Way to Ithaka

Seeking Ithaka

"Ithaka was the island home of the legendary Greek hero, Odysseus. After his involvement in the Trojan War, Odysseus spent ten years wandering. During these ten years he had adventures, underwent numerous tests of his courage and arrived home a different person. Like so many things from Greek Mythology, the odyssey has become etched into our psyche, having come to mean a long, transformative journey. The epic Star Wars is a fine example of renovating this heroic theme and many writer’s describe their personal journey as an odyssey.In the poem Ithaka C P Cavafy emphasizes the immense value of individual experience. According to Cavafy, angry Poseidon, the savages and the Cyclops do not really exist or, if they do, they only exist in the mind of the individual. Ithaka itself is simply an excuse for a long journey. It is all about the journey. There is no hurry and you cannot get lost for there is no destination. Rather you arrive where you are meant to be. The journey itself is immensely important. On your way you may acquire: Mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, And sensuous perfumes of every kind but the journey itself teaches you what Ithaka is.Cavafy’s poems are significant because he seems bent on demonstrating that it is not the great, completed accomplishment, or successful quest, which is of importance. Rather the importance lies in the first steps taken or the incidents along the way. In his poem ‘The First Step’, Cavafy describes a young poet complaining to Theocritus that:

"It is two years now that I have been writing
And I have finished only one idyl

The young man suggests:
from the first step here where I am now
Unhappily I shall never go up.

Theocritus replies:
These words of yours
Are unbecoming words and blasphemous
Even if you are on the first step of all
You should be happy and proud of it.
Here where you are is not a little way
The so much you have done is a great glory."

When, as an aspiring writer, you set out for Ithaka you take that first step. By taking the first step you set yourself apart from the mass. It is the experience, the journey, which will change you.Permit yourself to stop and rest here in Lemuria, visit the trading stations and share with fellow travelers. Enter new harbors and rest in wayside stops. Lemuria will be just one of your many stops. It is a step in the right direction. Stop and post a message at the Ithaka message board and share where your journey has begun and where you are headed."

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