When I was growing up, I was drawn to mythology. I would read everything I could get my hands on. I would lose myself in stories of heroes, magic and monsters, letting myself believe, just for a little while, that these stories were true.
Of all the tales of myth that I read as a child, my favourites were always those of Greek Mythology. From Heracles' Twelve Labours to the invincible Achilles or how Theseus slew the minotaur, these were some of the first truly larger than life heroes I read about. They were doing things you only saw in superhero movies or cartoons, and their stories were thousands of years old. From these I discovered film adaptations like Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, two of my favourite classic movies. Even if Medusa gave me nightmares...
I guess, especially as I grew older and most people my age grew out of such simple stories, I felt somehow vindicated in my continuing love for epic heroism and adventure. After all, if one of the earliest civilisations in the world shared these stories and loved them, why shouldn't I still be able to indulge in cartoons and comic books if I wanted?
Now, as a writer, I feel blessed to have been exposed to these stories from such a young age. I'm certain they have influenced my writing in terms of the kinds of stories I tell, and had a major impact on the kinds of books and movies I enjoy today. Yes, the heroic values of ancient myth were quite different from the traits we consider noble today, but all myths are a product of their time, always changing to reflect shifting attitudes. I think that's my favourite thing about myth. It's always about the audience. The story has to adapt, to become this organic thing that changes and evolves to better be accepted by modern audiences. I mean, what is a story that never gets heard?
Have old myths and fairy takes had an influence on you? Would you care to share any of your favourite stories?