Today I’m writing a bit about the process of parent and child separation, especially in the presence of strong bonds. Here are some random memories that served as road signs in the writing of Secrets of the Flame: The Power to Protect.
BTW, Secrets of the Flame is a parable of bonding with an other, in this case a dragon raised by a pig, with all that entails, and then the letting-go as a child grows into independence.
Memory: Years ago I read a passage from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth.
In India, a guru might ask a mother to give him something precious, maybe a jewel, as practice in releasing her child when the time came.
Did I make that up??? I looked.
Yep. That’s what I thought he said.
Bird walk: This is what I think I understand about memories. They’re not very reliable—especially over the passage of time and with hearing other people’s experience of the same event. A spider on your leg is much larger than that same spider in its web (unless you run into the web). This is to warn you that the snippets below are my memories only.
Memory: John Sanford referred to a culture where a boy, at age twelve, dumped a bucket of water on his mother’s head and moved to the men’s house. Sanford told us it’s better than the way we separate in our culture.
Memory: The witch, who kept Rapunzel in the tower in “Into the Woods,” asked why her love isn’t enough for Rapunzel. She sings, “The child you love only grows into the child you lose.”
Think back to telling the story you want to hear. Confession: I wanted an “and they lived* happily ever after—together” ending to my story.
I couldn’t have the ending I wanted. Joseph Campbell said so. John Sanford, Steven Sondheim, and the dragon agreed. Watch the movie Boyhood if you don’t believe us.
I would have to let my character live his own life. “We’ll always be together” wasn’t realistic. Neither was any sort of “ever after.”
The story arc for Gwendolyn was going to be something of a map for myself.
And isn’t an ending just another new beginning?
*Did you catch the * up there?
When I proofed my phrase “ . . . ‘they lived* happily ever after,” I had actually typed “they lied happily ever after.”
Simple typo or the unconscious bubbling to the top? You decide.
P.S. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (copyright 1988) is extraordinary. Since I didn’t find my story until page 257, I had the opportunity to reread the whole book. It’s a necklace of treasured jewels collected by the guru Campbell.