Wednesday, November 27, 2013


H. Peter Alesso (Nov. 2013)

Thank you for allowing me to discuss some of my ideas about writing in relationship to my book,  Midshipman Henry Gallant In Space.

I love words.

That hasn't always been the case. My first infatuation was with numbers, in all its manifold forms from algebra to topology. However, with maturity came insight into the elegance and efficacy of words for expression beyond algorithms. Words elucidate the ideas of great thinkers and leaders from Aristotle to Lincoln. Consider the brief collage, “All men are created equal?” Can you doubt the inspiration of these words? Words shroud us with the emotions of others and bring nature’s kaleidoscopic scenery into view. They let us share experiences both past and present.

Our past is a tapestry, rich with dramatic experiences. Our thoughts and memories are arranged around such experiences. As memories bring the past flowing into the present, we gather words into stories that capture the drama and excitement of real and imaginary events. As such, they help us understand our place in the world.

In 1949, Joseph Campbell wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and argued that myths, spanning all time and all cultures, contain the same basic elements, or ‘archetypes.’ Campbell thought that stories formed a grand pattern he called the ‘hero's journey.’ The journey begins with the hero hearing a plea for help. When he finally responds, he crosses a threshold into a new realm where he faces great challenges and matures under the tutelage of a mentor. Finally, he becomes the master; committed to changing the world. This story archetype has thrived from the Odyssey, to Star Wars. The ‘hero's journey’ is a theater of human behavior; anecdotal but illuminating.

In Midshipman Henry Gallant In Space , I present a young man’s heroic journey. He doesn’t travel it along. He has friends, mentors, rivals, and enemies, and one more essential element, romance.

There is beauty in expressing your thoughts. Find your words. Tell your story.


H. Peter Alesso

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