I've recently studied your story circle and by extension Joseph Campbell's Monomyth. I found it interesting that your story circle seems to incorporate Campbell's steps perfectly until you hit steps 6 (Take) and 7 (Return). Based on your Channel 101 tutorials, you state that step 7 includes both Campbell's "Rescue from Without" and "the Magic Flight" and occur after the return threshold. This seems out of sync with Campbell's stages, which occur before the return threshold. Thoughts?
By my interpretation, which could be flawed, I didn’t think Campbell was implying that every story includes a “magic flight” and a “rescue from without” followed by a crossing of the return threshold. I think he was suggesting that stories, in general, follow a path of descent and return, and that along that circular path, which [when complete] includes a return, the phenomena we see recurring from culture to culture include heroes being chased, being whisked away, etc. I assume he described those phenomena before describing the return threshold in depth because the return threshold is the more fundamental concept. As if to say, “be it by magic flight, which we see in these examples, or rescue from without, which we see in these examples, one way or another, the hero tends to return, so let’s discuss the examples and significance of returning.” I’m sure I was only trying to make the same point in my tutorials and if I confused you at all I’m sorry.
Campbell talked often about the futility of what he characterized as opacity in mythology. To brutally paraphrase him, a functioning religion (or story) is a window to something invisible, something all around us that we fail to “see” before a crafted frame says “look here.” It’s one thing to stain a window’s glass, to help us experience light, but when we paint the glass solid, by standing too much on ceremony, or by interpreting myth too literally, our story or religion will separate us from the unknown and each other rather than connecting us.
The ironic thing, or I guess the least ironic thing ever, is that Campbell’s wisdom makes a pretty great window, and his step-by-step analysis of mythology has come to be used as a “how to write” handbook or a “what all stories have to be” doctrine. But he never intended that, and he certainly wouldn’t have wanted some fat drunk college dropout boiling his monomyth down to a paint by numbers kit on the internet. The people that created and passed down our timeless stories didn’t do that. They followed their instincts, their fears and desires. They opened their flawed souls and let their gods shine through them. In the modern world, where writing is a recourse to revenue, we are pressured to short-cut the shamanism, like an aspirin company synthesizing tree bark. We attempt to bottle and sell simulated stories and religions, myths that may or may not be connections to the unknown but first and foremost make their deadlines and get our readers or viewers through the day. This is not a bad thing, I’d rather live in a world where a story can make me a provider for my family than a world where I’m just the slowest dishwasher.
But in these moments when we’re blocked, or in the moments we are staring at a board full of diagrams, moving characters and motivations around like chess pieces, trying to “solve” a story as if it were math homework, paralyzed by the academia, it helps to remember that any act of creation, whether folding a paper airplane, baking a cake or writing an episode of SVU, is, by definition, a religious act and a subversive one. We reach out with ape-like hands and filthy minds and we mock and challenge all that came before us by making something be there that was not there. We change the history of the world, we change who we are and we change everything that touches what we make, so we may as well also always change the rules by which we make them.
by now you’ve probably realized I’m not really just answering your question but am using it to deal with insomnia. But to try to bring this around to you, now that you’ve studied Campbell, you’ve got what’s important about it. Heroes go Somewhere Else and Heroes Come Back Different. Everything else is yours to interpret.
I clearly have no clue who edits those Jeopardy bits on Conan, but I'm watching Jeopardy right now and one of the answers (or questions I guess) ended up being "Who is Conan O'Brien" -- the question was something like "He hosted the Tonight Show for less than a year" haha anyway I'm sure they would be able to do something with that clip!
The mad genius behind the Jeopardy bits is none other than the incredible and super talented Nick DenBoer. Drop him a line! - Bley
One night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life there was only one set of footprints. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I need you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied: “My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
I questioned the Lord once more: “But why? I’m confused.”
And the Lord said “…What do you mean? You needed help, and you couldn’t do it alone, so I carried you.”
Then I said “But what’s the point of carrying me? I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense to teach me how to be stronger and give me the tools necessary to get through those times in case they happen again?”
The Lord said “Why? I could just carry you through the next hard time. What’s your problem? I don’t mind doing it, dude. I’m the Lord. I can move the unmoveable rock and shit. I’m really strong. Look at these guns.”
And lo, the Lord pulled up the sleeves on his majestic robes. And his guns were large and glistening in the heavenly light. With that kind of vascular definition, it was clear he had done a lot of close-grip standing barbell curls.
I think I'm going to be alone forever. Why don't people like me?
Who says being alone forever is a bad thing? It’s all about perspective, son. The grass is always greener. You’ll find someone eventually, but until you do, walk around in your underwear and drink from the milk carton that only serves one and wear stupid looking clothes that don’t fit and tell everyone who’ll listen to go fuck themselves. Take pride in these things. Then when that perfect person finds you and falls in love with you make them woo you out of the dark with a handful of raw meat and wrestle you to the ground like some sort of goddamn animal and suffer the bites and bloody scratches to the face while they try to get ahold of the hard won scruff at your neck and make you come to dinner on time and stand up straight and wear nice clothes and shower often and smell good and teach you to talk and say please and thank you until the wheel turns and the hammer falls and the days pass and the nights drain away and you fall asleep in each other’s arms with the windows open and the stars burning down from the cold heavens and you feel the warmth of your lover against you and the heartbeat in their chest and they trust you because they know who you are, but they don’t, they don’t really know who you are, who you were, who you always will be, for you remember what it was like to be wild, to be free, to be an animal who wore shitty clothes and screamed obscenities at strangers and frightened children and laughed in the faces of those who held their “feelings” close before you were wooed from the dark and fed well and put on a few too many lbs and caught a mortgage and made a couple kids and stopped scrawling secret messages on walls and bathroom stalls because who ever reads those things anyway, no one really, no one but people like you before you made yourself forget that there were secrets you shared with those you had never met and never would and that was okay, that was perfect, that was pure, you lived in a world that was bigger than just a fenced in suburban yard in a town you never really thought about living in before you suddenly did and the new “Cheery Buttercup Yellow” paint job on the walls can’t hide the fact that every day you feel like those walls are closing in inch by inch and you get up in the middle of the night with a thirst and you stumble to the kitchen and catch yourself actually pouring your milk into a glass made of real glass and you suddenly wonder where it all went wrong and how could this happen how could you let this happen and question why you thought you ever wanted something like this instead of those thick evil wonderful nights spent howling your soul into the black and you peer out into the dark of your carefully trimmed yard only to see the shadows scattered by the orange streetlights beyond and you drink the milk out of the glass made of glass and put the cap back on the plastic family friendly gallon jug and trudge back upstairs to where your true love sleeps in a bed that cost more than you used to make in a year and before slipping into a dark dreamless sleep a haunting thought spreads its leathery wings in the dim basement of your brain and you realize you finally got exactly what you wanted and what you deserved and it’s too late to undo it or give it back. There’s nothing wrong with being alone, friend. Pay attention. Remember this time. Years from now you’ll realize this life you’re leading was something that didn’t last forever. Also, people probably don’t like you because you smell weird. Try a new deodorant! - Bley
The scariest story I’ve ever heard was a true ghost story.
There were eight or nine of us at a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we were telling ghost stories. The friend of a friend said, ‘When I was a girl living in Texas, I had a recurring dream. In this dream, I was walking down the street of my hometown, and a man would walk toward me. Sometimes he was older and sometimes he was younger. He didn’t always have the same face, but I always knew it was the same man. He would get closer and closer, and I would know that something bad was going to happen, but I would wake up each time before he reached me. I would be terrified.
One night, in my dream, we finally got face to face and I spoke to him. I said, “What is your name?” He said, “My name is Sammy.” And then I woke up, and I was so afraid that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I went to my sister’s room and said, “Can I get in bed with you? I’ve just had a really bad dream.” My sister said, “Was it Sammy?” I said, “What did you say? How do you know Sammy?” And my sister said, “I don’t. But you just brought him in the room with you.” I turned on the lights and I saw that my sister was asleep.
“I think once you’ve thought about how a person sleeps, how they’d feel pressed up against your back, or your head on their chest, how compatible your bodies would be in the same space of a bed — once you’ve thought about that, you’re fucked.”—All These Things You Wish You’d Say (via loislaneintrepidreporter)
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