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Elizabeth Ashley 2/20/2017 3:00 AM Comment [1]: I'd say this is the question I was
Elizabeth Ashley 2/20/2017 3:00 AM
Comment [1]: I'd say this is the question
I was working around with these items.
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 12:51 AM
Comment [2]: Can you go deeper into
this? Thinking through the controlling
values will help you to do that.
Elizabeth Ashley 2/20/2017 3:00 AM
Comment [3]: This was the controlling
value I tried out further down the page but
I think it might fit here: Remaining in the
village guarantees safety and comfort.
Leaving the village results in change and
the unknown.


Week of 2/12/17

I guess the question I’m starting with, though I didn’t realize it when I chose all these things is what it means to move outside of one’s comfort zone. The idea of how we respond to either choosing to remove ourselves from what we know or

feeling as though we have to remove ourselves, as is the case with

Holly Sykes.

Bone Clocks features a character who steps outside her comfort zone because she

feels that she has to in order to retain her sense of self. AWP was me forcing myself out of my comfort zone in order to actually grow, but also to just face up to the idea of “what’s the worst that can happen?” The Campbell book is me putting myself way outside my comfort zone in terms of research materials. I can never find myself entranced by these in depth texts and never usually finish them, let alone feel as though they were a worthwhile time investment, but this time I’m determined not to give up on the book and really push myself to expand beyond the types of books I like to use as research.

Drew: I challenge you to creatively approach to the cliche called “comfort zone.” Bring fresh language to the surface to break open this dead metaphor. What language does Campbell employ? What ogres await us at the threshold to forbid us, to dissuade you from diverging from the repetition of this phrase, which, like a fort and its walled enclosure, keeps all dangers from coming close?

Further, what is it that calls to Holly Sykes? What kind of reader must she become? And what sort of reader does Campbell ask you to become? This is a crucial question to ask and explore. Who would you have to become to “get,” not only WHAT is said, but also HOW the words and sentences and paragraphs are styled? Holly, you will find, does not fully submit to the value of the narrative until late into it, perhaps as long as it takes for the actual reader to become the ideal reader for the narrator(s) of Bone Clocks, perhaps as long as it takes to get what it means to have one’s life measured by the bone clock one actually is. By the way, what is the network of controlling values at work in all three items (AWP, Bone Clocks and Campbell)? Give it a shot.

I’m not even sure how to phrase it like a controlling value.

Try something and then we’ll build it. Start with one. Keep it simple. Think: who is Campbell writing to? What does he want that reader to get? Where are they

before they “get it”?

I feel like Campbell is writing to writers or teachers who teach narrative. He wants them to understand that every story we have can track back to this one idea of the hero’s journey. I’m not sure how to answer the last question.

Let’s tease that out. How does the audience relate to narrative/story that REQUIRES Campbell to guide them to think about and relate to narrative as addressing something we do not normally see or relate to? In other words, when we begin to relate to narrative using Campbell’s method, what impact might it have on us?

Well, from my perspective when I started relating to the narrative it changed the way I looked at myself as far as what role I was playing in my own life. I went from feeling like the reader who was watching someone else play out a story to

being the character in the story, the one with the control over what decisions were made. It also made me look at my decision making process differently and to what

I was attributing meaning. Before I was caught up in making decisions that

followed a fairly linear pathway, the ones centered around get a job, lead a stable life, etc. But taking on that role in my own story made me want to make the decisions that are more dangerous, more unstable because that’s what I’d want someone in this position to do. I shifted my salience away from just what I needed to survive and moved it towards what I need to feel like my life is a story worth

telling. Once I started to notice that these stages could relate to actual life I felt like it gave me more control over my own life and I mentioned this down at the bottom

I think, about how it made me feel like I had permission to take on this role of hero in my own life. Suddenly struggles were trials and things that I was fearful of became thresholds to cross. It made me want to be a different version of myself because if I was reading someone’s else’s journey I’d want them to be more proactive and less fearful.

Drew: so, for the being who remains within the realm of the village compound, who does not challenge the guardians at the threshold, what is a possible way to articulate the controlling value? Starting with the formula: a single sentence each for the context and purpose; both sentences must reveal a cause that produces a result that is negatively charged for the context, positively charged for the purpose.

Remaining in the village guarantees safety and comfort. Leaving the village results in change and the unknown.


purpose. Remaining in the village guarantees safety and comfort. Leaving the village results in change and

Up to this point I’ve only just gotten into my research, but I’m starting with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces and David Mitchell’s Bone Clocks. I read an excerpt of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Based on the three chapter excerpt of the book I will definitely be using it for research/reading it. Because in those few chapters I could already see how the narrator was setting himself up to be justified and make himself more sympathetic for his later actions (unfortunately I know about Lolita because it permeated through pop culture so I’m not coming to the book with a completely fresh perspective). But before I get into the books, the first thing that I did recently that in retrospect feels like research was going to AWP in Washington D.C.

AWP Conference

AWP is the Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs and they held their annual conference in D.C. this year. While some of the panels I attended were useful to my writing, like one on writing different kinds of narrators or another on writing about trauma, it was the idea of actually going to the conference that was more useful to me. I’d been stressing about attending the conference for probably two months because of my anxiety.

Attending the conference would mean I’d have to drive out of state, which I’d never done, be in a new place where something could medically go wrong with me and I’d need help, and a lot of things would be out of my control. It was the idea of taking myself out of my controlled area that was causing me to panic and think the worst. I’ll spoil the ending by saying that nothing bad happened on the trip, everything went great. But what was useful to me was looking at what happened to me. Normally when I’m put in a situation that ends up going poorly you don’t know that going in so there’s no way to analyze how you handle that fear/anxiety because you’re too caught up in the moment. This time though, I was entering into something that was going to make me feel that way consciously which gave me the chance to analyze what happened.

Almost all of these feelings are associated with a severe panic disorder that developed after my hospitalization. I’d lived 24 years without these issues and then when one thing went wrong it was like my whole system was fried. So leaving my comfort zone was a lot more stress than it should have been and right up to two days before the conference I seriously considered bailing on going. I spent nights crying about it, but the weird thing was that I wasn’t upset over any specific thing, it was just this overwhelming feeling of dread, a certainty that if I did this things


upset over any specific thing, it was just this overwhelming feeling of dread, a certainty that

would go poorly. If they went poorly it would signify failure, something I’m not comfortable with in my life. Even if it was something uncontrollable like a medical problem that would still be a failure on my part for not being strong enough to withstand it. That was the first thing I noticed, that these feelings of anxiety and fear might be rooted in a logical track, the idea of my having another medical issue, but they’re always vague enough that they could apply this doom cloud to any and all situations.

When I had to drive home the big fear I was dealing with was bridges. I once drove over a bridge and passed out halfway through it. We were all fine, but ever since that incident I’d been scared to drive over one, but this time I had to. My hands started to sweat in a way I didn’t know was possible. After crossing one bridge my left hand was so wet you’d have thought I’d pulled it out of a glass of water. My heart raced and my body got warm and my legs went all tingly and a bit numb. My stomach clenched up and I started to get a little nauseous. All in the span of time it takes someone to drive over a bridge, which isn’t long. As soon as I was over the bridge though, all of that went away, almost instantaneously. In this instance I realized it’s almost like a fear spell that I’m putting on myself. That these situations if looked at for what they are, aren’t all that fear inducing, it’s what we do to ourselves that gives them that power. I know, not exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but something that you can’t see when you’re already caught up in the moment. It’s something you can only see when you step outside of it. What this does though is make me excited to look at some of the films I’ve seen or haven’t seen and try to look at how much of the fear is induced either by the characters themselves or by us as the viewer compared to what there is to actually be upset about.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

I’ve been working my way through this book for a few weeks at this point and honestly I feel I should be further along than I am, but I’m trying not to judge myself and let things happen as they are. Because my inclination is to stop reading the book because it’s too “difficult,” but that would mean I wouldn’t be trying new things so I want to keep with it. Campbell breaks everything down into fairly easy points and makes a lot of cool arguments, but there’s so many examples. Normally I’d love that, but the amount of examples are kind of overwhelming.

The prologue is all about this idea of the monomyth and how psychology and other areas of study all agree that some kind of myth is the basis for the organization of


and how psychology and other areas of study all agree that some kind of myth is

our lives. He uses a lot of discussion of people’s dreams to illustrate his points, which was where I got the Carl Jung connection from because he did a lot of work with dream interpretation. So when they look at dreams and our relationships there’s the assertion that our parents are the basis for all of our relationships and that our mother represents safety and our father danger. So in the context of the one dream it could be interpreted that the man killed his father to get his mother’s attention which relates back to Freud and the whole Oedipal complex. I’m going to do more looking into dreams because Campbell touches on the idea that dreams and the stories they tell are about the painful traditions in our existence like growing up, losing someone you love, etc.

A blunder- apparently the merest chance- reveals an unsuspected world, and

the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood. As Freud has shown, blunders are not the merest chance. They

are the result of suppressed desires and conflicts

to the opening of destiny. (51)


blunder may amount


I’m really interested in all of the dream examples that Campbell uses throughout the books for support.

The first section is all about the Call to Adventure and opens with The Princess and the Frog. The Call to Adventure is something that brings the hero into action, it involves a herald character that introduces the danger or the task, something dangerous and dark (in the frog story it’s the well where the ball falls). It’s something that brings the hero outside of the community that he’s been living in up to this point. For me it was crossing the bridge because the bridge was both a physical and metaphorical representation of the fact that once I crossed it I was in new territory. I’d be in another state, I’d be well outside my community, and there would be no turning back. By crossing the bridge I was committing to this call to adventure.

Then there’s the Refusal of the Call where the hero doesn’t take up the quest or whatever it is. The narrative shows that doing this is a bad idea and whatever spiritual force the hero adheres to will give him shit for making this bad decision. They illustrate this with the story of Daphne and Apollo. Then Campbell brings up Jung again and says that the story of Daphne can be seen in the patterns of people when they are psychoanalyzed. Refusing the call is also where another archetype comes in- the Supernatural Aid/Mentor. It’s the Gandolf/Dumbledore style


on my list with Carl Jung for people I also need to research because


Andrew Kopp 2/18/2017 11:05 PM Comment [4]: Freud's _Interpretation of Dreams_ is one of the
Andrew Kopp 2/18/2017 11:05 PM
Comment [4]: Freud's _Interpretation of
Dreams_ is one of the most awesome
research moments of my life. His style
reveals a nimble intelligence at work that
is highly accessible and yet breathtaking.
Elizabeth Ashley 2/18/2017 11:05 PM
Comment [5]: I've found a pdf of it online
so I'm going to put that on the list and
check it out.
Andrew Kopp 2/18/2017 11:06 PM Comment [6]: But also the rabbit and the caterpillar. Elizabeth
Andrew Kopp 2/18/2017 11:06 PM
Comment [6]: But also the rabbit and the
Elizabeth Ashley 2/18/2017 11:06 PM
Comment [7]: Yeah, see I was struggling
with that because pretty much everyone
she encounters would be that type of
character, don't know why I limited myself
to only thinking it could be one of them.

character who gives the hero protection at the beginning of the journey. This character is a safety blanket for the hero as they wade into dangerous new territory, but they also symbolize destiny because they represent the idea that the hero can’t ignore the call. Mentor characters can also be herald characters.

The next step is the Crossing of the First Threshold. This is where the hero meets a kind of tricky character known as the “threshold guardian”. This is the last chance

before danger and new stuff. In Alice in Wonderland it would be the

Cheshire Cat

who shows up when she’s lost and unsure where to go. This character isn’t what

they appear to be, but also has knowledge about whatever the hero doesn’t know.

Then we get to the Belly of the Whale, which instantly conjures up Pinocchio and Moby Dick for me. Here the hero gets caught up in the threshold’s power. In stories they use a monster or something like it and this is where the hero “dies”, in Hercules (the film) it’s when the mountain collapses on him when he’s fighting the Hydra and Hades thinks he’s finally killed him. This is where the hero has to transform and become something other than who they were in order to precede. That wraps up Part 1 Chapter 1.

And so it happens that if anyone- in whatever society- undertakes for himself the perilous journey into the darkness by descending, either intentionally or unintentionally, into the crooked lanes of his own spiritual labyrinth, he soon finds himself in a landscape of symbolical figures (any of which may swallow him). (101)

There can be no question: the psychological dangers through which earlier generations were guided by the symbols and spiritual exercises of their mythological and religious inheritance, we today (in so far as we are unbelievers, or if believers, in so far as our inherited beliefs fail to represent the real problems of contemporary life) must face alone, or, at best, with only tentative, impromptu, and not often very effective guidance. (104)

Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known. The hero is the one who comes to know. (116)

Thus phrased, in extremest terms, the problem may sound remote from the affairs of normal human creatures. Nevertheless, every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end, to a restriction of consciousness. Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are

illuminations come too late.

The whole sense of the ubiquitous myth of the

hero’s passage is that it shall serve as a general pattern for men and women,

wherever they may stand along the scale


individual has only to

discover his own position with reference to this general human formula, and

let it then assist him past his restricting walls. (121)

In relation to this last quote I’d say that the lens I’m beginning to put on my own life is that of the hero's journey, which is a strange thing to say that I’m calling myself a “hero” on some great “adventure” because it feels as though I’m not nearly interesting enough for those labels.

Drew "Who and where are [your] ogres? Those are the reflections of the unsolved enigmas of [your] own humanity. What are [your] ideals? Those are the symptoms of [your] grasp of life" (101).

What if you “read” the “feeling” that “I’m not nearly interesting enough for those labels” as an expression of the “ogre” with whom you are currently struggling with? Each of us are undergoing our own uncharted adventure across the sky of existence, like the sun from morning to evening. It’s not so much that you should see yourself as identified with the “hero,” but that the narratives of the many-faced hero/ine provide us with topics/lenses to disclose the world within which we can act (and write) powerfully.

So in respect to what you’re saying one of my ogres is dealing with this idea of self-worth and the ways in which I think it’s acceptable for me to act and be considered vs. the potential I actually want for myself?

But because of this I can see places in my life where there are opportunities for me to accept calls to adventure, and places where I’ve been going through trials or have been trapped in the belly of the whale. It’s giving me the ability to look at my decisions through a different lens of possibility because if suddenly I’m the hero of my own story, then I want to make different choices than if I was just another woman living in the world.

“Just another woman” existing within a “comfort zone”: this is what we’re calling the “anybody” self. But nobody can actually be an anybody self, though we are trained to strive for that. So, the “anybody” might be an ogre.

It’s a strange realization that with this lens on I instantly want different things to be salient than without it. With this lens on there’s an internal push for me to go after


Andrew Kopp 2/20/2017 4:43 AM Comment [8]: And how do you read this, as an
Andrew Kopp 2/20/2017 4:43 AM
Comment [8]: And how do you read this,
as an integral lens or topic, looking upon
the salient particularities of your current
Andrew Kopp 2/18/2017 9:44 AM
Comment [9]: What is the myth that you
are currently in?
Elizabeth Ashley 2/18/2017 11:10 PM
Comment [10]: are you referring to "this
is the process of dissolving, transcending,
or transmuting the infantile images of our
personal past." ?
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 1:56 AM
Comment [11]: That too.

the things I want to, to experience the things I want, but without it there’s this feeling of “it’s okay to be average: that’s what most people do.” So this lens is giving me, almost permission I’d say, to become the person I want to be or at least enter into the journey of becoming her.

So, how about this: when you follow the dictates of the anybody self, any possibility beyond what has already been charted and measured will be destroyed (context); Listening to one’s “inner” voice, trusting lived experience--even in defiance of what the anybody demands--creates new possibilities (purpose).

Now, I’m just rehearsing a controlling value (a topical lens) that I have a lot of experience with, and there’s lots of ways to say it, and ways to unfold it in narrative and other forms. But it isn’t complete until we get around to the other side: When we only listen to our own voice, rejecting all potential contributions as dangerous and to be avoided and overcome, we remain locked within restricting walls and remain fixed, spiritually dead (context); bringing one’s inner voice into conversation with the traditions that surround us, compelling us to follow and enact them, will allow us to both honor those traditions, and to perhaps challenge and ultimately contribute to them (purpose--which I have stolen from Campbell, by the way).

In any case, something tells me that this network, in one form or another, shows up in Bone Clocks, and the AWP “event.”

The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks

is a fiction book by David Mitchell. I’ve never read anything by

him before and I’m currently only 200ish pages into this book. So far it’s a multi- POV story of different people’s seemingly normal lives being invaded by slightly odd instances. The POV’s are separated by names and years. The first POV is called A Hot Spell, 1984, about Holly Sykes, a 15 year old girl who leaves home after her over-protective mother slaps her across the face. Holly heads to her boyfriend Vinny’s house only to find him sleeping with her best friend. Broken- hearted and determined not to go home defeated, Holly walks towards a farm that her friend Ed Brubeck tells her about where she can make a bit of money and have a place to stay. Along the way she meets two young activists named Heidi and Ian. While she’s staying with them a man named Rhimes shows up and kills them both and attacks Holly. Rhimes has supernatural powers and claims that Holly is


Andrew Kopp 2/20/2017 12:07 AM Comment [12]: controlling values at work here? Elizabeth Ashley 2/19/2017
Andrew Kopp 2/20/2017 12:07 AM
Comment [12]: controlling values at
work here?
Elizabeth Ashley 2/19/2017 5:20 AM
Comment [13]: see im not sure how to
answer this because im only at the part
where Hugo met the anchorites and now
we're in 2004 and Ed is with his and
Holly's daughter and Immaculee has
shown up. I just don't see how there's one
thing keeping all these different threads
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 11:33 PM
Comment [14]: You can always
speculate. That's your right as a reader,
and it may be what makes reading so
awesome: you project what you have to
project, given the narrative as it shows up
for you. The controlling values will always
change. Never final.
Elizabeth Ashley 2/20/2017 12:07 AM
Comment [15]: I guess one controlling
value could be that being in a open to love
brings you happiness and companionship,
but puts you at risk for weakness and the
almost certainty of being hurt.

actually a woman named Esther Little, an old woman she’d met along her walk. Then Ian’s dead body walks in with Esther Little inside of him and then she stops Rhimes before embedding herself inside Holly and erasing the memory of this incident. Holly continues onto the farm none the wiser. Things go pretty well at the farm until Holly’s friend Ed Brubeck shows up telling her that her little brother Jacko has gone missing and that she’s got to get home. Holly also had this weird thing growing up called the “Radio People” which were voices that spoke to her all the time, one in particular was a woman named Ms. Constantin who quieted the voices and was a protector for Holly. She’s led to believe by her Dr. Marius that this was all something that could be fixed.

The next section is Myrrh is Mine, Its Bitter Perfume, 1991. Now we’re following Cambridge University student Hugo Lamb. He meets this really gorgeous woman named Immaculée Constantin. They talk about how she believes immortality is possible and then disappears leaving Hugo alone with two hours of his life missing. After following Hugo and his friends gambling and sleeping around, Hugo runs into a homeless man who claims to be Immaculee which freaks him out.

Then Hugo goes on a ski holiday and the bar girl he meets there is an older Holly Sykes. It’s six years in the future, she’s kind of a drifter character who bounced around and landed at this run down ski bar. Her brother never turned up and she’s blaming herself for it. Hugo goes to crash with her after his buddies sleep with a bunch of girls who turn out to be hookers and the girls’ pimps try to shake the guys down for money. But while he’s with Holly he gives her some harsh truth about how selfish it is to blame herself for Jacko’s disappearance. I loved this section:

“I don’t know what to say, Holly…”

She finishes her glass of white wine.

except “

She turns to me, her eyes red, her face shocked.

“Yes,” I say. “Rude. It’s rude to Jacko.”

Obviously nobody’s ever said this to her. (190)

‘Stop it.’ It’s rude.”

Hugo goes on to explain why it’s selfish, but just the harshness of this exchange between a guy who feels no connection to other humans, who cares for no one

really, who’s never felt love and this strange girl that he’s drawn to. It’s just


opposite to how relationships usually begin

. But it’s this moment that makes me


Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 5:21 AM Comment [16]: Really? How so?
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 5:21 AM
Comment [16]: Really? How so?
Elizabeth Ashley 2/18/2017 11:18 PM Comment [17]: In my experience relationships start because two people
Elizabeth Ashley 2/18/2017 11:18 PM
Comment [17]: In my experience
relationships start because two people feel
some kind of connection based on shared
interest or kinship, just something that
makes them feel like that person shares
something with them, but from the get go
Hugo and Holly are kind of at odds. He
doesn't believe in love, she's closed off
and thinks he's a jerk. Then when they get
this first moment of intimacy he goes and
hits her with the hard truths that are
certain to make her upset with him and not
bring them together.
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 2:12 AM
Comment [18]: So, might this
contradiction challenge this commonplace
expectation that most folks have inherited?

Elizabeth Ashley 2/19/2017 5:21 AM

Comment [19]: definitely because the myths related to romance are all based on two people who are "perfect" for each other. so we're constantly told you need to find someone perfect for you and then online dating rolls up and promises to find someone who "matches" everything you like so everything around us is centered around finding a match instead of finding a puzzle piece, someone who fits vs. someone who is a copy.

feel like they’re different, but they’re more alike than they know.

I’m also really enthralled by the way Hugo describes his emotions. Earlier in the section he talks about life in all these terrible terms:


last year’s song hurtles into next year’s song and the year after that, and

the dancers’ hairstyles frost, wither, and fall in irradiated tufts; cancer spatters inside this tarry lung, in that aging pancreas, in this aching bollock; DNA frays like wool, and down we tumble; a fall on the stairs, a heart attack, a stroke; not dancing but twitching. This is Club Walpurgis. They knew it in the Middle Ages. Life is a terminal illness. (173-174)

Hugo is so jaded by life. He’s so cold and closed off. He’s determined not to feel anything and simultaneously convinced himself that the things he could feel would be worthless to experience. But the way he talks about it has this poetic, romantic edge to it. Like Hugo is the child who got rebuffed once and has sworn off ever making friends again. There’s all this potential for him as a person, but he refuses to allow it to enter his life. Until he meets Holly and they start their strange little relationship, then Hugo’s romanticism rears its ugly head again,


if I did I’d tell Fitzsimmons et al. that love is fusion in the sun’s core.

Love is a blurring of pronouns. Love is subject and object. The difference between its presence and its absence is the difference between life and death. Experimentally, silently, I mouth I love you to Holly, who breathes like the sea. This time I whisper it, at about the violin’s volume: ‘I love you.’ No one hears, no one sees, but the tree falls in the forest just the same. (192)

I’m completely obsessed with the ways Hugo expresses himself, the way he’s so closed off and yet holds all this potential. I didn’t really like him initially because he was just another douchebag guy who slept around and claimed love was a social construct for losers, but there’s more layers to Hugo.

There’s a lot going on in this story and the threads haven’t come together yet, but I’m really intrigued. I like that the POV is third person and I like that they aren’t working very hard to explain things to the reader. I’ve no idea what’s really happening, but I’m still enthralled, which is cool and something I need to remember because I tend to hand hold my reader and over explain things. This distance in the story of not knowing quite what’s happening, but knowing that it’s beyond the realm of reality is cool. I also like the very little, but real way that things kicked off. Holly’s mom hits her and that’s all it took. It’s something so


very little, but real way that things kicked off. Holly’s mom hits her and that’s all

relatable and little instead of some grand inciting incident. Not everything has to be some huge proclamation.

Of all the material I’m currently reading this week I’m noticing this theme of choosing to exit one’s comfort zone. I forced myself out of my own and into a new environment, Holly chose to leave her environment and in terms of Campbell I feel like we’re at the Call to Adventure.

Drew: I'm wondering: this is all fine and good to summarize and re-narrate the narrative from the point of view you ordinarily read from, and I see that in this last paragraph you are hazarding a loose suggestion that connects your three points of contact, but what if you read the narrative and this event you underwent pushing this Campbell lens as far as it might take you?

How is the narrative designed to “serve as a general pattern for” you, “wherever [you] may stand along the scale”? How are you working to discover your “own position with reference to this general human formula”--in this particular narrative iteration--” and let it then assist [you] past [your] restricting walls” (101)?

What are your restricting walls, especially concerning research? How is this narrative about that particular confrontation?

I feel like I touched on some of this in response to some of your earlier comments, but I’m feeling as though knowing about the Campbell lens is giving me permission to take on the role of a hero in my own story which has drastically altered where I attribute salience and what decisions I want to make, which is a really strange thing to think about. Which I guess is strange because if I hadn’t been in this frame of mind completely when I forced myself to go to AWP or when I agreed to take on the Campbell book in the first place, but unconsciously I think this was me trying to grasp at the potential I feel I have inside of me.

Now that I feel more consciously aware of this Campbell lens and how it relates to my life I’m looking at the opportunities I’m given with a really strange kind of courage, like if I’m the hero why wouldn’t I do the scary thing, take on the new

perspective or experience, because that’s what I’d want a hero to do.


Campbell lens

is also changing the way I look at aspects of my life as they appear

to me, I’m not seeing the down points in my life as lows now, but trials, something we have to go through if we’re going to succeed in any way. Suddenly the things I’m scared of are thresholds to cross if I want to transform and become a different


Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 11:36 PM Comment [20]: recreate what the lens is so that it
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 11:36 PM
Comment [20]: recreate what the lens is
so that it doesn't fall into a simple box that
diminishes its meaning and possible
Elizabeth Ashley 2/19/2017 5:23 AM
Comment [21]: so would it better to
speak in terms of the specific aspect so
instead of saying the campbell lens im
referring to the idea that struggles in life
can be interpreted as trials which gives me
more control over how I handle the
Andrew Kopp 2/19/2017 11:36 PM
Comment [22]: Yes

version of myself.

Cool: I just got that what you are doing is practicing all three history-making practices. First, you are cross-appropriating the “Campbell” lens from an academic sphere of activity into your own, already given topical lens, which in turn reconfigures a marginalized aspect to your existence as dominant, and finally, you are articulating/retrieving a lost/dispersed value of being heroic.

It’s making me feel more equipped to struggle against my restricting walls, especially in research. The Campbell book itself is a huge restricting wall because it represents every dull, big, academic text, I’ve ever felt obligated to read in order to be taken seriously, but that I’ve ultimately never been able to connect to or use.

Drew: Hold on. The text itself is not the restricting wall. Consider that tt occurs for you AS a restricting wall because that is how your dominant ideal (controlling value) discloses it. A simpler way to say that is: you are always and already projecting a restricting wall, to which you respond. There is no IS restricting wall out there. Now, part of the difficulty to hang out with here is to consider this: what if you take up the role called “I am the author of my restricting walls, and so I can revise what they mean to me, which then grants me access to new ranges of performance as a writer and actor in my life”?

In terms of restricting walls, if they’re a projection based on some controlling value of mine then it’s not so much the text that’s restricting than it is this belief I have that I’m not good enough to understand and interpret academic texts. So if I were to take up this role as a writer and a researcher it would require that I acknowledge that I’ve been limiting myself with idea that I can’t connect with or understand dense academic work and that I have the ability to do so. It’s never been the material’s fault at all it’s always been me imposing this limitation on myself as a protection from ever appearing unintelligent.

This leads to a whole host of other research related restrictions that are actually self imposed blocks. My inclination to avoid large academic texts is a way to avoid being challenged and in doing so remain “intelligent” because I haven’t failed at understanding my research. My tendency to avoid looking at nonfiction research in any in depth way was sheer laziness. I wrote off all of that content as a way to do what was already easy for me in studying fiction. I was operating under the idea that googling a fact here or there was good enough because my writing wasn’t non fiction so what did it matter? All as a way to allow myself the excuse not to open up to other material.


wasn’t non fiction so what did it matter? All as a way to allow myself the

The Campbell book is a struggle, but so much of it actually feels like research I’ve been looking for without knowing I was looking for it. Which is why I’ve been determined not to let it “beat” me. The Campbell book and the idea of branching into Freud and Jung and anything else that’s distinctly academic holds with it this power of making me feel stupid and unaccomplished if I can’t best it. It’s the bridge troll I have to pass if I’m going to further myself and my research. But instead of fighting the troll with brute force I’m starting to realize I can work with the troll and in some regards I may not conquer him, but it would still grant me passage across the bridge.


work with the troll and in some regards I may not conquer him, but it would