Guest Blogger: Mary Feliz – Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of Myth – The Seamstress’s Journey

Joseph Campbell’s 17 Stages of Myth–The Seamstress’s Journey

Covid-19 transformed my life into an epic adventure, aligning neatly with the seventeen stages of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. For added drama, imagine this essay accompanied by music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or Chariots of Fire.

Ordinary World

My husband and I live with our cat Charlie in a tiny beach condo, enjoying salt air and sunshine.

Call to Adventure

Covid-19, the adversary that never tires, drew close and threatened my family.

Refusal of the Call

Do masks make a significant difference for the general public? Science at first said no. I did too.

Meeting the Mentors

Medical appointments require masks. Patterns pop up in newspapers and on the internet.
 
Crossing the Threshold.

I hauled out my sewing machine only to find it covered in rust and mold—the downside of beach living.
 
Belly of the Whale.

I dive into the internet to order supplies, ignoring my husband and cat.

Road of Trials

One machine is available to ship from Home Depot. Can I type fast enough to get it? Will it arrive before the crisis peaked? There’s no way to tell. I can’t locate elastic. I order the machine, put elastic on backorder, and sew two masks by hand. It takes forever.

Meeting with the Goddess

A UPS driver delivers the sewing machine. I’m tempted to kiss her feet, but for social distancing.

Woman as Temptress

My sister suggests I ditch the patterns I’ve found. A friend says pantyhose and paper towels form the best shield. Neighbors report that creating masks ruined their sewing machines. They all urge me to give up.

Facing the Abyss

A friend calls. Within the past 24 hours, she’s lost her mother and brother to Covid-19. My adult children live in virus hotspots. My 93-year-old mom is required to wear a mask in Connecticut. A neighboring county reports rapidly increasing cases and deaths. Locals fight to hold the line by wearing masks in public. Suddenly, making masks has more urgency. But I still have no elastic. And only 25 pins.
 
Apotheosis/Realization

Physician friends tell me masks with ties are more comfortable and easier to adjust than elastic ones. My path forward is clear.

Ultimate Boon

I complete the first mask on the machine.

Refusal of the Return

It’s time to put away the machine, get my 10,000 steps, and prep for the upcoming release of Snowed Under. But making masks is fun. And easier than writing or promotion. I make twenty-four more.

The Magic Flight

In isolation, I’m not going anywhere, but the treasure still makes its escape. I place them on neighbors’ doorknobs, knock, and run away. I send them priority mail, watching tracking details, and living vicariously.

Rescue from Without

My publicist sends me the Snowed Under marketing plan–with deadlines. I put the machine away.

Crossing the Return Threshold

I knock out blog posts and interviews like a champ, but am still drawn to making masks. I order new materials online. And decide to share my experiences in a blog post.

Master of Two Worlds

New fabric arrives, masks become mandatory, and book-promotion requests pile up. Eventually, I learn to manage both projects.

Freedom to Live

With everyone I love outfitted, we all have more freedom and more protection from Covid-19. (Hero music crescendo.)

What’s all this got to do with Snowed Under? For thousands of years, solid narrative structure creates powerful stories that keep readers turning the page and theater goers in their seats. My job is always to use all the tools I can to create the most gripping stories possible. Did I succeed? Only my readers can decide.

Are you making masks? What pattern are you using? Here’s one I used. https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask I altered the design to make two-inch-wide tie pieces. It uses more material but makes handling the fabric much easier.
 

I used this pattern for the ones with elastic. https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/

9 comments

  1. Mary C Feliz says:

    Thanks so much for hosting me today, Debra! I’ve had back to back meetings all day, so I’m checking in late, but if any of your readers have questions about narrative structure, me, or my books, I’m happy to answer them. I hope everyone has a mask they love and that everyone is staying healthy!

  2. What an excellent refresher of Joseph Campbell, and an excellent read. I’ve bought four masks, two worth keeping (they always seemed like a good idea to me). My daughter, who lives with her husband and kids in Munich, Germany, has made me two and mailed them. Still waiting for those treasures.

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