Thank you, David Millstone.
“I’m writing to New England storytellers with a request,” David Millstone, a fifth grade teacher in Norwich, Vermont wrote many years ago. “Can any of you tell an episode from The Odyssey? The Sirens. The Cyclops. Calypso. Any episode will do.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was his basic request. I immediately wrote back (paper letter) and told him I could tell the whole thing.
I didn’t know the story at all.
To my delight, he wrote back and said I was hired. He was building an interdisciplinary unit around Homer’s great myth, and instead of asking his students to read a version, since Homer was a spoken-word artist, he’d like to introduce his students to the tale in this more authentic way.
My knowledge of The Odyssey was limited to a movie I’d seen as a kid starring Kirk Douglas, Ulysses. And having read Joyce’s take on the tale by the same name. I had three months to prepare. I got to work.
I’ll be telling THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST, the early episodes of what ended up a 4-hour epic, for an adult audience at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday night beginning at 5:30. Introduction with music on Celtic harp, then into the tale itself with a 12-string guitar accompaniment.
The 12-string not a lyre, but it does have more strings.