“Every woman has to learn where her true source of validation is.”
― From The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness
Welcome to my website, which is devoted to memoir writing and the heroine’s journey. My work explores the mysteries of the psyche, a fascination with mythology and a love of story telling and memoir writing. In 1990 I wrote the best selling book The Heroine’s Journey as a response to Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. It was groundbreaking at the time and continues to inspire a new generation of women. A critical stage of The Heroine’s Journey addresses every woman’s yearning to create so my blog will explore memoir writing as a powerful creative expression of each person’s desire to understand their life and the lives of their loved ones. My blog will also explore the public policy issues relating to mental health, addiction and the criminal justice system as they affect our world today. I hope you will also visit my photography gallery Changing Woman: Contemporary Faces of the Goddess where I present portraits and interviews of women whose focus is feminine spirituality.
Latest Posts from the Blog
Surgeon General: Addiction is a Disease of the Brain, Not a Moral WeaknessNovember 18, 2016
Four Traits that Put Kids at Risk for AddictionNovember 12, 2016
Smaller than a SnowflakeSeptember 13, 2016
Phase Out Private For-Profit PrisonsAugust 20, 2016
Visit The Gallery: Changing Woman
View Maureen’s extraordinary portraits and interviews with women artists, dancers, activists, and writers whose focus is feminine spirituality.
Art of Memoir: A Weekend Workshop by Maureen Murdock
Sat. – Sun., March 4 – 5, 2017 • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
UCLA, Los Angeles
The essence of a great memoir is the writer’s voice and how he or she brings the reader into a scene with sensory details. Vivid characters, evocative settings, and pitch-perfect dialogue are essential for the reader to remain interested. In this two-day workshop, you learn the essentials of character development, dialogue, and structure through in-class writing exercises and excerpts of published memoirists such as Mary Karr, Abigail Thomas, and Myra Shapiro. You will also work to uncover your truth, develop insight into the larger themes of your story, and cast yourself as a compelling character.
Contact Phoebe Lim for registration at 310-825-9416.
Writing Down the Soul: A 9-Month Certificate in Memoir Writing
with Maureen Murdock, Jennifer Selig, and Daphne Dodson
Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara
Residential Dates: March 30 – April 1, 2017 and Dec. 8 – 10, 2017
Optional Summer Residential Writing Retreat: August 28 – Sept. 1, 2017
A memoir is an exploration of a particular slice of a person’s life. In the act of writing it the author makes meaning. She wants to know who she was in the past, and who she is now telling the tales of her past. The vitality of the form comes in discovering what the present self knows that the past self could not have known. In doing so, the writer helps us reflect upon our own lives as well. Memoir is a depth inquiry, a form of writing down the soul.
Participants in this unique certificate program will spend eight months online with faculty facilitators Jennifer Selig and Daphne Dodson. Each month begins with an exploration of a distinct theme in memoir writing, and ends with the submission of several pages of writing for faculty and group feedback. The online portion of the program is bookended by two weekends with leading memoir teacher and writer Maureen Murdock.
The popularity of memoirs today reflects the desire to find meaning in the mystery of our lives and to understand our unconscious choices, actions, and dreams. Memoirists are our contemporary myth makers. Myth can be seen as an ordering principle that gives coherence to the way our memories unfold, and the mythic themes of family relationships, quest for identity, love and betrayal, personal sacrifice, and death dominate contemporary memoir writing. In this workshop you will write a short memoir piece that explores a mythic theme.
Books by Maureen Murdock
Maureen Murdock’s books have enriched the lives of thousands of people and been translated into over a dozen languages.
“Combining personal experience and painstaking erudition, Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey shares with us the essence of the female journey. A fine, warm, and insightful book.”
—Carol Pearson, author of The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
—Kimberly Snow, In Buddha’s Kitchen
“Unreliable Truth is both a beautifully crafted book about memoir writing and a rich, honest memoir on its own.”
—Susan M. Tiberghien, Circling to the Center
It started as an essay about the similarities between myth and memoir but took on a more personal meaning as Maureen’s mother struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. Maureen began to look at the relationship of memory to identity as the loss of her mother’s memory affected her sense of herself. It also brokered a healing in the relationship between mother and daughter. As Maureen wrote, the book became more and more about the relationship with her mother and less and less about myth.
It is used in college writing courses throughout the country.
—Los Angeles Times
“Groundbreaking and dynamic. …a moving exploration of the feminine journey from father’s daughter to peer.”
—Brenda Peterson, Nature and Other Mothers
Through myth, fairy tale, case studies, and Jungian psychology, best-selling author Maureen Murdock explores the unique relationship between a “father’s daughter” and her father, its rewards and pitfalls, and how this idealized relationship affects the mother daughter bond. This rich and thoughtful analysis examines Beauty and the Beast, Donkeyskin, The Wizard of Oz, King Lear, and The Handless Maiden to empower the father’s daughter to untangle the ties that bind her to her father and redeem a female vision that is truly powerful and nurturing.
— NAPRA ReView
- Separation from the Feminine, in which a woman searches for an identity in a masculine-defined culture
- The Road of Trials, in which she challenges the myths of female inferiority, dependency, and romantic love
- Spiritual Aridity, a feeling of having lost herself in her struggle for achievement
- Initiation and Descent, a period of drawing inward and looking for the lost pieces of herself
- Urgent yearning to reconnect with the Feminine and heal the Mother-Daughter Split
- Integrating and healing the wounded parts of her inner Masculine
- The Sacred Marriage, which occurs as she learns to integrate and balance all aspects of herself.
The chapters include questions for reflection as well as exercises in guided imagery, writing, art, and dreamwork to bring clarity and understanding to the quest. Finally, the skills learned on this archetypal journey prepare a woman to work toward the larger quest of bringing consciousness to others and preserving the balance of life on earth.
—Joseph Chilton Pearce
If you have ever wished you could show children and teenagers how to enrich their lives with meditation and visualization, this book will delight you. It presents simple exercises in guided imagery designed to help young people aged three through eighteen to:
• Relax into learning
• Focus attention and increase concentration
• Develop good listening skills
• Stimulate creativity
• Build a strong self-image
• Improve academic, artistic, and athletic skills
• Cultivate inner peace and group harmony
The use of guided imagery has been internationally recognized as an effective method of “whole brain” learning. The author’s approach will have special appeal to parents and teachers who are frustrated by an educational system that seems to reward only those children who excel at verbal, linear learning. With the exercises in this book, young people can discover the learning styles that are effective and enjoyable for them. These techniques of guided imagery offer adults as well as children a unique way to tap the wealth of creativity and wisdom within.
—Julie F. Maloney
“It provides guidance for those going through this first hand, and is an excellent source of information for family members and friends who what to learn more.”
As a mother and a psychotherapist, it was difficult for Maureen to find adequate resources when her son was first diagnosed so she offers tools to navigate these turbulent waters. Included are suggestions about Mental Health First Aid, personal recommendations for links to TED Talks by two young people talking about living with bipolar disorder and community resources a family can access for support before, during, and after a mental health crisis. Like the award-winning movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” The Emergence of Bipolar Disorder: A Mother’s Perspective gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges a family experiences when a child is struck with a mood disorder.