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Using The Heroine’s Journey as Narrative Structure for Memoir Writing
In writing and telling our stories, we come to know the deeper pattern of our lives. Perhaps the popularity of memoirs in our culture today reflects the desire to find meaning in the mystery of our lives and to understand our unconscious choices, actions, and dreams. Another reason for the memoir's appeal might be its mythic power. Myth can be seen as an ordering principle that gives coherence to the way our memories unfold, and the mythic themes of family relationships, quest for identity, love and betrayal, personal sacrifice, and death dominate contemporary memoir writing. In this course we will use the stages of The Heroine’s Journey as a framework to explore our own character arc progressing through our life journey.
The journey entails an initial separation from the mother and feminine values, seeking recognition and success from the metaphorical father, experiencing spiritual aridity and death, turning inward to reclaim the power and spirit of the sacred feminine. Through writing exercises and examining excerpts from published memoirs, we will write about the stages of our own journey.
Maureen Murdock, Ph.D. teaches memoir in Pacifica Graduate Institute’s program, “Writing Down the Soul” and is the author of the best-selling book, The Heroine’s Journey, which explores the rich territory of the feminine psyche. This groundbreaking book is now the subject of an Australian documentary film, also entitled The Heroine’s Journey. Murdock is also author of Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory; Fathers’ Daughters: Breaking the Ties that Bind; Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children; and The Heroine’s Journey Workbook. She is the editor of an anthology entitled Monday Morning Memoirs and has published a memoir, Blinded by Hope, under a pseudonym. https://www.maureenmurdock.com
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