I'm so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for my friend (and amazing talent) SC Langgle! Her debut novel, ALICE IN EVERVILLE, is such a fun read that I know you're all gonna enjoy.
SC was kind enough to guest post on my blog today, telling you all about the mythical inspiration and the role of art in her novel. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end.
Take it away, SC!
The Myth of the Artist
Alice in Everville is, in many ways, a very modern book. It takes place almost entirely at a shopping mall, after all! However, the book’s theme of art as a way to cope with and understand life, and of destruction being a necessary part of creativity, was inspired by some very old myths, folktales, and fairy tales. So for this guest post, I thought it might be interesting to look a bit more closely at some of the tales and archetypes that helped me to create the writers, musicians, visual artists, and also the characters who appreciate/interpret art throughout Alice in Everville. First up is…
Stories from the Thousand and One Nights
The collection of poems featured in Alice in Everville, which I titled 24,024 Hours, was inspired by the 1001 Nights, a collection of folktales written in Arabic and drawn from centuries of Asian and North African folklore. What attracted me most was the frame story of Scheherazade, who has the misfortune of being married to a king who marries and executes a new bride every night. On her wedding night, Scheherazade tells the king a story but refuses to finish it till the next evening, thus forcing the king to postpone her execution. The next night, she begins a new story, and the process continues for 1001 nights…and by that time the king has decided not to execute her.
What I love so much about this story is that Scheherazade is literally telling stories—creating art—in order to save her life. This is an amazing metaphor for the way some artists feel driven to create, as though their art is a lifeline that allows them to make sense of and deal with the world.
Next up is…
In Greek myth, Arachne is a mortal weaver who boasts that her skill in weaving is greater than the goddess Athena’s. As anyone familiar with Greek myth knows, going up against a god is never a good idea, and while there are several different versions of the story, in all of them Arachne ends up transformed into a spider. A spider, of course, is a weaver of webs.
Arachne’s myth is a darker one than Scheherazade’s, since for Arachne, her art—and especially her pride in her art—leads to destruction. However, destruction is also transformation and a rebirth in a new form.
And for my final inspiration, an excellent example of how art is both creation and destruction…
Penelope from The Odyssey
In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Penelope is Odysseus’s wife left waiting for her husband while he fights in the Trojan War and then undertakes a twenty-year journey to return home. Penelope has many suitors during Odysseus’s absence, but she remains faithful to her husband by insisting she finish weaving a burial shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes, before she remarries. Every night Penelope unravels the weaving she did the day before, so she never makes any progress on the shroud. Eventually Odysseus returns home and they’re reunited.
Constantly weaving and unweaving, Penelope is symbolically creating art, taking it apart, and creating again…and that entire act allows her to survive a long and painful ordeal.
So these are some of the stories that inspired me in Alice in Everville , and really in all my writing. How do they show up in Alice? Well, you’ll just have to read it and find out!
A bit about the book:
product description from goodreads.com
Alice Little thinks she’s read every word the world-famous poet Sylvie Plate published before her untimely death…until she discovers a coded message hidden in Sylvie’s final collection of poems--a message that may explain the poet’s mysterious demise.
All she has to do is decipher the code and she knows she can convince her beloved English teacher, Miss A, that Sylvie’s message is real. Unfortunately, she only has one manic day at Everville Mall to do it. And between keeping track of her fountain-splashing, havoc-wreaking sister, finding a new copy of Sylvie’s poems, and…oh yeah…dealing with the blue-eyed, guitar-playing, majorly swoon-worthy Jaden Briar, who keeps popping up everywhere she goes, Alice wonders if she will ever finish deciphering in time.
Buy ALICE IN EVERVILLE
And a bit about the author:
S.C. Langgle is a lifelong lover of words and stories who has never outgrown her preference for children’s and young adult literature. A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California, S.C. is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She currently lives in Hollywood, California, only a block from Marilyn Monroe’s handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, though she spends more time at home with her computer than mingling with celebrities. Luckily, she has her two adorable dogs—a Chihuahua, Chin-Mae, and a maltipoo, Sasha—to keep her company, and she’d choose them over a gaggle of Hollywood stars any day.
Find out more about SC via:
Blog Tour Stops
February 27 – Jennifer @ My Life With Books www.jenkjovus.com
February 28 – Misty @ The Book Rat www.thebookrat.com
March 1 – Jessica @ www.booksatruestory.com
March 4 – Kathy @ I Am A Reader Not A Writer www.iamareader.com
March 5 - Penelope @ The Reading Fever www.thereadingfever.com
March 6 - Jamie @ Writers, Write, Right? www.jmanni32.blogspot.com
March 7 – Alexis @ The Book Hideaway www.thereadinghideaway.com
March 8 – Haley @ Life and Lies www.haleymathiot.blogspot.com
March 11 – Michelle @ Book Briefs www.bookbriefs.blogspot.com
March 12 – Author post @ http://www.sclanggle.blogspot.com
S.C. Langgle will be offering a $20 dollar gift card and 2 Alice in Everville ARC’s as a Rafflecopter Giveaway. Bonus entries are available for following the participating blogs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway