Past, Present, and Future

Tonight my wife and I are going to see a university production of the Greek tragedy Hecuba, by Euripides.  For the past couple of days I’ve been reading legends from the Mythology and Ulster Cycles of Celtic history.  There is nothing remarkable about either of these things.  People read mythology all the time, and somewhere in the world someone is always going to one dramatic production or another.

And yet, while there is nothing out of the ordinary in what I’ve been doing, there is something truly stunning in what it says about the endurance of art and in particular the written word.  The Celtic myths of Lugh and Daghda are literally thousands of years old, as are the works of the Greek masters.  And yet they still speak to us.  They still fascinate and entertain.  They touch on elements of human emotion, conflict, and ambition that in many ways remain as relevant today as they were the day they first were told.

I know that this isn’t an earth-shattering insight.  Others have said as much before.  I’ve said as much before.  But it is one of the reasons I love to write, and one of the reasons my wife and I have tried to impart our love of books and theater to our children.  I’m not so vain as to think that people will be reading my books a thousand years from now.  But that’s okay.  I do believe that my stories are part of a long tradition of storytelling, one that stretches back in time to the origins of the earliest oral traditions, and, I hope, one that will reach deep into the future, far beyond the time when my stories and I have been forgotten.

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