The Hero's Journey

It's a winter miracle! I will be working with a freelance editor in the new year! Just last week I was venting to a friend, who happens to be a musician. I explained how I completed my manuscript at the end of October, and how I had queried agents and reached out to editors but, until recently, was met with dismissive silence pinched with a few rejections. I confessed to him that for the first time in my life there didn't appear to be a clear path, which I found highly unsettling. He comforted me by saying, "Welcome to the life of an artist. There is no path. You create your path." I felt I had been initiated. Artists create. That's what they do. The word create means to bring something into existence. Perhaps, ambiguity, possibility, mystery, and excitement are the potent nutrients required to help me fuel my creative endeavors. After all, an artist cannot create something that's already set in stone and certainty.

Shortly after this insight, I recalled strands of Joseph Campbell's work on myths and the hero's journey. When we hear the whisperings of our heart and act upon them, we have embarked upon the hero's journey. I am told it's not often a pleasant path, but it promises to be a rewarding one. I'll let you know if it is. In college, friends often encouraged me to write by quoting Joseph Campbell. They would suggest I "follow [my] bliss." They meant well, but I loathed such saccharine and tacky statements, which I had seen emblazoned on high-end yoga gear. However, the day I learned an editor was willing to work with me was also the day I happened to serendipitously stumble across the full quote in which that phrase was plucked.

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be." - Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

As you might imagine, my feelings toward "following [my] bliss" have changed since reading the quote in its full context. I now keep Joseph Campbell's words close to my heart as I follow my bliss and walk this path that I truly believe has been patiently waiting for me.