Started listening to “Hero With A Thousand Faces” today…

I bought Hero With A Thousand Faces as an audiobook today and started listening. I’m about 10% through the abridged version.

Some thoughts:

1) No, this isn’t going to ruin me as a writer.
2) The reading is kind of flat, but that doesn’t stop the prose from kicking my head in.
3) I get the feeling that for this material to be useful for a writer, he/she needs to read (or listen to) the book, and then keep a cheat-sheet around.
4) I’ve already read the cheat-sheets. It’s possible that the book doesn’t need to be read (or listened to) at all.
5) Except that the prose still kicks my head in. I tried listening while drawing… CAN’T DO IT. Campbell needs the whole brain.

In completely unrelated news, there is now a Schlock Mercenary RSS feed.

9 thoughts on “Started listening to “Hero With A Thousand Faces” today…”

  1. For writers, there’s a more relevant version of Campbell’s ideas titles, simply, ‘The Writer’s Journey.’ Much more accessible, too, and it’s actualy been of help in not only some of my writing, but also running RPGs.

    1. Technically, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, at least in its most recent editions. Which was actually adapted from a seven page distillation that the author, Christopher Vogler, distributed to his staff during his time in the development department at Disney.

      Anyway, I second the recommendation.

    1. Well, there’s a lot of gold in them thair tropes, but Campbell’s exploration of the monomyth concept has some really cool insights — sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit — into story structure and the development of resonant themes. It’s really useful stuff for a writer.

      It’s a little bit like the difference between learning a programming language and grabbing 101 Unix Hacks and Shell Scripts. The latter gives you a ton of useful stuff you can employ (and a few things to avoid), the former teaches you how one language would go about creating whole programs. The well armed coder would want both.

  2. Been recommending that book to my leadership students for literally years, and yeah, the man does demand your whole attention. Condier the interviews of him with I think it was Bill Moyers, if you have the time. Its something like eight hours of the two of them chatting about myth, anthropology and the ascent of man.

  3. If it’s that distracting, I’d highly recommend sitting down with the full, unabridged text. I, for one, find Campbell’s prose engaging.

  4. The Interview with Bill Moyers is called: “The Power of the Myth” light, yet awesome reading, since it goes through many of the major points regarding mythology and how it’s conceived and how it should be taken.

    As for “The Hero…” yes, full brain or you get brain dead.

    On another note… Audiobooks… I pass thanks, a book is a book, and its linguistic content was made for reading, not listening, it takes twice as much Brain-RAM and Neuron-CPU to process info than the actual reading.

    Loved both. Of course =D

  5. It’s a transcript of the interview Bill Moyers made for the National Channel.

    And of course you can call it a a “digest” of Campbell’s thinking. For hardcore Campbell the reading is “The Masks of God”, a massive 4 volumes book which verses around the fact that religion and the gods of any civilization are nothing “more” than Masks for the same unique thing.

    Civilizations need to “veil” knowledge so for it to be accessible to the people and thus ends being “commonified” and people tend to end believing all of those masks are different things altogether, and the original message is lost; then there’s a time the message is brought back again in its “original” form and the cycle starts again. Turn back the wheel thousands of years and project that to the future and you’ll see this happening once and again.

    Perhaps the film “Zeitgeist”, in its first part would make a better job than me to explain this particular issue, just disregard the part when they start to say that Religion is wrong because it’s all a lie. The important thing about a religion’s original purpose is to re ligare (from the latin, meaning re unite), reunite men among them and men with The One whichever the name it carries in the place and time where one is.

    Errrr… it ended being longer than I intended…

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