NOTE: It is harder to blog on a cruise ship than I anticipated. Internet Access is not only expensive, it’s spotty. This entry was written during my cruise, but I didn’t get a chance to post it until I got back.
Today we’re in Ketchikan, Alaska, our first stop on the journey. There are three cruise ships docked here, dwarfing the town. It’s a lovely spot, isolated and friendly. They obviously cater to cruise ships because there’s no shortage of art, clothing, jewellery, and tourist attracting goodies.
I asked a local how she felt about it and she said she liked that it brought more people into town. The only way anyone can get here is by boat or plane, the mountains and glaciers are impassable, so I can see how for many months out of the year, it could feel a bit lonely.
The only thing she doesn’t like, she said, was when tourists from the U.S. ask her if they take American dollars there. Doh! Sadly, she explained, it happens more often than you might think. Yes, Alaska IS part of the U.S. folks.
Yesterday afternoon we started some of the real workshop work. Dara has a PhD in mythology and uses myths to get to the heart of the Feminine Heroic. According to Dara, and I wholeheartedly agree, one of the reasons we have become so dissatisfied with contemporary films is that they have become unbalanced, over-stressing the Masculine Heroic – the external journey.
The masculine heroic journey is about the ascension to greatness, the individual staking claim, standing up to power structures, etc. The Feminine Heroic is about the internal transformational journey, going deeper into the place we call “soul.” And just as our own abductions into the underworld are essential for personal growth (i.e. our “dark years” – points of grief, sadness, depression), so these abductions are vital in creating authentic characters and stories that stay with us.
Dara’s lecture was supplemented by Deb’s writing exercises. Deb uses a combination of exercises to recall personal stories and physical sensations (i.e. where on our bodies do we feel our memories). As you can imagine, sharing these stories was quite emotional for several of us. Did I mention that we each got a pack of klenex at the start of class? I think everyone had theirs open by the end of the day.