Let's Write Together

Unfolding My Own Myth

By Cathleen O’Connor

cathleen O’Connor creative writing

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. . .” ~~ Rumi

When I was a child, books took me away from a house fraught with conflict and into a magical world where adventures abounded, mysteries engaged, and the specter of happy endings loomed just over the horizon. The escape and inspiration I found in books took me into worlds so fascinating that I became a real-life traveler of worlds as an adult, eager to meet people of different cultures, looking through a window into unfamiliar lives. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on a journey as Rumi says, to unfold my own myth – to discover who I was and what gave meaning to my life. For much of my adult life I was a chameleon, able to adapt the shades of my personality to the circumstances in which I found myself. A survivor’s trick. If it is not safe for you to be who you are, then it is comforting to have a magic trick of facile transformation in your bag. 

Calling myself a writer was one of the myths I kept in my back pocket as I traveled universes within and without. Even though I had won awards in college with my short stories and had my poetry published, I never spoke the words ‘I am a writer.’ Not until I spent a lazy summer afternoon at Skidmore sitting on the grass under a shade-giving elm talking with a woman twice my age about the magic of creativity and sharing my dreams of claiming my essence as writer. 

She, and many wonderful women of the Guild, taught me about real magic: magic created in the cadence and music of poetry, in the power of memoir to open the heart, in the worlds created in compelling fiction. I now know that magic exists every time a writer puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and spills part of her creative soul out to be seen, heard, spoken, read and touched.

Unfolding my own myth has been a bit like pulling on silly putty – stretching this way and that to unkink all that is not me to find that which is. It’s a journey that I joyfully continue to travel, fingers on keyboard, creating the magic that is uniquely mine. 

After all, Oscar Wilde said it best:  “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”


Cathleen O'Connor

Cathleen O’Connor, PhD

Cathleen O’Connor is a writer, speaker, teacher, coach, and intuitive who offers developmental editing, publishing, book layout, and marketing services to other writers. She has been quoted in the Huffington Post and had articles published in Alive magazine (Canada) and The Sphere (Australia). Her books include The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary and The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory. She is currently at work on a novel.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Camille Kelly

    Cathleen you are a true inspiration. You open your mind and your heart and I so admire your ability to communicate so beautifully.

  • Linda Ellinger

    As I’m reading your story I’m compelled to see in it my own. A life long journey to find within myself the spirit long buried, suppressed by my efforts to blend in. Trying to find the mirror that would reflect my own image of self. It is a fight hard won. Now I am content with the spirit that resides in me. I express that inner spirit in my words, my story, not afraid to share with others the intensity of thought and emotions unique to me. It’s the gift I bring to the world.

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