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Reply To: What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”



You write “Thank you for bearing with me here in my response which was also to bear with me in my search for a response.” I know the feeling: I write to find out what I think. Hence the value of journaling, which we have discussed in other threads on these discussion boards.

Campbell too was very much into journaling. In fact, I once had the great good fortune to transport several volumes of his journals from one place to another many years ago – long, complicated story, but they were in my possession for a few nights – so I stayed up around the clock and went through several sets of white archivists gloves reading everything I could.

The written word meant so much to Campbell. Here is an excerpt where he speaks to that (from the yet-to-be-published manuscript I’ve been editing):

The Muses are the personifications of the energies of that unconscious system that you touch when you sit down as a writer. You just have to find them.

When I’m writing, there are two ways that I write⁠. One is badly, and the other is well. And when it’s badly it’s dictated from up here, and that’s the stuff that goes into the scrap basket. There’s often a period of trial, pushing around to see where I can get that trapdoor to open. And when I hit it, it’s almost—physical—the feeling of opening a door, holding it open, not giving a damn for the critics, what they are going to say or think. Meanwhile, I’ve thought out what’s going to be in this chapter. All that has to be planned first⁠. . . .

The wonderful thing is when I get on a certain beam that hits the level of mythic inspiration. From there on I know about three words ahead what I’m going to say. When the writing’s going like that I know I’m in the groove; it feels like riding a wonderful wave⁠.”

We’ve all read enough of Campbell’s work to know he found that groove more often than not.