Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The War of Art

I just started listening in my car to an audio version of the book The War of Art (a clever spin on Sun Tzu's classic Art of War) So far I've only heard the first disc, and I've listened to it twice!! though I just got it yesterday!!

Such good stuff. This is the second great resource I've come upon in recent weeks, the other being The Courage to Teach.

The War of Art is (so far)about resistance-- resisting sitting down to write, or standing up to paint, and more. The author Steven Pressfield views all reluctance to do the best right thing as resistance, a force like gravity that we simply need to acknowledge and persevere in spite of. The way I'm saying it sounds dreadfully pious and unappealing. But hearing it on this audio really has me excited.

The metaphor of one large thing that mindlessly sits on my efforts to get off of the sofa works startlingly well for me. I always knew something was there, Jello-like, trying to stop me. I didn't connect it with the same force that says: I'll check my email instead of working on my novel.

Pressfield says the resistance tends to strike when we approach getting down to work on art, a spiritual practice, any health improvement, or strengthening abdominal muscles.

He says --and, oh, I agree -- that the big R can take a wickedly beguiling variety of forms including lawyerly logic. And whatever form it is: "resistance always lies...is always full of shit."

(Thanks to Thomas Griggs for letting me know about this book/CD.)

BTW, Pressfield writes bestsellers, frequently about warfare (also The Legend of Bagger Vance) I'd say, in his case, resistance doesn't stand a chance.


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10 comments:

billie said...

I've heard good things about this - glad to get another endorsement. I've been a fan of his for a long time.

K.B. said...

Oooh, I loved this post. And I thought of it this morning, and I actually sat down and did my ab work. I plan to think of it every morning and do my ab work. :)

Peggy Payne said...

I've been full of virtue and productivity in the three days I've been listening. Yay, ab work, KB!

You've read his novels, Billie? I didn't know of him, but it turns out that my husband has read his novels.

Anonymous said...

i'm really not sure all my not-doing is Resistance", tho lots is.

Anonymous said...

previous comment is from aiki.
aiki

Peggy Payne said...

I think some of my Doing is Resistance, Aiki: some cop-out writing that doesn't really dig in, and of course busywork.

K.B. said...

Ah yes, busy work. The thing about busy work these days for me, though, is that all my work is about the same level of do-or-die, so at least I can comfort myself that when I am doing what is essentially displacement activity, at least I'm doing SOMEthing that needed getting done...

Peggy Payne said...

I feel that way too. I read somewhere that procrastination is God's/nature's way of getting desk drawers cleaned out.

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