Friday, March 21, 2014

Immortal Souls & Such...

Yesterday, I wrapped up Dreaming of the Sea, my retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. As I'm preparing to send it out to some beta readers, I'm curious as to what they'll think about it. It was a challenging retelling for me to write. When I first read the original fairy tale, I was surprised that the central theme was the mermaid's quest for an immortal soul. Yes, there was the romance with the prince, but the purpose of that was to gain an immortal soul as in Andersen's tale, mer people have no souls.

Photo credit: Berlin based artist Svenja Schmitt creates highly impressive and vibrant colorful art work using different properties like feathers, beads, emeralds, sea stars, insects, and colored contact lenses.

As I was creating my world and the story of my retelling, I kept getting stumped. I had to go back and read the original tale several times before I could really accept that the core of the story was so deeply religious. Myself, I'm not a member of any organized religion, although I'm certain there is meaning to our lives. I'm also sure that what we don't see in this life, is infinitely more powerful than what we do see, and that there is some superior organizing intelligence in existence. I know, sounds vague, and  I've come to almost hate the term spiritual because it conjures such a vast diaspora of beliefs...

Personally, I like to keep things simple.

When I finally accepted that the winning of an immortal soul was the crux of Andersen's tale, I pondered upon how to "turn that on its head."

What about the losing of an immortal soul?????

Oh, yes, I loved that idea.

So in my retelling of The Little Mermaid, rather than having my main character be a mermaid seeking to gain an immortal soul, one of the central characters in Dreaming of the Sea, Miriam, is a human at risk of losing her immortal soul...