This is not your typical writing book. Dennis Patrick Slattery has no interest in telling you how to develop fictional characters, build an interesting and compelling plot, or write the perfect climax scene.
Rather, the goal of Riting Myth, Mythic Riting is to help you uncover your personal myth. Slattery defines myth as the “loom on which we weave the raw materials of daily experience into a coherent story,” and “a mode of perceiving which may be more important to its health and growth than the subjects and objects of perception.”
Drawing heavily on the writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, the book’s nine chapters contain exercises for what Slattery calls “Mediations on Writing.” These are not typical writing exercises. You probably don’t want to do these on a computer; they are meant to be free-form, intuitive writing (which I don’t believe most people can do on a computer). They delve deep into the reader/writer’s psyche, with chapters on topics like Riting the Wounded Self, Riting Through the Embodied Self, and Riting the Spiritual Self.
I loved this book. I love the exercises; while I did only a few to try them out, I intend to buy a pretty journal and actually work through the entire book, to see what old wounds I can uncover that may need healing, to see what my Spirit may reveal about itself, to relearn how to write intuitively. (I’ve been so involved in writing The Storyteller’s Bracelet and now beginning work on The Madam of Bodie, I haven’t done any sort of journaling in many years.) I believe I will learn much about myself.
No, this is not your typical writing book. But I believe it is a book that can lead writers—whether you write fiction, poetry, or blog posts—to better understand themselves. And when you have that deep understanding, how can it not make you a better writer?
(The feds now wants books reviewers to reveal where they got their review books. I was given a review copy of Riting Myth, Mythic Writing by the publisher, Fisher King Press. I was not, nor have I ever been, compensated for my reviews.)