One of the many enduring and memorable take-homes from this extraordinary book is that good writing can’t be taught – it can only be experienced. I can think of no better place to experience first-hand the inspiration and beauty of writing than Patricia Daly-Lipe’s Myth, Magic, and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity.
In this ‘tome’ – this is the author’s description – Daly-Lipe has most tastefully succeeded at serving up a lifetime of reading, writing, and teaching experience — all in the service of inspiring readers. Her enthusiasm for her subject is positively infectious. (This reader’s first thought was to send out copies of this book to friends, especially writing friends…) And she has roundly succeeded. Her tome is a delight of syncretism and synthesis, a coming together of serious scholarship, heartfelt advice, and plain old passion.
Lipe loves books. She loves them so much that she takes readers back to the origin and function of language; she explores the subconscious and extra-personal roots of creativity, visiting the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Teilhard de Chardin, Virginia Woolf, and Albert Einstein en route. Along the way, readers are treated to stopovers in linguistics, in anthropology, in mythology and comparative religion.
What a feast, what a smorgasbord of ideas! Consider, for example, the following observation on Schopenhauer: “Schopenhauer wrote of the curious feeling one can have of there being an author somewhere writing the novel of our lives.”
Readers are convincingly introduced to the notion that language shapes thought. The act of writing not only clarifies perception but is actually integral to it. Witness: “There is a mothering force to language and to the use of metaphors in particular. When you use language, you will find that it uses you. In fact, most often, it takes over and you sit back and learn from your own words.”
This book was originally written to inspire students to write and to write creatively. The sources of inspiration are diverse, as multifarious as the universe itself, including nature, music, and the soul of man.
Here is Daly-Lipe’s summation, her prescription for writing, and life success: “Continue to fall in love with great authors and great books. We are never going to know the secret of life. Darwin, the Old Testament, the Koran, the Creationists, take a little from each. The important thing is to get on with “the elation of living.” ”
Myth, Magic, and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity, could be a companion volume to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Cameron gave us the workbook, Daly-Lipe gives us the inspiration.
- David Allen, Pacific Book Review