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




Subscribe RSS

Subscribe to SPO.


Do The Work Wednesdays

Do The Work WednesdaysWriting Wednesdays

The Pain of Being Human

By Steven Pressfield | Published: May 25, 2011

The Gnostics believed that exile was the psychological condition of the human being. It certainly feels that way to me.


One panel of Hieronymus Bosch's "Haywain Triptych."

We’ve been talking about artists and addicts for the past couple of weeks. Not every artist is an addict, and certainly not every addict is an artist. But it seems to me that both share an acute, even excruciating sensitivity to the pain of being human—and both actively seek ways to overcome it, transcend it, or at least make it go away.

What is the pain of being human? To me, it’s the condition of being suspended between two worlds and being unable to fully enter into either. We can’t reach the upper realm (that belongs to the gods) but we can’t forget it either; we can’t escape intimations and half-memories of … what? Some prior sojourn, before birth perhaps, among the immortals or the stars.

Our lot instead is to dwell in the lower realm, the sphere of the temporal and the material—the timebound dimension of instincts and animal passions, of hate and desire, aspiration and fear. We’re called to the upper realm (and it is calling to us) but we’re having a pretty good time (sometimes) down here in the sphere of the senses. Bottom line: we’re marooned in the middle, stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again. (more…)

Posted in Do The Work Wednesdays, Writing Wednesdays

War Stories

War Stories

“The Sea! The Sea!”

By Steven Pressfield | Published: May 23, 2011

Xenophon was an Athenian nobleman, warrior and writer from the fourth century B.C. Here’s a story:

When Xenophon was a young man, he chanced to enter a narrow lane from one end at the same time that Socrates was entering from the other. It was just the two of them walking toward each other. Though Athens was a big city, its citizens interacted constantly in the Assembly and the agora; it’s a safe bet that the philosopher (who was probably about sixty at the time) recognized the young aristocrat by sight, even if the two had never been formally introduced. As Xenophon approached Socrates and moved to edge past, the philosopher turned his wooden staff crosswise, blocking the lane.

“Excuse me, young man. I’m looking for something and wondered if you might direct me.”

“Of course, sir. What do you wish to find?”

“My wife has broken a strap on her sandal,” said Socrates. “Where might I go to get this mishap repaired?”

Xenophon directed Socrates to the Street of the Cobblers. Socrates thanked him. “I have also a broken pot. Can you tell me where I might go to get it made whole?”


Posted in War Stories

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Art of An Auction

By Shawn Coyne | Published: May 20, 2011

Our agent has called her client and informed her that she has a substantial pre-empt offer for her narrative nonfiction proposal. Should they take the deal on the table or roll the dice and wait for the results of the auction the agent has scheduled the next day?

There are seven houses that have intimated that they are going to bid. The clock is ticking. The agent has to get back to the pre-empt offering publisher before 5:00 or the dinero falls off the table.  It’s 4:47 PM on a Tuesday. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
Sign up for first look access.

Enter your email to get free access to every new thing I do.

No spam, I promise!

Gates of Fire
The War of Art
The Knowledge
Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t
The Authentic Swing
The Lion's Gate
Turning Pro
The Profession
The Warrior Ethos
Do The Work
Tides of War
The Afghan Campaign
The Virtues of War
Killing Rommel
Last of the Amazons
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Additional Reading
Video Blog