7 Aha Moments from ‘Engaging the Feminine Heroic’

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The magical lecture by author and script consultant Dara Marks began, appropriately enough, with a blustery downpour. A unique co-production between New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and Writers Guild of America East, “Engaging the Feminine Heroic was an invitation to honor our mythological heritage and explore the archetypal structures of our stories and ourselves.

The following morsels are my takeaways and understanding of the ideas introduced during Marks’ central thesis, which had to do with the necessity of integrating both the masculine and feminine realms into our narratives and recognizing that every hero(ine) must journey through both.

Seven concepts that struck my soul:

  1. Narrative has a higher function. It carries information on how to live. It is “not simply a thing, but the very air we breathe, the very thing we swim in.” The moment it passes, it becomes memory. 
  2. The very fact that certain myths have survived through the ages indicates there is a timeless truth to those narratives. We can look to them for inspiration for our writing and our lives. 
  3. When we’re young, we make decisions about who we are going to become. Eventually, the other aspects of ourselves go to war to get us back. 
  4. The masculine side of our nature strives for ascension; the feminine, for connection. 
  5. Embedded in the masculine pull towards ascension is the desire to reach inherently unattainable heights. With every benchmark achieved in art and life, it is never enough. Goalposts shift. There is always a crisis of faith. 
  6. The crisis of faith inspires and requires a descent into the feminine underworld. We emerge “more ourselves” at the other end. Creativity grows out of the “compost [of the] debris of life.“ 
  7. “In the young feminine, [as in the Persephone myth] there is an abduction… The mature feminine hears the call.”

By the time I was ready to go home, the deluge had subsided—and I’d found a friend with an umbrella.

AMANDA PRASOW

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