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June: The Middle of Nowhere

Hello, friends! The world is upside-down and inside-out at the moment, so I thought it best that Louise spend some time somewhere that few people venture to. My focus with this letter is more about fun storytelling, a kooky and creative experience, and an ancient legend. Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy Louise's adventure to The Middle of Nowhere!


Mythical Creature Feature

The World Turtle

Various parts of the world all have their unique legends about the Earth and how it exists in time and space. Mythology from Hinduism, indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the ancient Chinese have long spoken of a creature, a tortoise or turtle, thought to carry the world on its back: The World Turtle, or the Cosmic Turtle.


Depictions

The World Turtle has been depicted through various means, often standing alone with the world upon its shell, though sometimes also accompanied by four elephants to help bear the weight. Hindu mythology refers to this legendary creature as Akupara, and is one of the only known populations to have given the creature a specific title.


Louise and the Tortoise

In June's letter, Louise is found lost by a great tortoise wearing a city on its back. While certainly not as large as the World Turtle, this tortoise is certainly larger than life. Its purpose is not specified, however, its wandering has allowed for the gathering of a unique population into a bustling city on its shell. Louise learns all about their odd traditions, rambling homes, and chaotic daily life during her visit. Perhaps it's okay to get lost every now and then! You never know what you may run into...


External Research

Information regarding this myth is very sparse and patchy. Since it is so diverse amongst cultures, the research is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. I've compiled the important and relevant info that I could find in this newsletter, but if you'd like to do some research on your own, please go right ahead! I will advise a content warning for younger eyes and ears, as some ancient mythology and legends can be quite graphic. There is a fair amount of censoring that I do when I put together my stories.

The Puzzle

This month's letter includes a mind-boggling puzzle for you to solve. This one has posed a challenge to even some of my most creative subscribers, so don't hesitate to reach out if you find yourself stuck! I will offer these helpful tips:

  1. Use a separate notepad and pen to keep track.

  2. Pay attention to the wording! Dig deep!

  3. Not all symbols will have an associated letter. You might have to fill in the gaps yourself!

  4. Be persistent! You can do this!

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results. Once you figure it out, it'll all make a little more sense what's going on in this letter!


Craft Ideas

Enchanted Map Making

Total time: 2 hours

This is a super fun thing to do for creative minds. I find myself doing this STILL and I'm 23 years old. Things have the potential to get messy, so either lay down some newspaper or go outside and soak up some sun while you do it!

You'll need:

  1. Plain white paper

  2. Black tea bags

  3. Warm water

  4. A cookie sheet or a container big enough to soak paper in laying flat

  5. Pens, markers, glitter, glue, anything to CREATE with

  6. An imagination

How to:

  1. Crumple your paper, but be careful not to tear! To create authentic looking parchment paper, pour a little warm water into a cookie sheet, just enough to cover, and soak the paper in it. Take the tea bags and blot the paper. If you'd like, tear off small bits from the edges and corners for an older looking paper.

  2. Once your paper is as dark as you'd like, carefully remove the paper and lay it out to dry on a hand towel/paper towels. You can speed this part up by using a hairdryer on low or by putting them under the sun!

  3. Once your paper is completely dry, it's time to get creative! Create your very own world map. Make up new countries, continents, oceans, and even creatures to go along with it! Don't forget to add your compass rose!


Make Your Own City Tortoise

Total Time: Varies

These little guys are super fun to make and can really go any direction depending on the imagination in charge!


You'll Need:

  1. A tortoise figurine (This one is super affordable on Amazon Prime at $5)

  2. Air-drying modeling clay

  3. Paints and brushes

  4. Glitter or special additions (optional)

  5. Some kind of sturdy craft glue, like hot glue.

How to:

  1. Create miniature buildings out of clay for your tortoise! Stack them, shape them, make them as odd as you'd like! Add pipe-cleaner chimneys, toothpick ladders, anything you think might be exciting. Once they're dry, glue them onto your tortoise and onto each other, then paint and decorate your city!

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