Friday, February 11, 2011


There are some stories that are, for me, the equivalent of the errant grain of sand in an oyster. They sit, tucked away, under my skin, waiting for my words to form layers around them. Or perhaps they are ghosts, haunting me, and haunting my work, showing up in the strange and shadowed corners.

King Arthur. Tam Lin. Orpheus and Eurydice.

I don't just write about these things, I collect versions of them. Any retelling I can get my hands on, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Last night, I listened to Anais Mitchell's Hadestown. This definitely falls into the category of the sublime. It is described on Mitchell's site as "a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth set in a post-apocalyptic American depression," and honestly, the description made me a little leery - I do not like my fantasy in depressed or post-apocalyptic settings, and I tend to prefer my mythos as something other than American. But once I started listening, all thoughts of why this might not be my sort of thing disappeared, because the way the story is told here is amazing.

The music is gorgeous, and the lyrics smart, and Hadestown possesses what I feel is the best quality in a retelling - the ability to reflect new facets of the original story. I highly recommend it.

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