Some time ago I began casting about for a book idea big enough to encompass the many lessons of in my twenty-five years of travel, human observation, and professional storytelling.
At the same time, I was nagged by a strange and growing recognition that the story patterns I observed in my fictional writing, were showing up in the everyday lives of the humans I knew as well! Real humans. Real ugly ducklings. Real Romeos & Juliets. Real men and women battling their way home through some Odyssey of challenges that could not have been more perfectly written to transform them!
At first glance these alignments were simply odd. The kind of cute conversation heard at university cocktail parties. ‘Doesn’t OJ Simpson remind you of Othello? The celebrated black hero, driven by mad jealousy to murder his white wife?’ Or doesn’t such-and-such athlete make the perfect Cinderella story? Rising from neglect to claim the gold?
And yet, as these alignments continued, they became harder and harder to laugh off. Something was going on here! All around me, life was unfolding in patterns that the dramatist in me could not fail to recognize. Now why, I wondered, would that be?
This book is about the ‘you’ you do not know. The you that drives your unconscious behavior, your appetites, your creativity and yearnings. The fact that you do not know this side of yourself is no indictment of you personally; or your intellectual faculties or perceptivity. Your mind was designed to hide these things from you – with each of us being divided from ourselves by sleep. We are divided into a ‘conscious self’ we know, and into an ‘unconscious self’ we know almost nothing about, except that it is connected in some mysterious way to forces larger than ourselves. This predicament leaves you, cosmically speaking, just outside the loop of what’s really going on. And striving – if you’re smart – to figure it out.
One of the things we humans most need to believe is that there is something more to life than what we can see and hear and taste and touch. That there is some invisible plane of existence beneath it all – hidden to our mortal eyes perhaps – but that there exists some connection to something greater than ourselves, that gives us meaning and purpose and, yes, the belonging we all seek.
This thing we seek goes by many names as we move through life. As children, we know it as magic. Or as the superpowers we imagine we possess. Later, we will know it in our dreams and imagination. Or in a love that takes hold and drives us to seek a bigger world and all its promise. If we are lucky, we will glimpse it again in the eyes of our newborn child; while others seek it out in temples and among fellow pilgrims.
Still others will find this connection in God or the ‘hands of fate’ that arrive at crucial moments to guide them towards the purpose and meaning they seek. But whatever we call this invisible plane, it is less important than that we recognize its power to shape our lives – as it has done for millennia – for it is a powerful, determinative force seeded so deep within, you could not rip it out if you tried.
This book is about coming to terms with your side of this mystery. The recognition that these stories – these myths – do recur, again and again, in lifetime after lifetime, for one specific purpose: to teach us and make possible those things we have come here to achieve.
If that’s too mystical for you, my apologies. But I think you’ll find in reading this book, that mystical thinking is an unavoidable consequence of asking how one’s life works. Or asking how each of us is bringing to life the very stories we most need, in order to achieve those things we came here to do. As a dramatist, I find these insights fascinating. As a human, I find them indispensable.
I have done my best to lay out the answers I’ve found in this book, playfully entitled – Quick, Where’s My Cape? – for reasons that will soon become obvious. I offer these insights, with abiding gratitude, for those teachers who have made real self knowledge possible for me. CG Jung, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, and my own most seminal teacher, the late great Professor Frank Daniel, Dean of USC’s School of Cinema when I knew him, and founder of many prestigious programs before that.
I hope this work opens your eyes as it has mine. And that we are all the happier for it.
OFFER: Purchase this book on any format: Amazon, Kindle or iBooks and if you remain unconvinced of its value and application to your life, let me know and this author will personally refund your costs in full (with receipt). You won’t get deal that from Simon & Schuster! So take a leap. Buy the book. It should take you about three days to read what it took me twenty-five years to figure out.