Can Art Be War?

A dear friend questioned Steven Pressfield‘s anthropomorphism of Resistance, the mental and emotional pushback we feel when we dare greatly, equating it with fear and wondering whether Steve’s focus might not be ill-conceived or misdirected. Here’s my answer:

Ah, Resistance and fear. Yes, of course, it’s fear. Thing is, most of us never look fear in the eye. It is a vague shape in the dark, which means obviously it’s a monster come to eat us.

I don’t accept that all things in the natural world are good, or healthy. Some things should be fought against. If I don’t remove the weeds and bug and animal pests from my garden, I don’t have as much food. If I don’t fight off some of the bugs within my body I have illness. If I don’t quash certain thoughts, I don’t have mental health.

You have a slightly different perspective from most people I’ve met because you are way way to the right on the “comfortable in your own skin” bell curve. Don’t assume that others can now, or ever, reach that level. I, for one, must constantly question my assumptions and thoughts and actions because I grew up with a load of nonsense in my head about self-worth, the value of work, the value of dreaming, the value of art, the value of money, on and on and on.

An aside: Steve P does not want to be a guru. Refuses the mantle. But he can’t stop helping people ’cause he’s a nice guy. Though try to get him to come speak at your event, fergit it. But people need a Messiah or they don’t know how to find the path. Some of us, though, can look at what Steve or Seth or whoever noticed, notice the same thing, find my own takeaway, and go on to the next thing.

Back to Resistance: We all have things we need to fight, for lack of a better word, every day. Physical health requires abstinence from some things, persistence in others. Mental health. Spiritual health. Avoid some, insist on others.

Our natural state is entropy, not growth. We tend toward being angry selfish lumps on the couch in front of reality TV. It is imperfect human nature, and it is not possible to go the other direction without work. Should we call it “work” or “effort” instead of “fight” or “war”? Okay. It’s terminology. But a spiritual writer I respect more than any person alive today, the apostle Paul, wrote about a “war in his members.” He knew what war and death were, coming from a violent persecutor’s background. He also knew peace, kindness, unselfish principled love, and spent his life until a martyr’s death teaching it and living it. So, if “war” works for him, I don’t argue it.

Am I even coming close to addressing your discomfort with “the war of art” as a term, a concept, whatever? Because I find your question fascinating and well worth discussing.

I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

Marathon, Not Sprint

Cliff Young
Cliffyoung1983. Via Wikipedia.
Immediately after urging Best Beloved to take it slower, consider her health, self-care blah blah blah, I started stressing about the post I’m supposed to write today about my Goodreads giveaway.

Pot. Kettle. Nobody here but us kitchen utensils.

I plan to get back to the Goodreads giveaway education I promised by next week, but today, I’m going to spill a bit about what we’re doing and why I’m taking it slow today.

Years ago, Best Beloved almost died of pancreas problems. Couple years later, she almost died of complications from the previous issues.

For 7 years, her primary symptoms have been fatigue, a lack of stamina. Past 6 – 9 months, it’s been extreme fatigue, general pain, and mental blur. Doctors are looking into everything from fibromyalgia to hepatitis. No reason for excessive concern yet, just do the research, find the source, and then decide what action to take.

… more … “Marathon, Not Sprint”

Do One Thing

waterfallDrip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started: … more … “Do One Thing”

Writers and Their Emotions

I’m going for a 60s health-ed movie feel in the title, in case you missed it.

sunriseWriting without emotion is pointless. If you don’t move your readers to feel something, you accomplish nothing. Even with non-fiction, teaching a topic requires moving your readers to care enough to latch on.

With fiction, emotion is everything.

It’s no wonder, then, that we fiction writers are a moody lot.

I have days of euphoria. I also have days in the doldrums. (Like when we have the rare phenomenon of 10 gloomy days straight here in the frozen north.)

A dear friend commented this morning that they were feeling down about their writing.

Steven Pressfield posted about the pure unadulterated panic induced by the research for his latest book.

It’s gonna happen. … more … “Writers and Their Emotions”

Resistance vs Reality vs Reasonableness

is it about the work or is it about the wrench thrown into it?Homeless, wandering the desert, the intrepid writer of Chandleresque cozies inched toward the final chapter of his book.

There he’d been, plugging away, over 4,000 words a day, when the house he lived in was sold, with circumstances forcing his family to move out and plan for a month-long “workation” in only 5 days.

They did it, and drove south.

It was warmer than he likes in Phoenix.

He picked up a cold in Santa Barbara.

He’s generally been busy enough, disrupted enough, tired enough to stop writing for a while. Wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable, right?

One of the places Resistance shows up is at the end of a project. … more … “Resistance vs Reality vs Reasonableness”