Myths have inspired all kinds of ancient and modern works of art and literature. In this class, we will read ancient myths and take them as inspiration for our own creative works.
I (Marissa, your fearless guide) am a Ph.D. student in Classics at UC Berkeley. I study ancient Greek literature academically, but I also love to engage with it creatively. I’ve written songs inspired by ancient myths and poems, I’ve made halloween costumes based on ancient monsters, and I’ve designed fabrics that incorporate elements from ancient vase art.
The philosophy of this workshop is that being creative is good for you and that myths are a good way in to creativity. They are full of drama, action, and strange images. For me, they help me get out of my head, stop being so self-conscious, and just make something.
In this workshop, we will read and discuss three famous myths–Pandora, Persephone, and Sisyphus–and pair them with three creative units: fiction, poetry, and songwriting. For each unit, we will have one meeting to discuss the myth and talk about how to get started in the genre. Then you’ll have a prompt to work on for a week. At the following meeting, we will all present what we have created. You will also post your work on this website so that you can read, enjoy, and comment on each other’s work at your leisure.
The idea here is to practice creativity for fun. If you end up making something you like, wonderful! If not, that is okay too! It is good just to give yourself space to mess around and try new things. The more you mess around and try new things, the more likely you are to find forms of creativity you enjoy, and the more likely you are to end up making something cool.
What if I want to create in some other genre?
Absolutely go for it! The point of all this is to enjoy creativity. If you’re not feeling poetry right now, but you want to draw a picture, write a comic, choreograph a dance, or whatever your heart desires, you should follow your inspiration. The units and prompts are there to help you get started. If you already have an idea, don’t let them get in your way.
What if I don’t want to write about this myth?
Same story. If you get an idea that doesn’t strictly relate, that is a-okay. The prompts are a jumping-off point.
What if I don’t want to share or post my work?
Of course you won’t be compelled to, but if it’s because you don’t think it’s good enough, I will try to talk you out of it. It’s not about making something good! It’s about making something!