Mythologize Yourself



The Legend: The sun hung like an ambered jewel betwixt the clouds as Prince Mitch hacked his way into the Dandelion Forest. Legion were those that stood against him, beyond counting the blades he faced. Yet all that affronted him he struck down, his own blade whirling. “Got you! Got you!” he shouted. And in response, the grateful peasants cried, “God bless ye, sir!'”

The Reality: I mowed yesterday. The self-propel function was broken, and the mower resisted my every step. Plus, I’d let the grass grow too long, so my allergies were out of control. I repeatedly sneezed, “Gachoo! Gachoo!” and the neighbors kept shouting, “God bless you!”

There’s some something to be said for mythologizing yourself. “When the legend becomes fact,” a newspaper editor advises in the classic western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “print the legend.” Why?

Because myths bring truth to the surface. 

My wife Trudy once worked for a private investigation firm. Because of her research skills, she was put on a case that required a year of mind-numbing data crunching. But in the end, they were able to expose a massive ponzi scheme: a multi-state string of fake dry cleaners run by a twenty-year-old flimflam man. When the story hit the headlines, it read like an edge-of-the-seat thriller. False report? Yes, the work had been ponderously slow. But in the end they’d routed out a sleazy little mole and rescued the life savings of thousands of people. Truth: My wife was a hero. A slow-motion hero, but a hero nevertheless.

My daughters’ childhood bedroom was a magic portal, a place where stories came to life. I can still see their eyes shining like lanterns as I told them improvised “Princess Amanda and Elizabeth” stories at bedtime (which later evolved into a fantasy novel The Wishing Map), and as their mother and I sang them to sleep. And when they played (we listened at the door), their room became a mysterious island, a flying ship, Dickensian London (our daughters were first class ragamuffins).

Was it truly a magical place? Yes and no. There were times my stories fell flat or the girls were cranky, or when they were restless and refused to stay in bed.

And yet today they are both gifted imagineers who share a deep beyond-birth bond founded in countless fanciful adventures. And when they talk about that time, their eyes still shine like lanterns. And so do their mother’s and mine.

Yes, we’ve mythologized it. And I have no shame in confessing this. Because the memory of that room, enlarged by willful mythologizing, has pulled a deeper truth to the surface: it was, in fact, a place where deep bonds of love and courage were forged.

So mythologize yourself. Embrace your personal legends, and you may just discover hope and strength to push on in discouraging times, or to burnish the good times. Yes, live the fact, but celebrate the legend. And when the legend becomes fact,

Print the legend.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Story Power, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Mythologize Yourself

  1. Shawn Rain Chapman says:

    I love it! I have often thought about those old mythological sounding hagiographies and how fun it would be to write one. Thanks for he inspiration, too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting. Not sure I could do that, but I do think I saw a sea monster in the dishwater the other day…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. HAT says:

    Mitch, this is one of the best explanations I’ve never heard yet of something that religious studies teachers and seminary professors are constantly trying to get across to students: myth is not the opposite of truth.
    Can I use this in my class some time?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Because myths bring truth to the surface”. ‘Got you, Prince of the Dandelion Forest! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. smzang says:

    This is perfect! I was having one of those days where nothing quite looked right
    when it hit the page. Your article gives me new energy. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. revruss1220 says:

    What a great reminder that myths have the power to communicate truth (capital “T”) even if they don’t always rely on facts. It is the way I talk about the Creation story in the Bible: its job is to communicate eternal truth, not necessarily scientific fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dewdropjoy says:

    Fabuous! Simply fabulous. I’m going to ponder this and put it into play with my five Blessings. And myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You give the truth scope sir. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I AM the Myth, Luke. You started me thinking and I appreciate your posts. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mitch, is that the same as when I would see my Aunt Wilma flying around on her broom when she got on her high horse? Of course, she was an elementary school teacher. I pitied her students.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Love it! I never thought of it as “mythologizing…” I simply exaggerate… it’s so much fun! And the stories told are, as you say, legendary! My Irish Grandfather called it the gift of blarney… Yup, I’ve got it. And that is no exaggeration. 😉 😀 Awesome post, Mitch!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved the humor, Mitch! But give yourself more credit. According to Scripture, believers ARE fighting (unseen) enemies – the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” If this is true (and I believe it is.), the “myth” is more real than the mundane perspectives we have of ourselves. I’m guessing if we could see what’s really going on for five minutes, it would drastically change our prayer lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. (Or maybe that’s what you meant by “bringing truth to the surface”?)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love this! The power of myth, always a shadow the True Myth, but truth nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. celia says:

    Ah, Mitch! This is great. There’s a movie in this one, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. gpavants says:


    Great stuff, brother. Turn stories into great new doors. Fiction really does do real life justice. It allows tough subjects to be understood and maybe taken to heart.

    Thank brother,


    Liked by 1 person

  17. JoAnna says:

    Delightful! I love the phrase, “gifted imagineers,” along with the whole idea of this. And the tree photo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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