The Stories That Stay With Us: The Sacred, Central Myths

sacred myths

I was flipping through some papers and articles I had saved, and I came across an article about the movie “Mirror, Mirror” that came out a few years ago. I had saved it because of a quote from the film’s director, Mike Nicholas.

“Very often when a story really holds us, it gets pushed away because it’s too close for comfort. Over and over, this story keeps getting told—older woman, younger guy. Who does that remind us of? And you tell the story, then it gets pushed away, then it comes back again in another form. You keep telling the same stories. I made Cinderella twice, with Working Girl and Annie.The sacred, the central myths are always going to hold us.”

This is fascinating to me, because I find myself revisiting the same themes over and over. In reading, I like to hear about big families–and the complications that come along with them. In my writing.I’m especially fond of the return of the proverbial small-town girl. I am thinking of two stories in particular that I have written that are different versions of the same tale. Neither of them are finished because I can’t make either of them work quite right–even though they are essentially the same thing.

Then there are writers like Nicholas Sparks and Mary Higgins Clark, who clearly have their own central myth. Some people can’t stand formula writers, but I have to say in the case of the two I just mentioned, I have to respect them. Sparks and Clark clearly have their audiences figured out.


What stories are your “sacred myths”? Do you like retelling of the same stories in your reading or writing or do you prefer varied themes?


One thought on “The Stories That Stay With Us: The Sacred, Central Myths

  1. That’s a great question! Teaching high school literature, I love it when students put together the same themes and stories from across genres and cultures. When I’ve taught World Lit, I’ve always taught a variety of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood stories and films– and what the plot means in different contexts. I think the comparisons and the complexity boiled down to human condition– it’s what makes writing, books, movies, essays…art. 🙂


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