The Hero’s Journey: Storytelling 101, the Big Day

The day is here. Our first night of a packed venue, our second Meetup at Barnes & Noble, Summerlin. We may not be on the schedule, but after tonight, I hope that our store managers will place us on the map as a regular occurrence at the store.

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We will be discussing the “Hero’s Journey“, as penned by Joseph Campbell. If you don’t know anything about the “Hero’s Journey“, don’t feel left out. I was surprised at the number of writers, authors and scholars here in Las Vegas who have never heard of it. Use Google to search for Hero’s Journey however, and you will find at least 250,000 results. The sheer number of rich, informative websites that have been created to dutifully explain or simplify the findings from Campbell’s “The Power of Myth“, “The Hero’s Journey” and “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” is staggering (to say the least).

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Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) was a researcher, scholar and teacher who grew up loving mythology. He ate, slept and breathed mythology, to his dying breath. Like Campbell, I studied mythology as a child. I could not read enough fairy tales, fables or myths. I found a hunger I could not sate, bound by an incredible urge to learn more. I started my lessons in mythology, books written by Edith Hamilton. Those first stories were short and palatable. There was something about her use of the English language that felt simple…fast reads that would entertain me for hours. It was Hamilton, who would eventually lead me to “Bulfinch’s Mythology” as a teen, ending with Joseph Campbell’s “Myths to Live By” as an adult.

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Looking back, my need seemed more like a quest to answer questions, rather than to fill a need of my hunger for myth. My scholarly jaunt was a stair-stepping route that brought me forward to a discovery of Homer’s “The Iliad and the Odyssey“, Plato’s “Timaeus and Critias” and Ovid’s “Metamorphoses“. My discovery of their dramatic prose and profound discourses led to stories by more contemporary authors. I began a list of heroes taken from pages written by Isaac Asimov, “The Foundation“, Ray Bradbury, “Martian Chronicles” or Gordon R. Dickson‘s more scholarly “Dorsai!“. My thirst to find good stories have spanned more than 50 years so far, and show no signs of waning.

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Tonight’s meeting will be a challenge and discovery. I will be sitting next to a new hero, Bill Guthrie. Ever since I have met Bill, I discovered a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, cultivated by years of hard, unrelenting work as a writer, journalist and editor. I have an opportunity to share what I have found with others, hungry as I am to complete our Hero’s Journey as a writer and an author. Tonight is the opportunity for all of us to talk to a true writing professional, one who has lived by the written word for over 60 years. Tonight I can introduce new writers to Bill Guthrie as we all share our voices and opinions regarding one of the oldest of professions…storytelling.

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