“Mists of Avalon? Haven’t read it. My sister’s college roommate went insane when she read that book. Drew all the characters names and connections on the walls around her bed and never finished the semester.” I don’t remember who said this to me, but I have shelved the conversation with all the other memories of the book I credit with changing my life.
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s sweeping Arthurian epic with all its feminism and paganism and didactic wonder rewrote my relationship with religion. It the long process of questioning, abandoning, reconciling, and finally building my own mature relationship with the Catholicism of my childhood.
It was a big deal for me. But I didn’t flunk out of high school because I thought I was Morgaine.
And yet, I do get lost in stories. I know my addiction is stronger than most, but every person craves and creates stories. These days, it’s not just writers, but also psychological researchers, marketers, and neuroscientists who talk about how stories are at the core of our humanity.
Is it strange to rearrange one’s spiritual beliefs based on a book? It feels a little embarrassing to admit I’m so vulnerable to story.
Oh, wait, isn’t that exactly what all religions with a written tradition rely upon? Myths, legends, oral tradition captured on paper generations later that eventually become the backbone of an entire faith? I’m in good company (and some not so good company). It’s just part of being human.