Guest Blogger Marie Judson-Rosier writes about Fantasy Fiction as an Ancient Way of Mythmaking.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes invites our voices: “We have a reason for being. Blow away the over-culture that says we weren’t longed for,” (heard at a Mysterium workshop with Dr. Estes). Many of us do not think our words are awaited or even welcome. We have to deconstruct messages we absorbed subliminally through our early lives just to allow ourselves to be creative. There’s an invisible hand at our ankle, holding us back. One of the most common blocks to taking our writer selves seriously is our need to extricate ourselves from a sense of judgment, believing that our contribution is not worthwhile. The doubt of our personal voice runs deep. Many if not most of us are acculturated to believe that true authority lies with someone else. Yet we crave creative expression. We owe it to ourselves and our world to give voice to it.
I came through great swaths of higher academia before I found myself immersed in writing fantasy fiction. As I struggled to write a dissertation, based on research regarding communication in 21st century high schools, I longed to draw my writing from the rich material I knew – as only one’s soul knows – ran thick as sap somewhere in me, out of reach. That’s when I started Jungian dream work and other forms of inner work. In this period, I began daily journaling and have never stopped the daily practice of freewriting, which carries a mother lode of benefits – self-reflection, aid to dream work, and a sense of mental cohesion, to name a few.
It is ironic that the very discipline of writing a dissertation – along with the angst it brought, which drove me to deep inner work – led me to writing the most frivolous of all literary forms; at least it is believed to be so by some. I, however, see some fantasy fiction as holding the key to our ancient ways of mythmaking. I also believe that it has the potential to release us from a tightly defined identity into something broader, with less circumscribed edges. Sometimes the very farfetched nature of fantasy ideas can break us loose from the fetters that bind our minds and can, thereby, be healing.
Companion to the great joy I have discovered in creating fiction is the magic of a good writing group. I can see no better way to hone one’s craft than by the feedback of a dedicated, steady group of fellow writers, helping us to see where we lag in interesting vocabulary, fall into repetition, fail to stir lively curiosity or dedication to the characters. Our group’s anticipation of our next installment feeds the fires of our innovation, allows us to dare to approach revision, and renders the writing a joyful event rather than a lonely endeavor. At least that is my experience. (If you have been considering taking part in a writing group, see below.)
Marie Judson-Rosier, MA, is a teacher, freelance writer and editor. Judson-Rosier has been copyeditor for the scholarly journal Mind, Culture and Activity, an international ground-breaking publication founded by the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at UCSD. She currently serves as managing editor of ReVision, Journal of Consciousness and Transformation. In addition, she is volunteer coordinator of writing groups for Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Clubs started by Jack London. Anyone living within range of Sonoma County who is seeking a writing group is welcome to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.