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




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ARCHIVES OF August, 2011

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Saying Yes and Saying No

By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 31, 2011

A friend of mine said something to me a couple of years ago that, the more I think about it, the more profound it becomes. Let’s call her Jane. She’s a happily married woman with a couple of almost-grown kids and an all-around fine and healthy life; she was talking about the evening before she married her husband.


Susan Sarandon said yes to playing Louise

“The night before I married Mark was the worst night of my life. I tossed and turned all night, crying. I was literally sobbing. Because I realized that now I was never going to marry Steve McQueen or Paul Newman. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but the feeling was overwhelmingly sad. But here’s the point:

“When you go through one door—in this case for me, the door of marrying Mark—the act simultaneously closes all other related doors. When you say yes to one life, you say no to all others. As I walked through that door with Mark, it meant I would never walk through it with any other man.”

This truth is so obvious that sometimes we can’t even see it. I know that, when Jane put this into words, it hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes. I had never thought about it like that.

“Of course, the act of walking through that door with Mark made my entire life. It gave me the husband I love, the children I adore; it created the totality of the world that our family shares now and will share forever.”

What’s interesting to me about this dynamic is that, before we say yes and walk through that one door, all the doors standing before us are dreams. When we pick one door and walk through it, what’s on the other side becomes reality. To get to Reality A, we have to give up related Dreams B through Z. That’s hard. That takes guts. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

War Stories

War Stories

Crackpot, Problem Child, Great Fighting Leader

By Callie Oettinger | Published: August 29, 2011

One of these things is not like the others:

Crackpot. Problem Child. Great Fighting Leader.

Or is it?

What does a leader look like?

Eisenhower called Patton a “crackpot” and a “problem child” and a “great fighting leader in pursuit and exploitation.” (See letter below from General Eisenhower to General Marshall.)

“Old Blood and Guts” Patton was like many of history’s great warriors. He came with flaws—and those working with him had to decide if they could accept him, warts and all.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response after being asked about Patton during a press conference:

I think probably that you may, if you want to write a piece, stick in there the story of a former president (Lincoln) who had a good deal of trouble in finding a successful commander for the armies of the United States.

Posted in War Stories

What It Takes

What It Takes

Moving On

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 26, 2011

I was waiting for a bus. I had two bags.

One was a carry-on with wallet, phone, iPod, keys, MacBook, manuscripts, Kindle, medication, and eyeglasses that I would hold on to dear possession unless my life was literally in the balance. The other contained my clothes and Dopp kit for a three day fun filled excursion to coordinate a move of all my, my wife, and three under aged ten children’s possessions from one apartment on the west side of Manhattan to another on the east side. It may as well have been a move from Pakistan to Somalia.

As I knew the 52-seater would inevitably fill to the brim with privileged geriatric complainers, I decided to stow my more substantial second bag in the bus’s bowels. I wanted to avoid having to jockey a position for the scarce overhead storage. It’s been my experience that a 68 year old woman from the greater New York area is more fearsome an opponent in a luggage scrum than the entire defensive line of the Chicago Bears. Fortunately, this was one of those fancy busses whose undercarriage compartments had those Delorean-esque doors that magically pop up with even the slightest exertion from a disillusioned 48 year old driver.

Despite a grizzled exterior that I’m told conveys a confident self-sufficiency; I readily admit that I have some borderline diagnosable psychological irregularities. One of which is that I don’t like to surrender any of my possessions without personally witnessing their secure stowage. Problem was the rush of humanity to get on to the bus blocked my ability to do so with bag #2. I was required to simply drop it in the general vicinity of the driver and take a leap of faith that he would take care of it.

I did. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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