Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir (Paperback)

Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir By Maureen Murdock Cover Image
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Best-selling Heroine’s Journey author Maureen Murdock invites readers to explore their personal story within the rich tapestry of human experience by examining the craft of memoir alongside fresh writing advice and prompts.

Maureen Murdock looks at thematic connections between ancient myths and contemporary memoirs to probe questions like: What is my journey? Where is home? Her background as a Jungian psychotherapist enriches her teaching—urging us to dig deep to identify our own universal archetypes.
Writers who feel stuck or unworthy of writing about themselves will find thought-provoking inspiration and validation in this book, while those simply looking to use writing as a tool for self-exploration will examine their patterns and stories to reveal their true inner selves. And all will be left with a deeper understanding of the rich scope of the memoir genre by exploring contemporary favorites—like Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge, Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, and David Carr’s The Night of the Gun—from a mythological perspective.
Like myth, memoir reveals a unity to human experience that ultimately we all share similar hopes, dreams, and desires as well as fears, losses, and heartbreaks. Memoir helps writers understand the trajectory of their lives and helps readers better grasp our own place within the human experience.

About the Author

MAUREEN MURDOCK, PhD, a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist, has been teaching memoir writing since 1990 in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She also teaches memoir and myth for the International Women’s Writing Guild and teaches weekly classes in Santa Barbara. Murdock has written five books as well as articles for publications like Psychological Perspectives and The Huffington Post.

Praise For…

Mythmaking is a brilliant exploration of the memoir form through the lens of ancient myth and archetypes. Maureen Murdock invites the readers to look deep into their own personal mythology, identify and write about the archetypal themes in their individual lives. With her vast knowledge of myth and years of teaching and writing, she has created a roadmap with questions and prompts to “Crafting your Memoir” as a journey of self-reflection. This book bridges the gaps between diverse populations by showing how we all share similar hopes, dreams, and desires as well as fears, losses and heartbreaks. At the end, we are connected in our timeless and universal quest for the meaning and purpose of our lives.”
Flor Fernández Barrios, PhD, author of The Mask of Oyá

“As Maureen Murdock writes in the early pages of this thoughtful and empowering guide to memoir writing, ‘We all need to tell our story and to understand our story.’ For many of us, however, the telling is far more easy than the understanding. That’s where Mythmaking comes in. Memoirists and memoirists-in-the-making: Read this wise, inspired, and inspiring book. It will help you make connections you didn’t even realize were there, and to dig deeper than you would have thought was possible. And in doing so, it will bring your narrative not just to the next level but to its most profound level.”
Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press

“Add Maureen Murdock’s Mythmaking to our love and understanding of the memoir form as her salient volume does what no other writing book I know of has done before: present myth and folktale as necessary tools to stimulate and center the memoirist’s deepest aim—to find a life purpose via personal narrative. Informed by Greek tales, Bible stories, sacred feminist tracts, and an epic cohort of contemporary memoirs, Murdock shows how myths of the gods and the commonfolk harbor roadmaps, from our storytelling pasts, which may, in turn, ground an author’s hunt for an authentic self. New and seasoned memoirists will gain confidence navigating the briars and brambles of personal writing with Murdock’s inspired analysis and capacious guidance.”
Thomas Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memoirist

“Few among us understand the power of myth like Maureen Murdock. Mythmaking fiercely invites us to approach our innermost cave and fearlessly look at who we truly are. Murdock masterfully weaves together the exploration of our mythic foundations and the archetypal themes that inform our journeys. The result is an eloquent experience for readers. We all share a deep need to tell our story. Mythmaking not only helps us do that but also guides us toward a better understanding of the people and paths that have made us who we are.”
John Bucher, PhD, executive director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

“I have known and followed Maureen Murdock’s career for over 25 years. I have taught for her, with her, and have enjoyed a rich and fruitful history with her. She has taught me to think of memoir and myth as a partnership: one needs the other and one informs and shapes the other. I believe that her new achievement, Mythmaking: Self-Discovery and the Timeless Art of Memoir is the best, deepest and most all-inclusive of all that she has written to date. I believe it will join others of her titles in being translated into many languages. It deserves to be global, and not restricted to English speaking peoples. The one word that came to mind repeatedly in reading Mythmaking was elegant. She is an elegant writer and teacher. She encourages us all: “Write the story your soul wants to write.”
Dennis Patrick Slattery, coauthor of Deep Creativity

“I always tell my memoir students that they have multiple memoirs within them besides the one that brings them to my classes. Maureen Murdock’s book Mythmaking is the perfect teaching tool for illustrating this. Maureen opens up the possibility of memoir as a genre, showing its timeless possibilities while offering rich, time-bound examples. Her readers will find themselves with each chapter saying enthusiastically, ‘I could write a memoir about that! And that! And that!’ Where to begin? Right here, with Maureen’s generous offering of mythic storylines.”
Jennifer Leigh Selig, coauthor of Deep Creativity

“Vision. Guidance. Pleasure. Holding ancient myth to modern memoir, Murdock celebrates the power of words, of story. This is a page-turner not only for writers but for any reader who is curious about being alive. Even the titles of her chapters moved me: ‘Who Are My People?’ ‘What Is My Journey?’ ‘Exile And Belonging.’ To top it off she concludes each chapter with writing prompts leading us to our own stories, their force. By doing so, we join the community of women and men through all time. A spiritual practice indeed!”
Myra Shapiro, author of When the World Walks Toward You

“Maureen Murdock eloquently leads readers through explorations of their stories and shows how memoir can heal both writers and readers. . . . Though geared to readers who plan to write and publish their memoirs, Mythmaking will also appeal to those who want to understand the stories they tell about themselves.”
Shelf Awareness

Product Details
ISBN: 9781645471943
ISBN-10: 1645471942
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 200
Language: English