In the "Call of the Wild" chapter of Vital Signs, I include several drawings I did as part of a two-year attempt to capture in oil-pastel drawings my passage through a particular calling–moving from the city to the country for the first time in my life. From San Francisco to a hamlet north of Taos, New Mexico called Arroyo Seco.

In doing the drawing journal, I was following the advice of Jungian psychologist James Hillman: "When you ask, 'Where is my soul? How do I meet it? What does it want now?' the answer is, 'Turn to your images'" (such as dreams and art.) And a bit of advice from the philosopher Goethe: "We talk too much. We should talk less and draw more."

As graphic and illuminating as the drawings were to me, they were matched in revelatory power by a discovery I made shortly after I finished them: Joseph Campbell's work. He's the mythologist who popularized the "hero's journey." After reading his description of its classic stages----the call, the refusal of the call, the road of trials, the allies, the obstacles, the supreme ordeal, the receiving of the gift, and the return to the community bearing the gift----I went back to my drawings and was stunned by how closely my personal journey matched, even chronologically, the age-old hero's journey. It not only gave the notion of archetypes---those ancient and universally recurring patterns in the human experience---a huge boost in credibility in my mind, but helped me learn to trust my soul even more.

Here's the rest of the story-in-pictures. The drawings that didn't make it into the book, along with explanatory captions.