During this A to Z Blogging event, I spent some time on the central character of the story: the hero. I discussed the four main roles of the hero and how his progression from one role to the next is necessary for character growth. I discussed Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (i.e., the hero’s journey): a story that repeats throughout history and deeply resonates within each of us. Now, I want to remind you of something so elemental, it’s often overlooked.
“You are the hero of your own story.” ~ Joseph Campbell
What role are you playing?
Are you the orphan? Do you feel abandoned? Outcast? Alone? Or are you the wanderer, unsure of your path? Are you searching for answers? Seeking help from others? Learning new skills? Facing obstacles? Reacting to the opposition? Have you transitioned to the warrior? You’ve acquired the necessary knowledge, skills, and aid to achieve your goal. Now you’re proactively pursuing it. Maybe you’ve matured to the martyr where you’re willing to make sacrifices to achieve what is most important to you.
Chances are you’ve played all of these roles at one time or another as you live out the mini-plots and subplots of your life. But…what role have you taken in the central plot of your life?
Where are you in your journey?
Are you stuck in a rut, secure, but unsatisfied with the tedium of your day? Are you refusing the call to adventure? Is fear holding you back?
Have you witnessed signs of supernatural aid? Oh, I believe they exist. They occur in the serendipitous events that we are too eager to dismiss: the chance encounters, the unlikely odds, the bizarre connections, and the unconscious dreams that point you toward the desires of your heart.
Have you answered the call to adventure; crossed over the threshold into the unknown? Have you been swallowed into the belly of the whale; wrapped your former self in a cocoon in preparation for a glorious metamorphosis?
Maybe you’re traveling down the road of trials where each setback makes you want to revert to the safety of your former life. It’s easy to get discouraged, to throw up your hands in surrender. You often feel swept up in a wayward breeze, subject to the rush of wind or the sudden absence of it; set on a random course you didn’t design. What’s the point? Why not give up? After all, it’s beyond your control, right? Less evolved individuals will believe and do just that, but the truth is: you do have control. Not in the way you might think, but in your reaction to those random events that steamroll your life. Like the hero in your stories, those reactions define you.
As a writer, it’s easy to place the hero on this journey. In fact, you love to throw obstacles in his path, to see him squirm and struggle, and come up short again and again. Yet something deep inside him presses on, an innate desire to discover something better, to defeat the villain, to win the prize, to be the best he can be. He is stalwart and when he overcomes we triumph in his victory.
Why is it that your characters are often stronger, braver, better than you could ever hope to be? Why not become the hero of your own journey? Write the ending to your own story and make it a good one.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~ Dr. Seuss
To see what other A to Z participants are blogging about this month, please click here to link to their blogs.