Today I interview Martin Shaw
. In Shaw’s new book, Courting the Wild Twin
(Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020), he writes, “Here’s a secret I don’t share very often. Myths are not only to do with a long time ago. They have a promiscuous, curious, weirdly up-to-date quality. They can’t help but grapple their way into what happened on the way to work this morning, that video that appalled you on YouTube. Well, they are meant to; if they didn’t they would have been forgotten centuries ago.”
In our interview, Shaw invites us to consider the power of myth to guide us not only toward new ways of seeing our current moment—one in which we’re witnessing an unprecedented global pandemic—but also new ways of seeing itself. For Shaw, a mythologist who’s designed courses at Stanford University and who directs the Westcountry School of Myth in the U.K, myths reveal unseen possibilities in our own lives and overlooked chances to reunite with our natural world. The old stories can lead us forward if only we learn how to hear them. Shaw shows us what it might mean to listen deeply and profoundly, with our minds, yes, but also with our souls, our spirits, our very bones.
Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. His work ranges from food writing to electronic literature. He is the author of three books, most recently
In Praise of Nothing: Essay, Memoir, and Experiments (Emergency Press, 2014). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.