Myth, Magic, and Metaphor

“[The arts are] bound to inspire imagination and creativity and awaken in scores of young people a yearning and talent many don’t know resides in them.”

Joe Biden, President of the United States

Myth, Magic & Metaphor, A Journey into the Heart of Creativity attempts to awaken the aesthetic sense, the creative muse who lurks within us all.



Today, in a cognitive/technical society, people have become more and more removed from the instinctive aspect of the psyche. My task as author is to enhance the creative spirit through myth and metaphor, to restore the sense of wonder adults experienced as children. My method is multi-sensory, interdisciplinary, and holistic. There are no limitations to what thoughts, ideas, observations, or research could and might be used to stimulate the creative process. The ultimate tool is the human heart. The medium is words. Philosophy, art, music, and linguistics are some of the disciplines used as stimulation.

As Phyllis Whitney said, learn to “think with a pencil.” What comes out on paper may be the most wonderful gift you have ever received. And, just think, dear reader, you gave it to yourself!

Before writing Myth, Magic and Metaphor as a book, Patricia taught a class by the same name both at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis and at Anne Arundel Community College, Continuing Education. The following is one of the many letters forwarded to Patricia. It reflects the same attributes taught in the course as are found in the book. In the latter case: to make the reader into a writer.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my feelings about a course I recently attended (Myth and Magic / Pat Daly, Advanced Writers Workshop).
“I would also to express my gratitude to the instructor. I entered Ms. Daly’s course as a ‘Literary Snob’, but I left with a new appreciation for the written word. Prior to attending this course, it had been twenty years since I had opened a book with Hemingway, Joyce, or Faulkner on the cover. After attenting Ms. Daly’s first session, I found myself racing to the library in search of these authors. Ms. Daly reintroduced me to a world that I had long forgotten. She provided stimulation, inspiration, and a desire to catch up on all I had missed.
“For me, more inportant than the rediscovery of other authors was the writer I discovered inside myself through Ms. Daly’s class exercises. These exercises taught me a new way of writing.
“The only complaint I have about the course is that it was far too short. There was so much more we could have covered.” . . .
(A former student)

Reviews for Myth, Magic, and Metaphor


“I“I do believe deep down within our being is the source of creativity and it is that very source which connects to the primal rhythms of the universe.”

Daly-Lipe, in her expansive work examining human creativity, begins with—and often revisits—the basic premise that we all contain a creative muse “lurking within us,” just waiting to be set free. It is characterized as spiritual in nature and simultaneously taps into the universal. Significantly, this phenomenon is also inherently shared across all of humanity. While the author’s primary focus within the world of creative expression is on the process and practice of creative writing, she makes an extensive effort to point out that similarly mysterious and deeply human factors are at play and endemic to any creative endeavor, be it music, dance, the visual arts, and so much more. The process is not something that can be taught, Daly-Lipe maintains, but rather encouraged and massaged in order to be “set free” for each of us who desires it so. It is this very process, in great detail and with an impassioned emphasis on helping her readership “set free” that creative muse from within, which the author explores throughout these pages. This is accomplished with an abundance of fervency for the subject matter at hand and in concert with a full-bodied, apparent compassion the author seems to feel for her readership.

Beginning with a quote from Joe Biden when he was Vice President of the United States regarding the inspiration of “imagination and creativity” which the arts, uniquely, can awaken within each of us, Daly-Lipe explains from the outset that this book is born from her years of teaching creative writing classes, wherein the primary goal is to “awaken the aesthetic sense and the creative muse” within each one of us, utilizing a multisensory, interdisciplinary, and holistic approach. Readers of her work, she writes, are encouraged to “enjoy the process” as they become “intoxicated with life.” The tool, says Daly-Lipe, is one’s heart. The medium, ultimately, is our very words.

The book’s current edition represents an expansion and updating of the original publication from 1999. New ideas reflecting more recent personal experiences in creativity (in general) and the creative writing process (more specifically) have been incorporated, and the expanded text additionally includes occasional accompanying photographs to further illustrate key notions. Individual chapters are dedicated to such essential and wholly significant concepts as words themselves, creativity (writ large), music, mystery, imagination, painting, participation, process, metaphor, myth, mathematics, symbols, nature, and the therapeutic properties inherent in reading and writing. Additionally, Daly-Lipe makes excellent use of a tremendous amount and range of germane quotations from such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Rainer Maria Rilke, Toni Morrison, Joseph Campbell, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Wolfe, and so many more.

Daly-Lipe’s work is all-encompassing in its embrace of the human creative spirit. The monograph at hand contains both an incredibly impressive breadth and depth of philosophical and aesthetic insight. Daly-Lipe celebrates and encourages individual release of the creative muse, which, again, is a hallmark theme of the author. Creativity, the author insists, “does not have laws.” Rather, that which is required for the writer (or the artist, or musician, etc.) is equal amounts of artistic honesty and dedication to practice. “Write, write, and write until writing becomes second nature,” she insists. “Live, look, listen and write. The magic is there inside every human being.” The many interrelated ideas and themes explored are done so with a rich elegance and tireless, infectious enthusiasm. “The most valuable aspect of writing, creative writing in particular, is the process, not the product,” writes Daly-Lipe. “It is the journey, not the destination; the creating, not the created.” The educator and author’s book, in its entirety, is indeed inspiring. It is a celebration of life itself and, undoubtedly, will serve entirely useful for those on the path to unleashing their own inner sanctuary of unfettered, quite possibly endless, creativity.

Jonah Meyer, US Review of Books


Pacific Book Review

One of the many enduring and memorable take-homes from this extraordinary book is that good writing can’t be taught – it can only be experienced. I can think of no better place to experience first-hand the inspiration and beauty of writing than Patricia Daly-Lipe’s Myth, Magic, and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity.

In this ‘tome’ – this is the author’s description – Daly-Lipe has most tastefully succeeded at serving up a lifetime of reading, writing, and teaching experience — all in the service of inspiring readers. Her enthusiasm for her subject is positively infectious. (This reader’s first thought was to send out copies of this book to friends, especially writing friends…)  And she has roundly succeeded. Her tome is a delight of syncretism and synthesis, a coming together of serious scholarship, heartfelt advice, and plain old passion.

Lipe loves books. She loves them so much that she takes readers back to the origin and function of language; she explores the subconscious and extra-personal roots of creativity, visiting the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Teilhard de Chardin, Virginia Woolf, and Albert Einstein en route. Along the way, readers are treated to stopovers in linguistics, in anthropology, in mythology and comparative religion.

What a feast, what a smorgasbord of ideas! Consider, for example, the following observation on Schopenhauer: “Schopenhauer wrote of the curious feeling one can have of there being an author somewhere writing the novel of our lives.”

Readers are convincingly introduced to the notion that language shapes thought. The act of writing not only clarifies perception but is actually integral to it. Witness: “There is a mothering force to language and to the use of metaphors in particular. When you use language, you will find that it uses you. In fact, most often, it takes over and you sit back and learn from your own words.”

This book was originally written to inspire students to write and to write creatively. The sources of inspiration are diverse, as multifarious as the universe itself, including nature, music, and the soul of man.

Here is Daly-Lipe’s summation, her prescription for writing, and life success: “Continue to fall in love with great authors and great books. We are never going to know the secret of life. Darwin, the Old Testament, the Koran, the Creationists, take a little from each. The important thing is to get on with “the elation of living.” ”

Myth, Magic, and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity, could be a companion volume to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Cameron gave us the workbook, Daly-Lipe gives us the inspiration.

I found Myth, Magic and Metaphor truly an inspirational to read. Yesterday, June Rodgers phoned and during the course of conversation re: the sale of this house, she asked if the name of the book I’d been given was Myth, Magic and Metaphor and when I said yes, she replied that she thought it was the best she had ever read on the subject of writing. I agreed!

Marjorie Van Dyke

Patricia’s book Myth, Magic and Metaphor has been awarded the New York City Book Award and the Global Book Award


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A superb handbook in that every chapter offers a great deal of food for thought. There are nuggets of wisdom in every paragraph, bite-size quotes from artists, philosophers, and authors the world over, strung together to stimulate the reader’s (student’s) mind. In chapter 7, The Mystery, Patricia talks about the ‘intelligence of the universe’ and that topic, more than the others, spoke to me because I believe we are one with the world—humankind. We share in a collective wisdom and as artists we contribute our genetic memories through writing, painting, etc., in the hopes that they might resonate with like-minded others. “Myth, Magic, and Metaphor” is like a personal Creative Writing course that I will revisit often. It is so encouraging to be affirmed in one’s artistic journey and Patricia’s book has done just that! “ “I have officially added this book to my Creative Writing shelf!

Patricia Bossano, Author [email protected]

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Reading Myth, Magic, and Metaphor was like sitting down for a free-associative conversation with a dear, bright friend. I love the way you see connections between philosophers and writers separated by centuries and continents. I find few people can keep up with that kind of non-linear thinking, and it was a joy to find you!’

Barbara Amster

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I was just telling some friends recently that your Creative Writing classes back in 1995-96 at Maryland Hall spurred (I thought you’d like the horsey verb!) me to reconnect with my creative spirit – and I’ve continued writing with gusto these past 20 years! Thanks so much for your remarkable inspiration!!! You were my catalyst!

Shirley Brewer

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Excerpt from la Joie book review Click here for full review

Myth, Magic, and Metaphor is a book for everyone. For those who love and care for animals, nature and the Earth, there is encouragement of your deeply intuitive feelings. For those who also choose or feel compelled to write of their feelings, to honor those who have graced their lives, this is an invaluable manual and companion to the craft of such expression. Or if you just want a great book to inspire and delight you—this is the one. Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe is friend to us all, whether or not you have had the great pleasure of personally knowing her. As one who honors others’ lives, both of the human and animal kind, she not only offers a gift with her writings (and paintings) but does the hard day-to-day efforts of working with rescued animals. Her heart is right on the task and over the years, many have benefited from her dedication.

La Joie is a quarterly publication dedicated to promoting appreciation for all beings through education, adoption/sponsorship, and inter-support programs. Blessing the Bridge – Animal Peace Garden

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            READER’S FAVORITE REVIEW RATED    4 STARS The goal is to become intoxicated with life. The tool is the heart. The medium is words.” Writing, as Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe illustrates time and again in her book Myth, Magic, and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of Creativity, is a combination of intuition, desire, and open-mindedness mixed with hard work, long hours, and a solid foundation. Dr. Daly-Lipe presents a solid foundation for creative writing students to start their journeys into writing and any aspiring or veteran writer to use as a springboard for his or her next book. Each chapter provides an opportunity to explore how creativity comes about from inspiration, which feeds the process of writing (the focus here) and any artistic endeavor. From using a word’s etymology to fuel its power to tapping into the rhythmic beat of Mozart, “[w]riting is a way of introducing wonder and surprise to ourselves.” Creativity requires – if not outright demands – that you slow to a halt and let everyone else race past while you take in the sights. Once you have your fill of everything around you, find a way to translate your experiences from your mind and your heart into something people wouldn’t mind slowing down to get more of. Writing is only one of many, and Dr. Daly-Lipe is more than happy to help. I feel Myth, Magic, and Metaphor is best utilized as a textbook for college and possibly high school students attending creative writing courses. Dr. Daly-Lipe fills the book with lots of quotes from a wide range of influential people, including authors, philosophers, poets, Nobel Prize winners, and musicians. She goes in depth into how words have power, whether that power is for good or for bad, and how those words can give sentences life by the way they are placed together. She argues that an artist being idle is not the same as being lazy; for the artist to be inspired to create and encourage the imagination (both of which are intrinsic to creativity), the artist must be able to relax his or her body and mind deeply to let the images/words come to the forefront. Once in the forefront, the artist will likely feel compelled to express these images/words in the physical world through stories, paintings, or even dance. The sources of inspiration are present all around us – we need to be more childlike in viewing the world, the environment, and ourselves. This can be quite difficult in this fast-paced world, but I believe that makes creativity and being creative so appealing. Many want more creativity for their jobs or careers; out of that many, few will find that creativity extends much further than those confines. Creativity is not creative unless it starts from deep within the creator and reaches out (by way of a medium) to touch another person, inspiring him or her to be a creator as well. Myth, Magic, and Metaphor is Dr. Daly-Lipe’s way of inspiring others to be creators within their own right through the medium of words.

Reviewed by Ayrial King for Readers’ Favorite

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    One usually remembers creative people for their productivity, not for their thoughts on the origin or the process which leads to their resulting achievement. In this book, the authoress explores what creativity means to musicians, historians, artists, poets, philosophers, scientists, and even mathematicians through the medium of their own words. Each chapter begins with a topical quotation. These introductory words match the chapter title and set the tone for the chapter’s content, whether it be art, myth, magic, or music. Ms. Daly-Lipe lures the reader in with thoughts on creativity as expressed by the likes of Aristotle, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, Toni Morrison, and Joseph Campbell (to name but a few). Her real purpose appears to be to draw us into the writing process. Each chapter is interspersed with words of encouragement such as “Write the way you perceive and the way you feel”(p. 72) or “Write about what you see but also write about what you cannot see” (p. 143) or “Don’t question whether to write and don’t procrastinate doing it.” (p. 158) Each chapter also gently concludes with an assignment for those of us who need structure to get us writing: “Your assignment is to slow down.” (p. 39)(Ch. 2) or “Let yourself tell you more about your self.” (p. 81) (Ch. 6). Ms. Daly-Lipe urges us to read all sorts of authors, not just current best sellers; to listen to Mozart and Bach for rhythms; to study science and language for insights into the magic of symbols. This slender tome is a handbook for creative writing whether for the individual looking for a different perspective on the craft or for the student needing to find references for a writing class. To quote Phyllis Whitney, as the authoress does at the beginning and end of her book, “…think with a pencil.” I say read this book, take up your pencil, and write.

A. L.

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13 Oct 2011 Your book has touched my soul and stoked the artist in me. For the last year, I’ve been working on a book of letters, and inspiration can be tough.  I’ve found myself attaching my creative source to many unreliable things versus allowing myself to feel and let go of what’s famililar and safe. Your book has provided such validation and guidance that I truly believe that I’m on my way to realizing a dream — to fulfill my purpose. Our meeting was not by chance. Your words, as well as the collection of sentiment you gathered, have moved something deep within me and confirmed a mission that I know must be completed. I feel blessed. If you are planning any more creative writing seminars or will be speaking somewhere soon or in the future, please do let me know. I’d be honored to speak with you again and personally thank you for mentoring me through this wonderful and terrifying creative process.

Alexis Holmes

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Creativity: A Journey to the Source

   Almost all writers experience an interruption to the flow of creativity from time to time. On January 12, artist and writer Patricia Daly-Lipe shared her beliefs about creativity, where it originates and how to connect with our source. As a former student of philosophy, Daly-Lipe has plenty of experience living the examined life. She believes that the journey to creativity involves the process, not the final product…. Daly-Lipe specifically urges writers to allow the words to flow until they take over and time stops…. To connect to the source of creativity, we also need to see the world in a new way. Daly-Lipe advises writers to allow the world to reveal itself. The word reveal originally meant “remove veil”. When in the act of observing, we need to peel back the layers in order to find the truth. According to Daly-Lipe, we are part of nature and the universe is within us. As artists, we have an innate ability to perceive the beauty of the world. Daly-Lipe urges us to take the time to look around. Return to the state of child-like excitement when we learned something new. “The sunset is always there, but really take the time to enjoy it. Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary,” says Daly-Lipe. At one point in the evening, she shared this memorable quote: “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but want of wonder.” Most importantly, we should create some record of our lives. Daly-Lipe’s book La Jolla, A Celebration of Its Past is a collection of essays and vignettes that describe history from the point of view of the people who settled there. Daly-Lipe laments that people write few letters today. E-mail is the primary means of communication and messages are usually deleted. She urges us to save e-mails and to keep journals in order to pass on something of ourselves. …Daly-Lipe also reminded us that creativity does not need a purpose. The process should be reward enough. Allow spontaneity to express itself and live in the moment.

Danielle Ring, WIW Member (Washington Independent Writers)

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“Myth, Magic, & Metaphor is luminous with oracular wisdom about the nature and sources of creativity.  From first page to last, this book will inspire you to be inspired.” The book was composed to do just that: inspire. It is not to teach or to substantiate a bias. It was written as a jumping off point for the reader to become the writer using etymology, mathematics, painting, music, philosophy, even psychology as some of the concepts for stimulation. As Joseph Campbell stated, ‘The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Nothing more is requested of the reader. Take away the rules. Listen to your heart. That is where you will find the source; in this case, the source of creativity.

Richard Lederer, author, Lecturer, and co-host for KPBS radio program A Way with Words”

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  I read, reread and reread MM&M as there is an abundance of enriching material in it. It takes me to a different plane of experience.

C. Cook

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  For me, this was a delightful and refreshing book to read. I found myself underlining and asterisking numerous phrases throughout the book to refer to again and again. I would highly recommend it to anyone involved in or interested in the creative arts.

Jane Best, Morgantown, NC

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  I read MM&M in one sitting on a bench in Union Square Park, completely engrossed, and unaware of the lunatic babbling of Park denizens. An embarrassment of riches, to say the least. I really enjoyed your ranging mind, and the manifold use of citations and poetic snippets. You are a quintessential humanist. And best of all, you helped unblock me from non-writing.

Joseph Roccasalvo, S.J. author of seven novels including Portrait of A Woman, Chartreuse, and The Odor of Sanctity plus two plays so far.

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  For anyone looking for their creativity button this small, dynamic book is a must read. Ms. Daly leads the reader through an understandable path to finding your creative juices without wandering too far off the journey to finding your writing powers. With the many exercises she includes within the chapters it makes this 107 page book even more valuable.  I found this journey to writing can also be applied to other arts that the reader may be interested in pursuing.<

Pamela Binder, Bay City, MI

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  I have loved reading Myth, Magic and Metaphor. Like a mocingbird sucks nectar; it’s been food for my soul fueling my creative process. Thank you for the gift of it. There is so much magic in life, and it’s joyful to witness synchronicities dancing many moments of the day. Your book tapped that mythical connected place, and I feel close to you as the author, as if we have had a close conversation for many hours. …I completed my BA at UCSD doing a special projects major entitled “Symbol, Ritual and Transformation” that dealt with my near-death experience through fine art. I have taught hundreds of creativity courses in the years following my BA, as well as developing a private practice integrating psychology, creativity and spirituality. (My PhD dissertation was entitled “Art and Soul: Creative Process as Spiritual Path”, I’d like to turn it into a book-sound familiar?) Our teaching philosophy is very similar. Now, after 20 years of supporting other people in their journey, I am taking a year long sabbatical to do my own creative work of writing and painting full time. Yeah! So your book landed into my hands in perfect timing. In my daily writing this morning, a rain of tears came down my face when I wrote about aching to share more of myself with the world in my writing and art. Your book encourages me. It was fun to discover through your web site that you are a painter as well…

Lisa Longworth, Director of the Expressive Art Therapy Department of International University of Professional Studies

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   I can fly! Although I purchased this book for my daughter to share with high school students in her English and creative writing classes, I decided to read it myself before sending it. What a great decision! I read it like a novel, thereby receiving the full impact of the encouragement and excitement being created within me as I turned the pages quickly. Before I had completed the book, I was totally inspired with renewed confidence to practice being creative in ALL areas of my life, not just in my writing. I moved things around my home with abandon, made new desserts with a flourish, and even dared to tie a scarf around my neck and go out in public! All of these things were great FUN! I may never write a novel, but this book has surely inspired me to use my creative spirit as I spice up my life. I thank you, Patty Daly-Lipe for that, and I truly believe this must have been the reason you wrote this book!

A reviewer, Bed & Breakfast owner, March 3, 2004,

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   I found this book to be a great source to get the creative juices flowing in ones mind. It isn’t a ‘how to’ book. I believe another reviewer simply didn’t understand the authors intention. It is a great upper for anyone feeling a lag in creativity when writing.

Ben, A reviewer, March 1, 2004.

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    In the Fall, 2004 issue of laJoie Magazine, (laJoie and Company, P. O. Box 145, Batesville, VA 22924 (540)456-6204, publisher Rita Reynolds has written a lovely “Tribute” to me and to my book, Myth, Magic & Metaphor. I am humbled by such praise. She speaks of my having “a strong sense of compassion, intelligence, creativity, and selflessness.” But it is to the readers of my books that the best tribute comes. “…Myth, Magic & Metaphoris one of those little books that is pure treasure, the needed lift when the spirit is weary.” She then quotes from the book: “More than ever, I feel, three aspects of the human psyche need to be developed, namely: imagination, inspiration, and creativity…. For the artist, there is clarity and an order in the beauty of nature. Our participation in and with nature allows us to recognize that fact. The universe is truly both within us and without/outside us. There is nothing new in this world that is not old. All this, the artist observes and records.” Thank you Rita for writing “Standing Tall: A Tribute”. For my web readers, please look at Rita’s book,Crossing the Bridge, What Animals Have to Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond and check out her web site. Also, I encourage you to look at her son, Tim’s, beautiful art work,portraits of pets:

Patricia Daly-Lipe, author

Additional information

Weight 7.5 oz
SKU 979-8-6844-7124-7