12 October 2010

Hurts So Good

The last thing I fed my head before falling asleep last night was the first half of Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. Who knows what it did to my dreaming -- not even a fragment of a dream remains this morning -- but I have no doubt it was the prod that shoved me awake around 5:30 a.m.

For half an hour, I alternated between sitting and staring and lying down and staring. It's four hours later now and I've forgotten most of whatever thoughts I entertained. I remember reflecting disinterestedly on the events of yesterday...holding up little snippets of episode and considering them through the filter of NVC (NonViolent Communication)...observing the bubbly rumbling in my gut.

"I want more of that book!" was both a thought and an instantaneous hunger. I hopped up and got the coffee started, unpacking the dishwasher while the espresso machine labored. Outside the window, in the new day's first light, a man older than me strode by with a determined look on his face, his arms pumping.

On the porch, with coffee and cigarettes, I read

It's one thing to lie to ourselves. It's another thing to believe it.

and

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

and

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work....Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. ...Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

and, finally

Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don't do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don't do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.

All I can say is "Let's do this" and "Thanks, V____" (who gave me the book) and "Thanks, Steven" (who wrote the book).

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