October 28, 2014

What is an “Ariamythe”?

“What is an ‘ariamythe’?”

This question seems to pop up every once in awhile. In fact, I just got asked it again yesterday. While I’m certain I’ve mentioned this on this blog in the past, I thought I’d actually write a fuller response to it, since the name has become my personal little brand name. Then when people ask in the future I can just point them back here.

First, Ariamythe is not a what, but a who. Technically, she’s me, though the string of thought getting to me is convoluted.

An elf bard. I didn’t draw it, and it’s not Ariamythe, but it could be. Found here.

Second, it’s pronounced “Ar – ee – uh – meeth”.  Two long “e”s, silent e at the end.  The name is built out of two words: aria, a type of song, and myth, a story of gods and legends, in its French form; also, the e at the end hints to English speakers at the long “‘e” in myth. (even though myth is pronounced with a short ‘e’ usually).

Third, here’s the story. I created a D&D character in college named Ariamythe. She began as an elf bard, more or less (though she was also a sort of Tarot reader / mystic at first). For those who know what bards are, I hope the name is immediately obvious: bards sing great tales of heroes and monsters, and that’s essentially what her name meant.

I can’t tell you why this character of all the characters I’ve created has been the one that stuck with me, but she has. She hasn’t returned to the D&D table much since her inception, but she’s increasingly lived on in spirit. I have begun to identify with the name over the years. As someone who wants to be a writer and creator, the creative spirit of a “singer of great tales” became something I felt I had in me. Actually, I like the name so much that early in my transition I considered using Aria as my first name (it didn’t work out).

If you want to get a better sense of Ariamythe as a character, just listen to the music of Loreena McKennitt. She’s as much the spirit of Ariamythe as I am. I’ve always said she’s my ‘muse’ when it comes to writing. She is also a ‘singer of great tales,’ someone who seeks out rich, cultural music and then performs it with beautiful poise and artistry. I can’t tell you enough how much her music moves me.

So now you know. At the end of the day it’s a silly made-up name, but for me it’s a made-up name that has latched onto my heart. It’s why I used it as the URL for this website, and for my social media identity pretty much everywhere. Thanks for reading.

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