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

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ARCHIVES OF November, 2010

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

The Amnesiac’s Story

By Steven Pressfield | Published: November 24, 2010

[The blog is on vacation this week. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Here’s one of my fave posts from a little while ago:]

Two of the most popular movies of the past few years are The Hangover and The Bourne Identity. What do they have in common? They’re both amnesia stories.

Bourne Identiry

Matt Damon and Franka Potente from "The Bourne Identity"

I love amnesia stories. What could be more fun? Guy wakes up face-down on the floor of a villa in Vegas, or floating in a wetsuit off the coast of Marseilles. He remembers nothing. Who is he? How did he get there? And where the hell did that tiger in the bathroom come from?

Why do we love amnesia stories? Because we sense, at some level, that they’re the secret narrative of our lives. We’re searching for ourselves too. We know we’re somebody; we’re just not sure who. Remember Stanislavski’s famous questions that every actor must ask himself in a role: “Who am I? How did I get here? What do I want?” In My Dinner With Andre, Andre Gregory relates an encounter-type experience that he witnessed in a Polish forest, where real people–guests at an event–were really assessing their real lives by asking those same questions.

Do you feel like that sometimes? I do. If you’ve read The War of Art, you know that there’s a philosophy, a view of life that undergirds the concepts of Resistance and Professionalism and Inspiration. That philosophy says: Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it. (more…)

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Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

The Opposite of Resistance

By Steven Pressfield | Published: November 17, 2010

Here’s a subtle but crucial point for us to hold in mind as we slog through the trench warfare of the artist’s journey, battling Resistance every step of the way.

Spirit of St. Louis

The Spirit of St. Louis on the way to Paris, May 21, 1927

Remember: Resistance arises second.

What comes first is the idea, the passion, the work we are so excited to create that it scares the shit out of us.

Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self. Resistance is the shadow cast by the innovative self’s sun.

What does this mean to us, as we duel our demons? It means that, before the dragon of Resistance reared its ugly head and breathed fire into our faces, there existed within us a force so potent and so life-affirming that it made Resistance freak out and load up the sulfur and brimstone. Resistance isn’t the towering, all-powerful monster before whom we quake in terror. Resistance is more like the pain-in-the-ass schoolteacher who won’t let us climb the tree in the playground.

But the urge to climb came first. (more…)

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Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Rosanne Cash’s Dream

By Steven Pressfield | Published: November 10, 2010

[The following excerpt from Rosanne Cash‘s Composed hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes. Thanks to Ms. Cash for permission to run it.  The book is brand-new and it’s keeping me up nights. It should be required reading, in my opinion, for all serious writers, artists and musicians, particularly women. But judge for yourself. I’m giving over the whole of today’s post to this passage from Rosanne Cash’s Composed.

"Composed" book cover

If you want to know about the Artist's Journey, particularly from a female point of view, read this

[Note: “King’s” is King’s Record Shop, the 1987 album that produced four #1 singles. And now: over to you, Rosanne …]

It was late in the making of King’s that I had a dream that changed my life.

I had met Linda Ronstadt a few times–in Los Angeles, while I was recording at Lania Lane; when I opened for Bonnie Raitt at the Greek Theater and Linda had come to see the show; and on a number of other occasions, as we traveled in the same circles and worked with many of the same musicians. Her record Heart Like a Wheel had profoundly affected me as a young girl, and I had studied it assiduously as a great example of a feminine point of view concept record, the best one since Joni Mitchell’s Blue, I thought, and equally important in the template I was creating for what I might do in my life. I especially admired her thoughtful song selection, which resulted in a very well-balanced album, and I wanted to make a record with a similarly unified concept, but as a songwriter.

Just as I was beginning to record King’s, I had read an interview with her in which she said that in committing to artistic growth, you had to “refine your skills to support your instincts.” This made such a deep impression on me that I clipped the article to save it. A short time after that, I dreamed I was at a party, sitting on a sofa with Linda and an elderly man who was between us. His name, I somehow knew, was Art. He and Linda were talking animatedly, deeply engrossed in their conversation. I tried to enter the discussion and made a comment to the old man. He turned his head slowly from Linda to me and looked me up and down with obvious disdain and an undisguised lack of interest. “We don’t respect dilletantes,” he spat out, and turned back to Linda. I felt utterly humiliated and woke from this dream, shaken to the core. (more…)

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