Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's not Friday the 13th, but it is Jason!

Since Friday the 13th first 'graced' the silver sceen in 1980, the name Jason has been synonymous with ice hockey masks and slasher movies, but before that, there was another Jason. This Jason was joined, according to Padraic Colums's book, The Story of the Golden Fleece, by heroes who themselves were the seed of the gods, or at least demi-gods. It's been a while since I read or studied the book, but a side project I am working on had me pick it up. This truly impressive telling ties in stories of Theseus, Daedalus, Atalanta, Hercules (Heracles), Perseus, Demeter  and Persephone. Although originally geared toward young eyes and minds, it reads incredibly well and the language, now, might be better suited to middle school and up. Still, dig up a copy and read it. Call it a late beach read!

Photo by Simon Brooks (C) 2014
This side project began about 2 or 3 years ago when I was asked to tell some Greek myths.  I will be leaving the Odyssey and Odysseus alone, as there are many others who do that already, and do it really well. I will be sticking to the stories that come before Troy.  Although not a huge fan of the Greek tales due the amount of abuse and mis-use of females in the stories and Zeus just going when and where he wanted and the constant lying to Hera and her savage revenge against the innocent, I found some tales to be really good. And Daedalus was one of them. Because I have not really looked much at Greek myths since school, I was reminded of so much and rediscovered for myself the intricacies of these stories. Daedalus helped Theseus through Ariadne, Theseus meet Demeter on his travels to find his father, Demeter's daughter was picking the Narcissus flower when she was taken to the Underworld. Theseus' father knew Medea who sailed with Jason, but then so did Theseus, okay, it's getting confusing! But it popped the thought in my head that I should work on these stories and record them.

So I did. I wrote the story of Daedalus, and later Theseus, well part of it, and the story of Persephone and performed those. I recorded the story of Daedalus a few weeks ago and it sounds good! I worked on and told the story of Midus. These stories have been told with all the meat on them, or have been watered down for younger ears. But these stories can be told to all ages. Sure, you might not want to mention that Poseidon was so angry with Minos that he got the king's wife drunk and had Hera cause her to have intercourse with the White Bull which the sea god had given Minos to sacrifice- hence their son the Minotaur! (This is one of the moments where the women are mistreated. Why not have Minos give birth to his Minotaur son? His wife had nothing to do with it as far as I can tell.) I researched and wroteup the story of King Midus and performed it. It is a funny story, although the ending a bit grim and disgusting (but can be used as a warning against the consumption of alcohol)! Midos is an idiot! Researching has been a blast. Discovering new parts to the stories is so exciting. Reading Ovid and learning the full story of Alcyone was a treat after seeing it told in a paragraph or two in so many places. And you find that Ceyx knew Theseus. (That Theseus gets around!) One of my other favourite tales is that of Perseus. The ending when he returns home and his old dog dies, and he saves his mother is just wonderful. Great stories with grit!

Apollo gives Midus his ears
So if, like me, you were not a huge fan of the Greek tales, take another look at them. Read the story of Jason or Perseus. Check out some of the other stories too. Or better yet, let me know if you want to hear the stories recorded! They are slowly coming together. My plan is to make a book and record all the stories in a way that all will want to hear.