26 January, 2008

Zharth (or Between)

In 7th Grade, in my English class, during the unit on Greek/Roman Mythology, we were at one point required to create a new myth based on gods and characters from the mythology we had been studying. It was a narrative assignment. I regret not having a copy of the narrative I wrote on hand, but I can remember bits and pieces of it. The most important part is that I made an effort to invent the name for one of the characters. I wanted it to be unique, but I also wanted it to sound cool. The result was 'zharth'. I liked the 'zh' sound, because it's pretty exotic in our language (pronounced like the 's' in 'measure' - *not* like a regular 'z'). And the 'th' is to be pronounced like in 'breathe' (as opposed to 'breath'). The name is soft, and a little dark, and you have to take your time pronouncing it to get it right. Overall, I think it has a subtlely commanding effect, and its uniqueness allows it to stand out without relying on flair and cheap tactics.

In the narrative/myth, I tried a pretty unorthodox technique to try and give the opening a bang. I sort of jumped right into the middle of the action, then I stepped back and walked the reader up to that action to give it its context. I liked it, but the teacher unsurprisingly hated the effect. I don't remember if my myth had some kind of moral or something, but what happened was that a mortal was taken to Mount Olympus to hold court with Zeus. For some reason I can't remember. I was rushed, trying to finish typing up the story on the computer at the last minute, as class was ending, so I ended up cutting a lot out of the end of the story in the 'final copy' just to get it finished and turned in. But the most important part of the story is in the middle, where the mortal meets with Poseidon, and agrees to escort a mute character named Zharth to Mount Olympus. Reason unknown (in the story - this time it's not because I forgot). Zharth really had nothing to do with the story, I just threw him in there for some reason, to add a little intrigue, or something. But since then, he's become vastly important, as I have adopted his name and developed his personality after my own. Alternatively, you could say that by inventing the character Zharth, I was placing myself into the story, in a nonessential role - a cameo of sorts.

In the cult classic PC game Realms of the Haunting, there's a scene toward the end, where you're talking to Abaddon (Keeper of the Key to the Abyss) just before entering the first level of Sheol. You ask if your adversary has been through the gate yet, and Abaddon explains that he knows people not by their name, but by their soul signature. The soul signature of the one who went before you was Lies - undoubtedly the one you feared, Belial. I've really taken to the idea of a person having a soul signature, which sums up that person's being in a single word. In practice, it's obviously very simplistic, but there's a certain poetry about it. Personally, I'd like to think that my soul signature is Truth, as that is the one virtue I admire most. However, that may be more of an ideal, and if there was one word I'd use to describe my whole existence, it would be Between. So I spent some time further characterizing Zharth - an expression of my soul being - as "The One Who Walks Between". Surely you've heard of the concept of the Happy Medium - well, Zharth is the Unhappy Medium, always torn between two worlds, yearning for both, but belonging to neither.

I see the concept of Between everywhere, when I think about my life and my personality. I am a middle child, second of three sons. I am caught between the conservative ethics of my older brother, and the liberal views of my younger brother. I want to be normal, but I'm attached to my eccentricity. I like to fit in, but I want to stand out. I desire company, but I require solitude. I've studied science, but I'm pursuing art. I respect logic, but I admire intuition. I love the sun, but I am a child of the night. I care for people, but I'm afraid to show it. I want to succeed, but I'd rather relax.

And I just retook the Jungian Types Test (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jungiantypestest.html), and once again, the only trait I'm *not* on the borderline for is Introversion. I am Introverted, slightly Intuiting over Sensing, slightly Thinking over Feeling, and slightly Judging over Perceiving. Results are comparable to the last time I took the test, almost two years ago.

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