arts & music

The Genesis of Myth (or: Creative Filler in the Absence of Substance)

by JoAnna — November 10, 2015

I apologize for not “getting real” this time around. Without warning, November descended upon us and because of it I scramble. Like many others I know, I caught fire, struggling to operate on less than six hours sleep and dealing with dozens of tasks in order to get things done. This means there is little time for anything else to enter the fray. So in lieu of a well-constructed rant or something deeply cerebral I offer up a post that is antiquated, yet creatively simple. Creative filler in the absence of substance, it’s a short story about endings and beginnings. A quick mediation involving song and hope and myth.


First there’s darkness, and then there’s light. That’s the genesis of myth.

With a wavering resolve, I place the last few granules of myrrh on top of the aromatic pile and then buckle down. I sink onto my mattress of spice. Threads of sleep wind around my limbs, there’s the sound of a whip being cracked, and then the sizzling begins. Every beginning sounds like eggs frying in a pan on medium heat. I pick up the faint smell of smoldering tinder underneath my breast, which prompts a few saline tears to slip down my burnished face.

I push out a ragged breath: phoooo, and discharge another, haaaaa. Both hover above the fragrant kindling like the way a heavy mist hugs the horizontal stretch of the plains. Each drag hovers, and floats. It lingers like a deep cave echo to communicate the following: It’s time. Yes, it’s time.

The roar of thunder reverberates in my ears moments before scarlet daggers prod my flesh and fringe burns at lightning speed. The heat of each blade moves through sallow skin. It hisses as it slides through flesh to melt everything it touches: First goes the down, then the skin, the muscle and, after that, it finds the bone. It is a burn that snuffs out all signs of life and leaves an all-consuming imprint, white hot, in its wake.

One that is suggestive of endings. Beginnings.

It is charcoal in its intent.


A few moments pass before embers writhe and churn until they converge to become solid masses. Parts of a body come into being. Atoms split and collide. The transformation is music to my ears because it is the sound of a revolution. I am evolving to the syncopated beat of a Persian love song, which is impressive since I started out as the void. The one residing in the heart of every zero: The nothing behind the null. From that infinitesimal point I move along the spectrum to gleam copper bright, and only when my crimson plumage is streaked with gold do I feel at ease.

I now believe in the process. This is proof of life.

I have become—no, scratch that, I am. I am fire, a ball of disjointed light. And as I flap my wings, pushing away scorched earth, the night shudders in response. It knows of my power, how something comes of nothing. The sleepy grey moon takes note of my ascent and slinks towards the horizon, making way for the flurry of ash that rains down from the sky. And my eyes turn bright, gilded. And a trail of fire marks my path. The burn that precedes every sleep is finally completed. The rise comes into existence as I travel upwards, as high as my wings will take me.

It is the direction in which a new journey will commence.


**Phoenix artwork by Angeliq.

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