I was fascinated to realize that the creation of the world might have different starting points when I watched Secrets of the Dead’s Teotihuacán’s Lost Kings. I love having been shaken up by that revelation. That mythos starts with a mountain. What they discovered in the archaeology went beyond what we’d known. They had to move past the idea of an Egyptian pyramid burial to something very, very different. I won’t spoil it by telling you what, but even a year later, it still has my mind ringing with story possibilities.It is books like those written by Campbell, Eliade, and books like The Forest of Symbols by Turner (Part of the inspiration for the WiP Sen of the Woods), and shows like NOVA, and Secrets of the Dead, and the liveliness of dinner conversations by my father’s colleagues that helped make those things real. Of course we already know the Buddha was a real person–and a show like The Bones of the Buddha also show that there were so many other real parts to what he created. Archaeology and anthropology helped bring the emperor Ashoka back into the history books, and uncovered the incredible artwork and buildings he helped create to honor the Buddha.
The Buddha was real, and the monuments and stupas built to honor him were real. They were vital and tangible, and left a real historical trail we can now see and even visit. Having allowed my imagination to dance through various book pages, and my thinking “warped” by intense discussion around the dinner table, I hadn’t thought that my fiction was where I created a world where the demi-gods were that tangible, with direct influence, but even sometimes subtle influence.
I’m probably still not going to put much thought into why and how I do what I do. Frankly, I just enjoy it. I have discovered that when I try to force it, the book goes all catywumpus anyway. It’s just interesting to see. I’m no scholar, but I love these sciences and studies, books and shows that make me think. That challenge my thinking in how the world felt real to other people. At some point I do want to show, or hint at, and perhaps I already am, how trade and travel in all the cultures I’m building in Ihyell help demi-gods travel as well, and ideas, and products, and so on. I don’t know that I even need to defend why Humna (who becomes Humna-Meghel) could be a demi-god in such far flung regions as the Tashihyel and Yezgyin. Our gods did something of the sort. So did the World Tree–and trees don’t tend to travel, but their mythology does!