Monomyth. It’s kind of an off-putting word at first. The prefix “mono” makes us think of mononucleosis, which psychosomatically leaves us feeling tired, achy, and violently contagious. Then there’s myth, which by nature is a distant word, tending to indicate that which is either primitive or false and in need of busting.
Monomyth as a concept is beautiful, though. It’s a term coined by Joseph Campbell referring to the classic sequence of actions and/or stages that most stories have in common. It’s the greater Story that runs through every story.
Volumes upon volumes have been written on this subject. Campbell himself is the authoritative figure and his concept of the hero’s journey is the plumb line for every narrative. Robert McKee has become a Hollywood demigod by taking the elements of Story and teaching thousands of aspiring artists to apply them for success in movies, TV, and theater. Don Miller has inspired thousands in today’s churches through his experience with Story and the resulting Storyline movement.
All of these men have taught me that successful, resonant stories follow the structure of the greater Story; unsuccessful ones…don’t. Story’s structure is not a formula or an academic model so much as it is truth that flows from spiritual pursuits. Because I am a Christian, the greater Story that I read is that of Jesus. Jesus is the Hero with a thousand faces, the issuer of the Call, the goddess, the Father, and the home to which we return. His Story is in our stories, and His example enables us to live ours well.
As a result, I derive great inspiration from movies, books, television, theater, and just about every other creative endeavor – and I figure, why go through life as such a total nerd unless I can benefit others with my nerdiness? It is my hope that, through this blog, I may encourage you on your journey. The great Story is ours to live, if we can open our ears to its Call.
Here’s to our successful journey together!