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

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ARCHIVES OF December, 2011

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Bubble Men

By Shawn Coyne | Published: December 30, 2011

This blog is taking a few days off at the end of the year. Here’s a favorite post from 2011.

The most beautiful woman in the world called me yesterday to tell me a story.

Every day she walks her three children through Central Park, drops off her eldest at school, and then walks her two youngest back across the park to begin that day’s set of activities.  After school lets out in the afternoon, she repeats the journey.

Yesterday was the first sunny day in New York for months, warm enough to shed your jacket.  So hundreds of New Yorkers made a beeline to Central Park to get a whiff of impending spring.

A crowd in New York is a magnet for commerce.  With the first thaw of the year, acrobats, magicians, mimes, face painters, bad caricaturists, balloon dog makers, hot dog venders, etc. seem to emerge from the ground and take their places in the park’s prime walking thoroughfares.  What’s really cool is that you’ll notice that you’ll be able to find the same juggler in the same place year after year.  Commercial territories are respected.  It’s the code of the park.  If the guy who paints his face silver and acts like a statue claimed a spot in the park ten years ago and he shows up every year to the same spot, it’s his.  No arguments.  Move along upstart ventriloquist. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
19 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Take What the Defense Will Give You

By Steven Pressfield | Published: December 28, 2011

Everybody loves the vertical game. We all thrill to the deep ball, the long completion, the 55-yard bomb that breaks the game open. (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of football over the Holidays.)

Jerry Rice. A short completion + a long run-after-catch = a long completion.

The problem is that, a lot of the time, the guys we’re playing against are as good or better than we are. Or they’re lucky, or they’re having a great day, or they’ve just studied our tendencies and know how to counter them. The defense won’t let us throw the deep ball. We’re dying to. We’re on fire to. But the bastards just won’t let us.

That’s when we’re not unwise to rein in our expectations, give up on what we wish we could get and settle for what we can get.

In writing terms (and I know this is true for dance, for painting, for film-making and on and on), there are days—and sometimes weeks—when Resistance is just too strong. For me, there are parts of a book that feel like knots in a plank of wood. They’re bears. They refuse to yield. I can surround them like a besieging army ringing a city—and I still can’t find a weak spot.

On those days, you have to take what the defense will give you.

There’s no shame in being realistic. On the football field, we close that part of the playbook that contains the deep routes and the 55-yard bombs. We turn to that section that has the short slants and the quick passes into the flat.

Remember, no defense can cover everything. If they’re shutting down our vertical game, it means they’re leaving some slack close to the line of scrimmage. Let’s take it.

The important thing is to keep advancing the ball and keep moving the chains. If we can get enough completions by dinking and dunking three yards and four yards, one of those may break out into the secondary; maybe another will blast through all the way.

The other thing I’ve found about those Heavy Resistance days is that, if you can hang in long enough, sometimes the defense will crack. Sometimes late in the fourth quarter, the opponents’ legs will give out. Suddenly you can go long. All at once the deep ball works. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
22 Comments

War Stories

War Stories

Crackpot, Problem Child, Great Fighting Leader Revisited

By Callie Oettinger | Published: December 26, 2011

War Stories is taking the day off and will be back next week. For now, here’s a re-run of a post that ran August 29th.

One of these things is not like the others: (more…)

Posted in War Stories
5 Comments
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