Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the WAR of ART

On a friend’s recommendation, I read a book over the weekend. The book is called the WAR of ART and it is by Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and other prominent works of fiction. The subtitle of the book reads, “Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.”

Pressfield offers copious amounts of wisdom for aspiring artists of all kinds in this short work of nonfiction. He spends most of the 163 pages of this book writing about Resistance. Resistance is anything that “prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.” Quite convincingly, he proves the existence of Resistance and he reminds us that Resistance is a formidable opponent. Resistance is “harder to kick than crack cocaine.” “You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.”

If you have strived to create anything, to stay in a relationship or marriage that is falling apart, to achieve a lofty goal, you know what Resistance is. And those in the business of creating things know most intimately the disgusting shades Resistance can wear.

“Resistance will bury you.” Reading this was like a stake through the heart. It is so damn painful, yet wise. I lament for the times in my life that were buried by Resistance. This sentence, and this whole book, worked as a motivator for me because I don’t want my life to be won by Resistance. There is no life if Resistance wins. The flame is snuffed out and all one will ever know is commonality, a truly boring existence.

Pressfield writes, “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” We all have to face important calls and actions, and this book made me ponder all types of Resistance in my life. I am going to sit down and make a list. I hope to share some of it on here, but I encourage you to do the same. Make a list of things that are keeping you from your dreams. Get them down on paper. Strike a line through them. Strike them from your life.

After writing all that, I thought of another quote, but not from the book. There are plenty of good quotes in the book. I recommend you read it, but this quote is from a movie, from The Shawshank Redemption, from Red (played by Morgan Freeman):

Get busy living or get busy dying. That's goddamn right. For the second time in my life, I'm guilty of committing a crime. Parole violation. Course, I doubt they're going to throw up any road blocks for that. Not for an old crook like me. I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope...

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