Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE

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ARCHIVES OF July, 2010

The Creative Process

The Creative Process

Sebastian Junger

By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 30, 2010

Sebastian Junger is the author of The Perfect Storm, which spent over three years on the New York Times bestsellers list—and was the basis for the motion picture starring George Clooney. He also is the author of New York Times bestsellers Fire, and A Death in Belmont, is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. His most recent book, WAR, a New York Times bestseller that follows a single platoon based at a remote outpost in the Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan, was released in May 2010. Sebastian’s time in the Korengal Valley is also the subject of the documentary Restrepo, which Sebastian directed with award-winning photographer Tim Hetherington. Restrepo won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for documentary at Sundance and was released theatrically as a National Geographic Entertainment presentation of an Outpost Films Production in June. Its worldwide television premiere on the National Geographic Channel will take place this fall. Check out Sebastian’s work, connect with the soldiers profiled in the WAR and Restrepo, and interact with other readers via Sebastian’s community site, Twitter and Facebook.

(more…)

Posted in The Creative Process
4 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Ambition

By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 28, 2010

Thirty-something years ago, I read a book that changed my life. The book was by Norman Podhoretz and it was called Making It. I can’t really recommend it as a read for today (I tried a month ago and couldn’t get through it) and I certainly find little to admire about Mr. Podhoretz’s current politics. But his book hit me like a box of dynamite. It overthrew everything I thought I knew about myself and turned my life around 180 degrees.

No, not Gordon Gekko (though I love the guy)

Making It is about ambition. Mr. Podhoretz’s thesis is that the “dirty little secret” of American life is not sex, but ambition. Lust for success, he said, is the love (the book was published in 1967) that dare not speak its name.

When I read Making It, I was living in a rented room in a halfway house in Durham, North Carolina, making $1.75 an hour delivering reconstituted orange juice, Salisbury steaks and frozen Crinkle-Cut French fries to restaurants and school cafeterias. But when I read Mr. P’s confessions (in a 35-cent used paperback picked up at the Goodwill Store), I thought, “That’s me.”

I didn’t dare breathe a word. And certainly nothing altered in my external life. But everything had changed inside me. Norman P. had obliterated denial. He had forced me to own up. I may be a bum, I told myself; I may be a loser, I may still have a long way to fall before I hit bottom. But the truth is I ain’t happy being a bum and a loser and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life at the bottom.

I hate what I’ve done to myself. I hate what my life has become. I want to do something great, and I want people to know about it. At the time I was years away from finding a job that anyone might call half-respectable and a generation away from making my first dollar as a writer. But that was only surface stuff. Inside, I had changed. Inside, I had taken the first step. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
43 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Icons and Iconization, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | Published: July 21, 2010

Last week’s post was great fun for me because of the generous, insightful and tremendously articulate Comments that came in. Thanks to everybody who took the time to write; I appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else does too.

Marilyn Monroe's house. How soon can we move in?

When I first started Writing Wednesdays about a year ago, friends told me I would be surprised at how interactive the exchange would become. That’s starting to come true and I love it. If you haven’t glanced through last weeks’ Comments, a quick scroll will be well worth it.

What I enjoyed most about last week’s Coments, even beyond the content, was the tone of voice.  Almost universally, the tone was peer-to-peer. Nobody was being snarky on the one hand, or overly diffident on the other. My own view of this forum and those who read it is that we’re all soldiers in the same trenches, fighting the same enemy (which is the Resistance and self-sabotage inside ourselves) and that we’re trying to help each other and psych each other up by sharing experiences and insights.  So thanks again for the tremendously thoughtful and generous contributions. That’s what I was hoping Writing Wednesdays would be all about.

My faves

Two of most provocative Comments were about demonization, the opposite of iconization, from John Terry’s Mum–and self-iconization from Robert Burton Robinson. Talk about new forms of Resistance! Our cup runneth over.

If iconization is endowing others with powers or gifts that we ourselves possess but are afraid to claim or embrace, then demonization, its reflection, must be the projecting onto others (or groups of others) of those vices and character defects that we ourselves possess but insist on remaining in denial of. Surely we are living in the Age of Demonization. Someone should write a book about it? JT’s Mum?

Even more intriguing to me is the idea of self-iconization. Could this be the disease that brings down so many celebrities and scandal-busted politicians? If we make an icon of ourselves and then worship it, hmmmm … that doesn’t sound like a formula that the gods are going to be too happy with.

Quick, somebody start this T-shirt business!

But the most potent Comment on last week’s post, I think, was the one from Jon, remarking on T-shirts that say What Would X Do? Jon wrote:

I want a T-shirt that says “What Would I Do?” (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
19 Comments
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