The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same. Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation. Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all. Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!
What’s your favorite/most influential non-fiction book?
Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
The Hero’s Journey is a universal motif found in stories and narratives across genres, media, and the ages. It’s hard for me to express how influential and magnificent this volume is, but I consistently assert it’s something everyone should read, especially those of us involved or interested in creative projects. It solidifies many of my ideas about the universality of stories and how there are ties that bind them all together, connected by motifs, tropes, and paradigms that feed off both the zeitgeist and collective unconscious.
This book is one of the best sources of connectivity I’ve ever found. It prompted me make this macro using the hero’s path quote, words that will never cease in their resonance.
“…we have not even to risk the adventure alone;
for the heroes of all time have gone before us;
the labyrinth is thoroughly known;
we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination,
we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another:
we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward,
we shall come to the center of our own existence;
and where we had thought to be alone,
we shall be with all the world.”
I can with almost complete certainty say that this is my favorite quote of all time, and Hero has been one of the most influential and useful volumes to me as a writer. I have plans to read more of his work such as The Power of Myth and Primitive Mythology (though I have some trepidation about what that might entail).
What’s your favorite and/or most influential non-fiction book? How has it helped you with endeavors (creative or otherwise)?
I look forward to your answers in the comments!