Recurring Motifs & Numb Hands

Approaching the Souther Oracle.jpg

Having this new sketchbook has re-opened an area of contemplation for me on Recurring Motifs and symbols within my own psyche regarding my life.

In narrative, a motif  is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition, a motif can help produce other narrative (or literary) aspects such as theme or mood.

A motif that has always stuck with me is the Southern Oracle from The Neverending Story – From Wikipedia – The Neverending Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a fantasy novel by German writer Michael Ende, first published in 1979. Fran Cortina is the main character in the original film. An English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was first published in 1983. The novel was later adapted into several films.

But the Southern Oracle is just one minor example of the Gateway or Portal motif itself which can be found in mythology and folklore going back thousands of years.  Most memorable in modern western civilization’s classic children’s literature – Alice in Wonderland’s mirror, the tornado in the Wizard of Oz, to the many various examples in the 7 Chronicles of Narnia books, the Star Wars scene in Mos Eisley (“These are not the droids you are looking for.”)  every hero or protagonist in a story has a Portal or Gateway that they MUST pass thru in order to fulfill their quest. It is a right of passage for the hero archetype.

I suspect this has come into my conscious awareness because I am approaching 65 in March and that, in itself, is a portentous personal passage. To come face to face with the reality that I now have more years behind me than I have ahead of me gives me pause.

So I awakened this morning with this on my mind and wanted to draw it – why I only drew one half of it – nearly 45 years working in manufacturing using hand tools has eroded the carpal tunnels in both my hands to the extent that my hands go numb after gripping something (like a pencil) for several minutes. I never sought surgical relief for this because the surgery came with risks I was not prepared to take. (like losing the fine motor skills in my drawing hand)  So when necessary I wear a wrist brace, but this morning I just decided to stop drawing when it got bad.

This too, serves to remind me of my time spent on this planet – like an old car, parts are wearing out, which reminds me of a discussion between Bill Moyers and one of my personal heroes and mentors – Joseph Campbell –

Joseph Campbell described aging like the pieces of an old car suddenly falling off: first, the side mirror; now, the bumper. Aging is inevitable. Every calendar year, your age will increase by a factor of one, and you can look that up if you don’t believe me. But, aging doesn’t have to be given the victory.

southern oracle.jpg

Until next time …