interpretation of Odin’s warrior hall there are 540 doors through which 800 warriors will pass at the ending of the final days, and 800 times 540 equals 432,000. Finally, Mesopotamian belief reports that the time between the crowning of the first earthly king and the coming of the great flood was exactly 432,000 years. Campbell points out the obvious: it is unlikely that such an exact figure would occur simultatneously in India, Iceland, and Babylon. He believes that a Jungian explanation is the only answer.
Myths all over the world are similar, in short, because they come from our shared beliefs, collective dreams, and unconscious observations of reality. If we lose these connections, we lose ourselves. If we are continually distracted from our deepest selves, our truest past, we will eventually forget who and what we are, and cease to be human.
So, in an effort to prevent that from happening, let me tell you a story.
After that, all the rest of the pages, a hundred or more, were blank.
Dr. Fever Devilin
as published in
THE JOURNAL OF JUNGIAN FOLKLORE Vol. 176