If you’ve never heard of the site www.hitrecord.org, then I consider myself lucky to be granted a first opportunity at introducing you to it. The site was developed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an online community where artists of various types (musicians, writers, illustrators, dancers, anything under the sun) may come and post work for critique and reuse. The site has had several projects from their Tiny Book of Tiny Stories series to an entire television season that appeared on Pivot (with a second season in the making right now, I might add). It’s free to join, though I will caution that it is a business and any work you upload becomes jointly yours and theirs — in other words, read the fine print when you sign up and only add content you’re comfortable with sharing rights to.
I say all this to intro my first writing piece for this blog. One of the projects they are working on is a show dedicated to Fire and the development of a creation myth with fire as the central element. A friend of mine from the site put a post up with an idea that maybe the myth would be about fire meaning something different than just the physical element… something a bit more metaphysical in nature.
Last night, while driving at 3:30am, inspiration hit me and it was all I could do to stay on the road for an hour rather than pull off somewhere to write it down (if you’re a creative type, you know what kind of trial it can be to hold onto the slippery beast of inspiration). The text itself is fairly simple, but I think myths are often best when rendered in such language. I hope that you enjoy the concept as much as I did whether the writing is especially beautiful or not. Before I begin, I would like to remark that the extraordinary image above is representative of art you would find on hitrecord. Also, if you’d like to look at my original uploaded version of this piece on the main website feel free to look here and, if you’re inclined to join yourself, maybe even giving it a ‘heart’ and a comment. And, now, to the making of myths:
Deity and the Fire-Bristled Brush
*Were I a man living in another time, before I were in the position to have been exposed to the beliefs that I hold now, this may have been a conversation between myself and a fictitious child of my own…
Father, how was humankind made?
Long ago, before all the things that you see around you were common, the Maker was and, surrounding the Maker, nothing was. On all sides it was Void; shapeless; colorless; senseless. Or senseless it would have been to all, but the Maker. Like you, the Maker could see all the things that you now know to be common. Though then they were not there, but merely an idea of things that could be there. And would be there, as far as the Maker was concerned.
Possessed with crafts and cleverness beyond our scope, the Maker yielded a length of its own bone and shorn away the long locks of its own lustrous hair. Securing the mane to the haft of ivory by thongs made from those same fibers, the Maker had made the first thing we mortals know it to ever have made: the fiery-bristled brush which has sometimes been called by humanity ‘Creation’…
With it, the Maker scorched out stars in the Void, so white with heat that they still sizzle there today. The Maker cut out shadows from the Void and then, inspired by the diverse shapes, burned into existence the very objects and beings from which those shadows might have derived their shape. Once the fiery-bristled brush had hewn these things, its light was used to swath all present with colors, a myriad, some so intense that only the eyes of the divine can see them.
At last, the Maker saw the world as it had imagined it: a spectrum of creatures, infinite hues, a collection of life. And, yet, life was not yet there. Though trees and flowers swayed in the newborn breeze, clouds boasted their dominion of the sky, and mortalkind with beast both roamed the diverse terrains… there was not life. For all the things that the Maker had brought into existence had been made of the Void and, thus, composed of a vast and clinging emptiness.
The Maker called all of the fledgling creations to its side. The trees came, and the beasts, the women and men, everything. When all were gathered round the Maker, it sat down the fiery-bristled brush and ceded to creation that tool which is sometimes called Creation itself. The Maker bid that each present take a single bristle from the brush and add it to their being. Some creatures took little time in picking one of these and, having it in tow, returned to the world now able to shape things as they had once been shaped, if on a smaller scale. Others are more deliberating and, one-by-one, take a strand and return. To this day there are still creatures from the Maker’s original creation choosing what bristle they will claim and coming back with their elected strand to shape the world as well. This is how humankind was made and how it continues to be made, my child.
How do you know that, father? You were not there.
Oh, but I was, child, as were you. Though, even were I not, the bristle I picked from the brush was. And it is that strand which has fashioned with its own fire the words I have spoken to you. Be it blessed that the Maker made the bristle that has given this story to me for you to hear and know the truth of how we came to be. Praise the Maker that it was so wise as to know that it is the ability to create that is itself life…