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PHIL COUSINEAU is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer and travel leader, storyteller and TV host. His fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 35 books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires, Once and Future Myths, The Art of Pilgrimage, The Hero's Journey, Wordcatcher, The Painted Word, The Oldest Story in the World, The Book of Roads, and The Accidental Aphorist.

Burning the Midnight Oil: Illuminating Words for the Long Night's Journey Into Day

In Burning the Midnight Oil, Phil Cousineau has gathered an eclectic and electric collection of soulful prose, poems, and reflections from great thinkers throughout the ages. Whether beguiling readers with glorious poetry or consoling them with prayers from fellow restless souls, this book can relieve any insomniac's unease. From Annie Dillard to St. John of the Cross, Beethoven to The Song of Songs, this refreshingly insightful anthology soothes and inspires those who struggle--or thrive-- through the dark of the night. These "night thoughts" vividly illustrate Alfred North Whitehead's liberating description of "what we do without solitude" and also evoke Henry David Thoreau's reverie, "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."

The night writers in Cousineau's vesperal collection range from saints, poets, and shamans to astronomers and naturalists, and tell of ancient tales and shining passages from the most brilliant night owl writers of today. These poetic ponderances sing of the falling darkness, revel in dream-time, convey the ache of melancholy, conspire against sleeplessness, vanquish loneliness, contemplate the night sky, rhapsodize on love, and languorously greet the first rays of dawn. With a foreword by Jeff "The Dude" Dowd of The Big Lebowski lore, this book is the perfect companion for any lover of the late nights.

<> Listen to Phil Cousineau and Jeff Dowd on NPR's "Weekend Edition" with Scott Simon for Burning the Midnight Oil.

The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins

Phil Cousineau takes us on another tour of intriguing word origins with by exploring the colorful back stories of the few hundred words in The Painted Word. In this follow up to his popular book of word stories, Wordcatcher, Cousineau lures readers by his love of language and inspires them to be more daring and playful with words.

To untangle the knot of interlocking meanings of these painted words, logophile and mythologist Phil Cousineau begins each fascinating word entry with his own brief definition. He then fills it in with a tint of etymology and a splattering of quotes that show how the word is used, ending with a list of companion words. The words themselves range from commonplace — like biscuit, a twice-baked cake for Roman soldiers — to loanwords including chaparral, from the Basque shepherds who came to the American West; words from myths, such as hector; metamorphosis words, like silly, which evolved from holy to goofy in a mere thousand years; and words well worthy of revival, such as carrytale, a wandering storyteller. Whether old-fangled or brand new, all the words included in The Painted Word possess an ineffable quality that makes them luminous. Every reader will relish this beautifully illustrated book complete with dozens of gorgeous artworks by Gregg Chadwick. The Painted Word is the perfect gift for every book lover.

“A mystagogue, a carrytale and a thaumaturge, Cousineau makes us Argus-eyed to the ubuntu of the aprocryphal and Gemutlichkeit it provides, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you definitely need this book.” —Lemony Snicket

"Reading the pages of this beguiling paperback, we sense Cousineau's delight and enthusiasm for words and their ability to enchant and mesmerize." —Spirituality and Practice

<> Click here to listen to Phil Cousineau's interview for The Painted Word on KQED Radio's "Forum with Michael Krasny."

Phil Cousineau: Host of Global Spirit Series

Karen Armstrong, Phil Cousineau and Robert Thurman discuss "The Spiritual Quest" on Global Spirit.

Enjoy Global Spirit, the inspiring Link TV series hosted and co-written by author Phil Cousineau and broadcasting on PBS stations nationwide.

Global Spirit features topics such as "The Spiritual Quest," "In Search of Ecstasy," "The Journey Towards Oneness," "Art and the Creative Spirit," "Earth Wisdom," and more. Each show features in-depth discussions with knowledgeable guests from around the world, together with compelling film segments or live performances.

Global Spirit offers insights into some of humankind’s deepest eternal questions, tracing our collective journey in the timeless quest for truth, wisdom and understanding. Each program highlights the trans-cultural, transcendent dimensions of human inquiry, from the ancient or indigenous wisdom traditions to the latest advances in science.

Stoking the Creative Fires

Based on twenty years of teaching, Phil Cousineau's Stoking the Creative Fires will guide you on your creative journey.

~ What are you on fire about now?
~ Where does your fiery urge to create come from?
~ What do you do to rekindle the inner flame of creativity when it is nearly extinguished by despair or fear?
~ And what are you doing to pass on the torch of your inspiration?

These questions are at the heart of one of the greatest human mysteries of all—creativity. "Creativity is as natural as breathing," he writes. "To create is to grow, which in turn makes us feel vitally alive."

In this book, Cousineau explores many different types of creativity, from painting and writing to photography and movies, its use in psychological practice, its role in community life, the cultivation of work habits, the use of dreams and role of mentors, the dreaded creative block, the myth of genius, and the spiritual side of art. His goal is to demystify the creative process by revealing how every project is a creative journey that can be completed—if we keep moving with tenacity, humility, and heart. "Inspiration is a flash of fire in the human soul," writes Cousineau. "There is a force within you that breathes divine fire and brings your work to life. Honor it at all costs."

Stoking the Creative Fires offers a multitude of stories, ideas, and exercises drawn from historical and contemporary figures, artists of all kinds, and lessons from Cousineau's own experience—giving people the tools they need to rekindle passion in all areas of their lives and the inspiration they need to live passionately and creatively.

Contact information for Phil Cousineau:

- Invite Phil Cousineau to lecture or lead a workshop on creativity, writing, pilgrimage, mythology, travel, sports, beauty
- Inquire about writing or manuscript consultations with Phil Cousineau
- Invite Phil Cousineau to lead your group on a customized travel program
- Purchase autographed or other copies of Phil Cousineau's books, films, postcards, broadsides, and more

Fill out the form on this site's contact page or please write:
Phil Cousineau
Sisyphus Press
P.O. Box 330098
San Francisco, CA 94133 USA