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Reply To: Reflections Upon a Hawaiian Graveyard,” with John Bonaduce, Ph.D.”


Thank you, Stephen.

I turned to myth out of desperation. I once had a thriving little career going as a television writer. It was sort of a family business and my Dad, hugely successful back in the day, got me in the door, taught me a few things and turned me loose. I found it difficult work, well-paid but anonymous. The William Morris Office sent me out almost weekly to barter my ideas into lucrative contracts for episodic television. I could not understand how the other writers could come up with story elements so quickly and arrange them so effectively. I had no system, no paradigm, no off the shelf formats. Why was I the slowest kid on the block?

Campbell seemed to provide a solid answer back in the 80’s. Everybody in the industry was reading him or pretending to. I liked what he had to say about structure (the Hero’s Journey) and about character (available archetypes just itching to join your little narrative).  At some point, my interest in story form was completely superseded by the subject of myth itself to which I have devoted several decades of research in pursuit of questions somewhat larger than “How will Aunt Bea react to Opie’s fishing rod theft?”