Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, was born on this day in 1904.

Although he published the book in 1949, his interest in mythology, particularly Native American mythology, was sparked by a visit as a kid to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Madison Square Garden.

It’s from his work that the concept of the Hero’s Journey derives, something Campbell describes as

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Yes, it sounds like Tolkien, but I love it as a reality check for writing fiction, and one of the few writing books I like is Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey.

Here are a few more quotes from Campbell I thought you’d enjoy. To my very great amusement, when I followed the link to Campbell quotes, the first thing I read was:

Sensuality Redefined
The New
Push Up
Demi Bra

with an appropriate illustration, before it rearranged itself as an ad at the side of the page. Here are the real Campbell quotes:

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Love is a friendship set to music.

I’m off fairly soon to the New England Romance Writers Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference, where I’m doing a workshop on servants, signing, hanging out with other writers, and shutting myself away to write.

Pam Rosenthal, who was nominated for a Rita (go Pam!) for The Edge of Impropriety, is having a contest–the prize, a copy of my August 2009 release A Most Lamentable Comedy. Go read an excerpt and enter now!

What are you up to? Reading, writing, nominated for a Golden Heart or Rita? Tell us!