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Master mythologist Martin Shaw uses timeless story-wisdom to examine our broken relationship with the world

There is an old legend that says we each have a wild, curious twin that was thrown out the window the night we were born, taking much of our vitality with them. If there was something we were meant to do with our few, brief years on Earth, we can be sure that the wild twin is holding the key.

In Courting the Wild Twin, Dr. Martin Shaw invites us to seek out our wild twin––a metaphor for the part of ourselves that we generally shun or ignore to conform to societal norms––to invite them back into our consciousness, for they have something important to tell us. He challenges us to examine our broken relationship with the world, to think boldly, wildly, and in new ways about ourselves—as individuals and as a collective.

Through the use of scholarship, storytelling, and personal reflection, Shaw unpacks two ancient European fairy tales that concern the mysterious wild twin. By reading these tales and becoming storytellers ourselves, he suggests we can restore our agency and confront modern challenges with purpose, courage, and creativity.

Courting the Wild Twin is a declaration of literary activism and an antidote to the shallow thinking that typifies our age. Shaw asks us to recognize mythology as a secret weapon—a radical, beautiful, heart-shuddering agent of deep, lasting change.

From "The Condition of Wondering":

The wild twin is not unique to me, you have one, everyone has one. That's the message from the old stories. That the day you were born a twin was thrown out the window, sent into exile. That it wanders the woods and the prairies and the cities, lonely in its whole body for you. It rooms in abandoned houses in south Chicago. Someone saw her once on a Dorset beach in winter. They are always asking after you.

...I believe in the labour of becoming a human we have to earnestly search this character out, as it has something crucial for you with it. It has your life's purpose tucked up in its pocket. If there was something you were here to do in these few, brief years, you can be sure that the wild twin is holding the key.

Wildness attracts everybody, but appears to be in short supply. Not feral, not hooligan, not brawling, but the regal wild. The sophisticated wild. So you should be gathering by now that this book is about locating your long abandoned twin and courting it home. We're going to use two old fairy tales to do it. And note the word "court." This is a protracted affair, this locating, with the possibility of many missteps, bruised shins and hissed exchanges. Though they long for you, the twin may not broker relationship easily if you've been separated for many years, she wants to know you're serious. We'll cover the complexity of such a reunion as we go. They want to give you a bang on the ear and a kiss on the lips all at the same time.

Lorca claims that the goblin of trouble, duende, is this thing that evokes such a twin. Duende is knowledge that this all ends, that our wings have rusty blades attached that scrape the dusty limits of the dirt. I wrote a moment ago that the perfume of the wild twin didn't provide me with a sense of safety but restlessness. The world pushes you into poetry by withdrawing something, not giving it. The greatest poems are not written by the woman who got that last kiss, they are written by the woman that didn't. And in that absence, that heart-sore knowledge, dwells the duende. The grit, the limp, the slap, the pushback. We begin to understand why polite society has exiled the wild twin.

But the cost of its absence is so terribly high. We exist in its consequence.

No twin, and we, as Robert Bly used to say, preserve life but don't give life. There's not the holy rashness that invokes the spiritual energies of the universe. The wild twin rolls the dice a little. Without eros, without risk, there's no culture worth making. So this is a dangerous business, calling out to these brooding, exiled energies. But truth be told and nailed to the tavern wall, it's far, far more dangerous not to.

I'm not sure we ever really, properly, catch up with our wild twin, buy matching sweaters. The pursuit is the thing, the glimpse is the thing, the jolt of their quixotic nature may be barometer enough for one lifetime. But never to search? Well, that's missing out on life altogether.



Publié par
Date de parution 11 mars 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781603589529
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 745 Mo


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