Sunday, October 25, 2009
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Internet Review of Books is putting together a Christmas gift list for readers and their request for suggestions set me to thinking about what books I would like to receive as well as give. And then I thought, "What books do I wish my loved ones would read."
I want my sons to read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
It is the time when I'm caught in a nine-to-five job when my mind dwells obsessively on the 'what ifs' and the unlived life that Pressfield depicts so well. "Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be?"
He insists that the one thing that stands between the wannabe writer and the real writer is one thing: Resistance.
He writes: "Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust int he attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? ....Then you know what Resistance is."
And he speaks of various kinds of resistance, how to feed it and what it likes. There's a reason the Bible has the passage: "Fear is of the devil." Fear stops more people in their tracks than anything. Resistance feeds on fear, according to Pressfield. And explains the fear is of consequences that come from following one's heart.
"Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency.
Fear of groveling when we try to make it on our own, and of groveling when we give up and come crawling back to where we started.
Fear of being selfish, of being rotten wives or disloyal husands; fear of failing to support our families, of sacrificing their dreams for ours.
Fear of betraying our race, our 'hood, our homies.
Fear of failure.
Fear of being ridiculous.
Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for...."
And the MASTER OF ALL FEARS:
Fear that we will succeed. And with this success we will move out of the comfortable niche, cut the ties and connections that make us a member of the 'tribe' or family where we know what to expect, who to trust, and how to survive and who will help us in that survival. All will be new and strange and foreign in this world of success.