Beating Drums in the Caves of the Underworld

The Creative Process as a Journey into the Spiritual World


  • Laura Valeri Georgia Southern University



creative process, creativity, mythology, monomyth, sumerian mythology, chtonic gods, writing, writer's journey, Gardner, Campbell, daemonic inspiration, shamanic journey


Writing a story is on the surface only a matter of discipline, but I argue that inherent in the creative process is a battle between order and chaos documented in the earliest myths of civilization. I examine several myths about the journey to the underworld to suggest that these stories are metaphors for the biology and psychology that empower the creative process.

Author Biography

Laura Valeri, Georgia Southern University

Laura Valeri is the author of two collections of short stories, Safe in Your Head (Stephen F. Austin University Press) and The Kinds of Things Saints Do (University of Iowa Press), both recipients of literary awards and honors. She has written numerous short stories and essays on craft for a variety of journals and e zines, and she’s at work on a novel about Sumerian mythology. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University and an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University.



How to Cite

Valeri, L. (2012). Beating Drums in the Caves of the Underworld: The Creative Process as a Journey into the Spiritual World. Writing and Pedagogy, 4(2), 287–296.



Reflections on Practice