listening to a tinny [sigh] I’m Just a Country Boy by Harry Belafonte [sublime]
Hullo, all. Guess what happens when I actually look at my summer calendar? I discover that my topic for this week is not a mystery, but found poetry. Uh huh. Just now, as I was checking to see what next week’s topic is, so excuse me while I scramble.
And, rescramble. While looking at the examples of found poetry I have saved for this post, I realised that they belong to others’ and I need to ask them if I may use their poems. Yes, it takes a while for my brain to return to its normal. So, where was I? Ah, yes, mystery…
This post’s topic has a history. It began when Barbara sent me her design for the summer calendar. I had sent her topics for ten weeks, the amount of time I would be gone. She, thankfully, added August’s final two weeks as Mystery and More Mystery. Deep in my subconscious the gears began. Forward to a week ago, when I realised I had to fill the slot. The gears shifted into higher mode. That is, my brain knew I was going to call on it and started paying attention to possibilities. Other than that, I had no idea. Then, a couple of you, in comments, said something about the mystery of the upcoming prompt and I had it.
Why would I not choose the word itself? The etymology is fascinating, as etymologies tend to be, for the parts I didn’t know rather than those I always had. Our prompt lies in the meanings of the word during its history.
mystery, n. 1
early 14c., in a theological sense, “religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth,” from Anglo-French misterie; Old French mistere “secret, mystery, hidden meaning”; from Latin mysterium “secret rite, secret worship; a secret thing”; from Greek mysterion”secret rite or doctrine,” from mystes “one who has been initiated,” from myein “to close, shut” perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites).
Meaning “detective story” first recorded in English 1908.
mystery, n. 2
“handicraft, trade, art”, late 14c., from Medieval Latin misterium, alteration of Latin ministerium “service, occupation, office, ministry” influenced in form by Medieval Latin mysterium and in sense by maistrie “mastery.”
or put more simply: anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown;
any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation;
a novel, short story, play, or film whose plot involves a crime or other event that remains puzzlingly unsettled until the very end;
obscure, puzzling, or mysterious quality or character;
any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.
Okay? Your spark can come from the definitions, your application can be personal, or universal. You might write about a wonder you remember from childhood. If you want to ratchet up the difficulty level, write as that child. You might write about a mystery in events that happen now and choose to write in the form of a poetic letter to the editor. The mystery can be real or abstract, big or small. If you aren’t sure, list all the things that are mysteries to you and go from there.
Me? The greatest mystery for me, at the moment, is how the brain works. I am thinking of taking my focus on the brain and taking it through all the etymological meanings from the first source, above. I am particularly taken with the news that the word mystery is a spin-off from minister. Possibilities brew.
I shall see you Thursday for links; Friday for the weekly roundup; and next Tuesday, I hope we are finding — otherwise it’s even more mystery.
Happy writing, all.