Cover image for The story of your life : becoming the author of your experience
The story of your life : becoming the author of your experience
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, c1996.
Physical Description:
236 p.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 616.8914 AFT 1 1

On Order



"Every life is a story, says Mandy Aftel, a psychotherapist with nearly twenty years' experience working with artists and writers. We tell the stories of our lives to friends and neighbors, on job interviews and blind dates, at slumber parties and in therapy. Too often, though, the stories we tell - and live - are cliches, simplistic tales of blame, guilt, hopelessness, and anger that limit our understanding of the past and close off possibilities for the future. "That's the story of my life," we say when things go wrong-again." "But the story of your life doesn't have to read like bad fiction. Even ordinary lives have the elements of great literature. Each of us lives three major plots-love, mastery, and loss. These plots are motivated by our needs for self-esteem, control, and separation, and they are complicated - and sometimes capsized - by the themes of sex, money, escape, and children. We enact these plots and complications with a cast of major and minor characters, the most important of whom is the narrator - ourselves." "In this tremendously original and insightful book, Aftel shows how we can assume authorship of these elements, revising trite or destructive story lines and crafting a new narrative of courage, fulfillment, imagination, and unfolding potential. Employing examples from fiction and from life and a range of imaginative thinking and writing exercises, she guides us in the creation of an artful existence, full of the complexity, nuance, and excitement of a great novel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Mandy Aftel, founder of Aftelier, creates one-of-a-kind perfumes for individuals & private labels. She is also a counselor who specializes in working with artists & writers. She is the author of three previous books. She lives in Berkeley, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 15
1. Every Day I Write the Book: The Stories of Our Livesp. 21
2. The Telltale Self: The Narratorp. 34
3. Great Expectations: What Motivates Our Plotsp. 56
4. Love, Mastery, and Loss: The Three Major Plotsp. 66
5. Money, Escape, Sex, and Children: The Four Major Complicationsp. 88
6. What Makes Sammy Run? Reading Yourself and Othersp. 119
7. Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Plots in Popular Culturep. 156
8. On the Road: How Plots Changep. 172
9. Twice-Told Tales: Telling and Retelling the Story of Your Lifep. 205
Bibliographyp. 223
Indexp. 227