100 Words #345 – And Waging War on Your Art
Four days until I head for the green mountains of Vermont. Which, “Vermont oh my gawd it’s so beautiful” and VERMONT-holy-crap-I’m-going-to-the-middle-of-NOWHERE. Yep, that sums up the wild swings between excitement and terror, and there’s no curing it, it just is what it is. But I exaggerate. These are not so much wild swings as continual low-grade oscillations that I’m more or less ignoring.
Meanwhile, I’m staying sane by making lists (they soothe me, even if I never do look at them again), taking several walks a day, networking my buns off, getting in my last visits with Valley (that’s what we call this place I’ve been living) folk, petting the cat, finishing up a copywriting project, and generally exercising various creative muscles. Like taking photos of the neighborhood wild-life.
Also, reading a couple of interesting books on my – what do you call the people you’re house-sitting for? If I’m the house-sittER, does that make them the house-sittEES? As in opposite really from employER and employEE in terms of directionality of work and pay. Anyway, those people I’m housesitting for, I’m reading a couple of their books. In particular, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield. Have you read it? You should. Really. I mean it. If you want to write, or do whatever it is that resistance gets in the way of, you should read it every day. Make it your bible.
It’s an inspirational book, yes. But it sticks with you the way other inspirational books don’t. It makes you want to sink your teeth in and never let up. It outlines the nature of resistance, and then how to combat it. Some of my favorite excerpts:
Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death.
When I lived in the back of my Chevy van, I had to dig my typewriter out from beneath layers of tire tools, dirty laundry, and moldering paperbacks. My truck was a next, a hive, a hellhole on wheels whose sleeping surface I had to clear each night just to carve out a foxhole to snooze in.
The professional cannot live like that. He is on a mission. He will not tolerate disorder. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.
It doesn’t really work to pull out excerpts, except to see his style – eloquent, and brutally to the point. It does, however, work to find a word for this week’s challenge. Your word this week, my dear word-nerds, is:
Work it well.