The Writing Life

Discussion of Joseph Campbell's work with an emphasis on the personal creative impulse as well as the sociological role of the artist in today's global community.

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drmojiah
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Post by drmojiah » Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:59 pm

Greetings Vissi

Grazie Millle for all of your thoughts. I would like to share more and am happy to hear from all respondents. Much to think about.
Finally a block removed last nite, btw. I am happy to participate more regularly in the jcf and in this conversation. On one of the other conversations, I note a reference by Hobbit to "The Fool" which I am going to try to look up. I think it was the words 'hobbit' and 'fool' which mean so much --- I have a lot more reading to do during this time.

"Real" ie empirical historical events are on my mind like the war and where America is culturally right now. Am reading "Making of the Fascist Self" a book about Italy between ww1 and ww2 and how Church and State came together under Mussolini....

Mythology exists before our writing as the moon does before the ocean. Now here's a quandary: the idea of Muse i think should be an ideal or idea, and I think it has been more than a little unfair of me to put that on the one person(her face appears on the a couple of the Delillo characters I write about once I get writing) Inspiration I draw from music too. I listened last nite to Neil Young's "greendale" and i looked at amazing pictures of anti-war rallies. this helps

Wasn't Joseph Campbell one of the anti-Vietnam thinkers too ? Or no ? Please answer.

Self-sacrifice with a powerful feeling of love seems to be THE muse....relationships a story I could post elsewhere too personal and complex.....relationships must be ethical...

Originally muses were 3 and then became 9-- I will go and look this up if you all would like and we could rap about this too.

PG
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Post by Vissi » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:17 am

Dr. Mojiah/Paul,

Thank you for sharing your process here with everyone who holds writing dear. I'm glad to learn a block was removed for you last evening --- always a relief for a writer.

You ask about Joseph Campbell's attitudes toward war. I'm not sure there is any easy, non-paradoxical answer on this question. Campbell states in The Power of Myth that one may decide to join a war, believing in a cause greater than one's self. At the same time, actions to stop war are also hero deeds. Campbell --- nearly always an enigma --- was capricious at best. He could manifest surprisingly conservative views while being notoriously maverick-like in his own life. An unusual and unusually brilliant man, I would say but not easy to characterize.

In considering the topics of love and war, I would share with you and any others interested in how deep the cause of love can run in times of war, a story I came upon this evening. In light of such stories can we doubt, as humans, brothers and sisters all, that there is no cause more important than how we feel about one another. Please Let Me Marry Her And Then Kill Me

In discussing the advent of a global mythology, Campbell and author Richard Beban considered the now legendary photograph of the earth taken from the moon and Campbell stated his beliefs about what would be required of us all:

RICHARD BEBAN: Is that the dominant mythological image now, the idea that we can see the earth from the moon? We have these photographs of our beautiful globe hovering there in outer space.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Yes, but it's not working except in pictures. A mythology doesn't come from the head; a mythology comes from the heart.

RICHARD BEBAN: But there's something so beautiful about finally seeing it...

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Yeah, but how do you feel about people? Not how do you think about people. But what is the feeling system? A mythology comes from the feeling and an experience --- not from thinking. The difference between an ideology and a mythology is the difference between the ego and the self; ideology comes from the thinking system and mythology comes from being.

The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell On His Life and Work, p. 228


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Post by Aunty Proton » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:17 pm

Hello, as I am new here I decided to check in and throw my hat in the ring.

I write, self-publish and podcast my own science-fiction stories. My first two novels were cyberpunk, but I have since gone on to general sci-fi, hopefully closer to the "hard" sci-fi end of the spectrum than not. I've been told my cyborg stories sound like Heinlein, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that since I'm trying to sound like Arthur C. Clarke. :)

Anyway, along with the science fiction I have known of Prof. Campbell's work for many years. I'm not sure when I first found it, so cannot give a more exact date. It could have been 20 years ago, possibly more, I don't know. In the last 8 or so years increasingly more of a presence in my life. I stopped writing altogether for about 5 years in my 20's and came back to it with a vengeance in my late 20's -- I got involved in Star Wars fanfiction and wrote a 300,000 word fanfic novel in 6 months. The inspiration was so powerful that I would spend 4 to 6 hours a day writing on days I had to work, and 10 to 12 or even more hours on days I didn't have to work. It was literally for me a religious experience, and I'm not ashamed to call it so. I spent six months in a state of simultaneous sheer terror and euphoria at this thing that wouldn't let me go. I call it the Force, but what use are names for something like this?

Taking Prof. Campbell at his word, I have "followed my bliss". I come from a family where science fiction and any sort of artistic endeavor was considered frivolous and not something one should waste time on. So I have my day job ... but my life is devoted to my writing, to the sci-fi fandom culture, and to the will of this thing that moves my hands and mind and comes out in my stories. I look at stories I wrote years ago and trace the Hero's Journey through them, and find so many things that never crossed my mind while I was writing them. I see it emerging in my cyborgs now as I write them. I'm not making money ... but I find I don't care anymore. I'm doing this for the work itself. I feel like a monk out in the forest. And I'm happy there.

I've also recently started doing yoga, and I put the "Sukhavati" video or one of the "Power of Myth" episodes on as I do so. So take as you will. :)


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Post by Vissi » Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:41 pm

Aunty Proton, All,
Aunty Proton wrote:Hello, as I am new here I decided to check in and throw my hat in the ring.
Welcome, Aunty Proton, to JCF and this conversation. I hope you'll enjoy your participation in the community expressed through these conversations. Thank you for the introduction to your work and process as a writer.

Aunty Proton wrote:
The inspiration was so powerful that I would spend 4 to 6 hours a day writing on days I had to work, and 10 to 12 or even more hours on days I didn't have to work. It was literally for me a religious experience, and I'm not ashamed to call it so. I spent six months in a state of simultaneous sheer terror and euphoria at this thing that wouldn't let me go. I call it the Force, but what use are names for something like this?
The Force seems a great name. Creative timelessness or whatever we call that state of profound bliss in which the artist is enraptured is, for me at least, one of the chief joys of creative expression.

Aunty Proton also wrote:
Taking Prof. Campbell at his word, I have "followed my bliss". I come from a family where science fiction and any sort of artistic endeavor was considered frivolous and not something one should waste time on. So I have my day job ... but my life is devoted to my writing, to the sci-fi fandom culture, and to the will of this thing that moves my hands and mind and comes out in my stories. I look at stories I wrote years ago and trace the Hero's Journey through them, and find so many things that never crossed my mind while I was writing them. I see it emerging in my cyborgs now as I write them. I'm not making money ... but I find I don't care anymore. I'm doing this for the work itself. I feel like a monk out in the forest. And I'm happy there.
It's great to meet a fellow writer so enthralled with the process of working and so dedicated. Working a day job and still having the wherewithal, energy, and creative spark to write is a hero's task, Aunty Proton. You certainly have my admiration for managing such a delicate and challenging balance of practical and artistic being. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and providing a hopeful example for others who long to work creatively! Please feel free to use this conversational thread and space to discuss any aspects of writing you'd enjoy or for posting works you'd like to share.

Help Set 350, Peace Now,
Dixie
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Post by Aunty Proton » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:24 am

My stories, alas, would be too long to post here, the last one was 23,000 words. But I take your meaning.

One strange thing that has happened in this current series of stories is I've seen the hero role change from one character to another. The stories are all interrelated, and will possibly be aggreagated into a single novel whenever it ends. The first story had one of the characters as the focus, the second alternated between the first character and another, and now this third story is entirely from the second character's point of view. I've just gone with it. I've found if I don't go where it wants to go, I won't be able to write a word. It's also why I don't do outlines per se. I sometimes think my subconscious sees a completed outline as if the story itself were finished. "Oh well, there it is, the story's done, there's no need to work, on with something else..."


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Post by Vissi » Fri May 02, 2008 12:07 am

Aunty Proton wrote:My stories, alas, would be too long to post here, the last one was 23,000 words. But I take your meaning.
Yes. In another thread, Nandu and I had discussed using this thread to post articles, works, etc. by associates so I wanted to restate that invite.

Aunty Proton also wrote;
One strange thing that has happened in this current series of stories is I've seen the hero role change from one character to another. The stories are all interrelated, and will possibly be aggreagated into a single novel whenever it ends. The first story had one of the characters as the focus, the second alternated between the first character and another, and now this third story is entirely from the second character's point of view. I've just gone with it. I've found if I don't go where it wants to go, I won't be able to write a word. It's also why I don't do outlines per se. I sometimes think my subconscious sees a completed outline as if the story itself were finished. "Oh well, there it is, the story's done, there's no need to work, on with something else..."
Your comments are a great insight into your own process, I think, Aunty --- the way your characters build a storyline community and through their fictional living evolve it in a different direction than anticipated. Interesting that your muse requires you to follow or else the writing word well runs dry but also very cool. I usually start with outlines just as story frame or an elaborate way of noting what I know about the story when I begin but have never found them to be accurate or indicative of, the way the story turns out. In the end, as you seem to state, the story's life is its own.

Help set 350, Peace Now,
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Post by Aunty Proton » Fri May 02, 2008 12:37 am

Incidentally, Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey" has been a great help to me.

Something you may appreciate: The last cyborg story I wrote, I wrote it following what's called the "plot skeleton". It's a fairly vague form of outline, more a framework. Basically it goes, "You have a character, in a setting, with a problem. The character tries to solve the problem and fails. He tries again and fails. He tries a third time and succeeds, then realizes or otherwise reaps the rewards of his trials." I wrote the last story to this framework, and it went fairly well since it was vague enough that my subconscious didn't feel constrained by it. Then after I'd finished the story I started re-reading Vogler's book and wondered if the story would fit to the Hero's Journey cycle. It not only fit to it perfectly, but I found a theme of violation and healing that I hadn't consciously written into the story. It put an entirely new spin on the story that I hadn't known was there. It was like the writing equivalent of an optical illusion. Creeped me out for days.

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Post by drmojiah » Fri May 02, 2008 1:25 am

Ciao again

Well, with finals coming up, I am still trying to spark that spark, but these are some great recommendations. Vissi, thank you for the quotes. Another little book I have liked is Natalie Goldberg's little Shambala Pocket Classic called "Writing Down the Bones"

Aunty P, think I have seen your books--look forward to reading them also as I start to get ready for sabbatical

Doc. M.
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Post by Aunty Proton » Fri May 02, 2008 11:07 am

Heh. Well, if you want to make sure it's me here's some titles.

The novels --

Machina Obscura
Aquaria

My cyborg stories --

Zulu-5
Zulu-5: Tantalus and Sweet Charity

Also there's my one and only Arthurian fantasy, obtainable for free as text at:

www.fallofavalon.wikispaces.com


All of these are available free as a podcast, the Atrocious Adventure Podcast, which you can get on iTunes and as MP3 direct download at:

www.aapodcast.libsyn.com

The novels and the first Zulu-5 story are available in print versions as well, though not free. If you want the print versions I can send you copies for free, just e-mail me your address.


Aunty Proton

Oh, and if this kind of hucksterism isn't kosher on these forums, I quite understand if it is removed.
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Post by Clemsy » Fri May 02, 2008 11:50 am

Nah, you're fine, Auntie. We appreciate participating associates letting us know of their work.

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Clemsy
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Post by Aunty Proton » Sat May 03, 2008 12:46 am

Well good.

I need to get around to doing the print version of Tantalus and Sweet Charity.

I am currently working on the third Zulu-5 story. Despite his best intentions my protagonist keeps getting hijacked by events.


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Post by Vissi » Sat May 03, 2008 11:10 pm

Aunty, Doc M, Clemsy, All,
Aunty Proton wrote:Incidentally, Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey" has been a great help to me.

Something you may appreciate: The last cyborg story I wrote, I wrote it following what's called the "plot skeleton". It's a fairly vague form of outline, more a framework. Basically it goes, "You have a character, in a setting, with a problem. The character tries to solve the problem and fails. He tries again and fails. He tries a third time and succeeds, then realizes or otherwise reaps the rewards of his trials." I wrote the last story to this framework, and it went fairly well since it was vague enough that my subconscious didn't feel constrained by it. Then after I'd finished the story I started re-reading Vogler's book and wondered if the story would fit to the Hero's Journey cycle. It not only fit to it perfectly, but I found a theme of violation and healing that I hadn't consciously written into the story. It put an entirely new spin on the story that I hadn't known was there. It was like the writing equivalent of an optical illusion. Creeped me out for days.
Aunty, I do appreciate your recommendation. Thanks. Anything that helps hone plotting skills is truly welcome as I often find seeing and maintaining plot arcs challenging. It sounds as if Vogler's book works on a subtle level and I would enjoy finding a tool that encourages holistic creativity and generates multi-dimensional effects in the motifs that arise. It's a great feeling to review the work and find that the metaphors have gone deeper than one sensed while writing. Very cool. Thanks, too , for listing your available works! I'll add your works to my reading list --- it's gratifying and hopeful to me, and likely to all your fellow writers here, to see someone thriving on their own creative, Hero's Journey as well as in the profession.

drmojiahwrote:
Well, with finals coming up, I am still trying to spark that spark, but these are some great recommendations. Vissi, thank you for the quotes. Another little book I have liked is Natalie Goldberg's little Shambala Pocket Classic called "Writing Down the Bones"
Hello again, Doc! Best of luck with the finals and thank you for mentioning Natalie Goldberg's wonderful book. Her exercises for freeing the creative flow are great as is her amazing poetry which is often featured in Shambhala Sun.

Write On, Help Set 350, Peace Now,
Dixie
Last edited by Vissi on Sun May 04, 2008 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by drmojiah » Sun May 04, 2008 7:31 pm

Vissi, Clemsy, Auntie P. (where's Alfred the Faithful Butler ?)-----

You're welcome. I have to get back to more of a sense of my Campbell roots. He parted with conservative Catholicism (like maybe parting from the Just War theory a little to be more pacifist) to embark on the mythic journey from Celtic roots to the Navajo. The Navajo monomyth is part of American Lit, at least my course version of it. It reminds me of Sci Fi....the government strip mines their land for Uranium, you know.

Aunty P, have you seen the film "Contact" Whaddya think ?

And I am very sorry I have not posted or participated much over the years.

Dr Moe (hamminahammina, hmmina: Nyuck ! Nyuck! Why U !)
Peace Out,<br><br>Paul Giaimo
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Post by Aunty Proton » Sun May 04, 2008 9:24 pm

"Contact" is a beautiful movie, and heartbreakingly prescient. But Prof. Sagan, like Prof. Campbell, was prescient on so many things. Government operates blindly on the here and now with almost no forethought to a long-term future. And they've always been quick to excoriate the scientists for a lack of "results". They don't take into account that science isn't about "results", it's about data, observation, experiment, and the gathering of knowledge. I can't watch "Contact" without either crying for the blindness of this world or wanting to go out and knock heads together until somebody sees sense.


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Post by desertcat » Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:30 am

Hi all. I'm new to the foundation and am exploring many of the conversation forums. As a blocked writer, I've had trouble getting grounded and focused to follow through on much of anything for the past year. This was situational and now that I'm able to reclaim myself and become grounded again, the writing has begun to trickle. Hopefully it will flow again soon. It's been very frustrating being so blocked, but there is always a reason for everything.

I work mainly in poetry to get things started and then move into short stories or a novel or screenplay (though the last two have been on hold for a very long time now). I find often that when I am stuck, working on art or writing poetry will get me back into the groove. Unfortunately my work is such that most of my creative energy is directed there (I'm a highschool english teacher). I have found Prof. Campbell's work on myth to be very valuable as a teaching tool for both my students and myself, so have been connected indirectly to his very interesting insights into the idea of the Quest.

Anyone else use alternative forms of creativity to get the writing to flow?
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