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

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ARCHIVES OF March, 2011

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Watching Paul Anka

By Steven Pressfield | Published: March 30, 2011

I went to a Paul Anka concert a couple of years ago and I learned something that I use now, every day, in my writing. Do you remember Paul Anka?

Paul Anka

Paul Anka onstage. A pro delivers.

He was a teen idol back in the days of Fabian and Frankie Avalon. He’s still an extremely popular performer, who sells out shows around the world. Paul Anka wrote the Sinatra classic, “My Way,” along with hundreds of other songs. He tours with a band of about fifteen and he delivers a terrific show. Here’s what I learned from watching him onstage.

Throughout the performance, Mr. Anka communicated to us in the audience—by his body language, his smile, and by direct statements—how much fun he was having and what a unique and special evening this was. This particular show was at the University of Southern California, where apparently two or three of Paul Anka’s daughters had gone to school—so that may have contributed to the emotion of the evening. But it’s a pretty safe bet that Paul Anka says and does the exact same thing in every show he puts on—every night, in every venue. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
22 Comments

The Warrior Ethos

The Warrior Ethos

The Will to Victory

By Steven Pressfield | Published: March 28, 2011

Chapter 19.  The Will to Victory

When Alexander was a boy, a party of traders came to Pella, the Macedonian capital, selling trained warhorses. Philip the king and all his officers went down to the plain to put these mounts through their paces.

Bucephalus coin

Head of Bucephalus from the Seleucid era

One horse, called Bucephalus, was by far the fastest, strongest and bravest—but he was so wild that no one could ride him. Alexander watched as his father let the steed go without making an offer. “What a fine mount you lose, Father,” he said, “for want of spirit to ride him.” At this, the king and all his officers laughed. “And what will you pay for this horse, my son—if you can ride him?” “All of my prince’s inheritance.” So they let the boy try.

Now, Alexander had noticed something about the horse that no one else had—that the beast was spooked by its own shadow. So he took Bucephalus’s bridle and turned him to face into the sun. Then, little by little, speaking gently to him and stroking his neck, he succeeded in quieting the steed down; next, with a quick leap, he sprung onto the horse’s back. Philip and the officers watched in breathless trepidation as the prince took this fiery (more…)

Posted in The Warrior Ethos
5 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

“Sit Chilly”

By Steven Pressfield | Published: March 23, 2011

My friend Daphne used to take riding lessons from a legendary horsewoman in Carmel Valley, California named Sue Sally Hale. Have you ever heard of Sue Sally?

Sue Sally competed in polo matches for twenty years disguised as a man (she used to daub mascara on her upper lip to simulate a mustache, while tucking her long hair up under her helmet) before finally being admitted, in 1972, as the U.S.P.A.’s first female member. Sue Sally had a mantra that she taught her polo, dressage and jumping students:

“Sit chilly.”

I’m not a rider but apparently it can get pretty scary in steeplechase or hunter jumper competitions when you’re up there on the back of a thousand or twelve-hundred-pound equine athlete, galloping all-out at a fence or a stone wall. You don’t know if the horse will attempt the jump and miss, in which case you’ll both go flying, or if he’ll refuse to take the jump, stop short, and send you sailing head-first out of your stirrups into thin air. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
18 Comments
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