Friday, January 18, 2019

2019 Book Nook Reading Challenge: 03

TitleThe War of Art.

Author:  Steven Pressfield

Info: Copyright 2002: New York: Black Irish Entertainment LLC

Rating (on a scare of 1-4 stars):  ✮✮✮

Where Acquired: Library checkout.

Category: Recommended reading. Heard Rhett McLaughlin mention this book on Ear Biscuits and it sounded interesting.

Synopsis:  Pressfield, an accomplished novelist and screenwriter, paints a picture for the creative of the "war" he must fight against "Resistance;" the personification of the enemy of the artist.  Dividing this volume into three books, or sections, the author gives vignettes of information, inspiration, and anecdotes to persuade the reader to either pursue his art with reckless abandon, or abandon it altogether.

Favorite Quotes:

Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who doesn't start a venture?  The you know what the Resistance is. - From the introductory section "An Unlived Life." (no pg. #)

Rule of thumb:  The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we feel toward pursuing it. - p. 12

Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it's the easiest to rationalize.  We don't tell ourselves, "I'm never going to write my symphony."  Instead we say, "I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow." - p. 21

Nothing is more empowering as real-world validation, even if it's for failure. - p. 71

We cannot let external criticism, even if it's true, fortify our internal foe.  That foe is strong enough already. - pp. 87-88

Remember, Resistance was us to cede sovereignty to others.  It wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work.  Resistance knows we can't take this.  No one can. - p. 93

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.  Begin it now. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, p.  122

Every breath we take, every heartbeat, every evolution of every cell comes from God and is sustained by God every second, just as every creation, invention, every bar of music or line of verse, every thought, vision, fantasy, every dumb-ass flop and stroke of genius comes from that infinite intelligence that created us and the universe in all its dimensions, out of the Void, the field of infinite potential, primal chaos, the Muse.  To acknowledge that reality, to efface all ego, to let the work come through us and give it back freely to its source, that, in my opinion, is as true to reality as it gets. - p. 162

The Positive:
  • At first, I thought the vignette style was going to be a negative, but I enjoyed absorbing the material in small, concise chunks.
  • The author uses a good bit of witty sarcasm to get his point across.  His phraseology hit me hard, yet made me laugh at the same time.
  • It was a quick read.
  • As an artist who wants to press harder into her craft, this book was very encouraging.

The Negative:
  • In his vignette on "Resistance and Self-Medication (p. 26)," Pressfield makes the erroneous assumption that mental ailments like ADD or SAD "aren't diseases; they're marketing ploys."  I understand where he was trying to go; he's was trying to tell the reader to stop self-medicating ailments with which he has self-diagnosed in order to avoid engaging in the creative process.  However, his overarching comments came off as demeaning to those who have a true diagnosis from a clinician.
  • I was highly disturbed by his take on "Resistance and Fundamentalism (pp. 33- 37)."  He threw Nazis, Christians, radical Muslims, and those of the Jewish faith into one pot and assumed they were all the same in their beliefs and actions.  He claims that "fundamentalism and art are mutually exclusive" without giving any concrete proof of it.  Also, if the history of various art media reveals a plethora of spectacular artists who have fundamental religious beliefs.  For example, many of the wordsmiths from the book of poetry I reviewed earlier.  Again, an demeaning assumption.  Also, Pressfield indicates that he has a belief in God, so I'm not sure what he means by his statements.
  • The book contains a bit of profanity that some may care for.  It's on the "drunk uncle cussing" scale.
  • Some of the author's phases left me hanging.  Either they were lacking in substance, or weren't enough of a practical example to be fully understood.  For example, Pressfield's assumption that to be a true artist, one must be miserable, yet later in the text he says that the artist must love his craft.  Which is it?  It can't be both.
  • A little more "how to" would have been nice.

Conclusion:

Honestly, the first third of this book made me hate it. Then, the last two-thirds were so enjoyable that I changed my mind.  Despite my misgivings about portions of this book, I was encouraged and inspired. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Take it Like a Man: The Wednesday Medley


Thanks to Terri from
Your Friend From Florida
for the Medley questions.

Wednesday, January 16th, is National Do Nothing Day!! National Nothing Day was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. This day has been observed annually since 1973. Of course, the way to celebrate it is to do nothing!

To commemorate Do Nothing Day in SOME way, tell us something about your life (or the life of someone close to you) in 1973!!

There's not much to tell.  In 1973, I was a year old.  Our family was living in Wellington, Alabama in a little 4 room shack (not 4 bedroom, 4 room) with a well and an outhouse.  We were Little House on the Prairie.

Now that we are thinking back, please tell us what your favorite pastime was as a child.

My two favorite pastimes as a child were riding my bike and roller skating.  As an adult, I still ride, but I haven't found a suitable pair of roller skates.  If I ever find one, I'd love to try skating again.

What is the best way to cheer you up on a bad day?

Is the question how can someone else cheer me up or how can I cheer myself up on a bad day?  Just the simple act of someone showing true caring and spending authentic quality time with me cheers me up.  I cheer myself up with music, taking a walk, watching a cheerful/funny video, reading from a favorite book, making someone else laugh, or taking a nap.

How old were you when you first started dating? Do you remember your first date?

I've never been on a real date. 

Today is also National Fig Newton day. Do you like figs/Fig Newtons?

I like figs, but I'm not that crazy about Fig Newtons.

Tell us something random about your week.

Recently, the Gillette company released a new commercial on the dangers of "toxic masculinity."  I'm sure many of you have heard about it, so I'll not go into too much detail about the commercial here, but I will submit a few points to ponder (rants).
  • First, what is their motive?  Do they really care, or are they pushing a social hot button as a marketing ploy to sell more razors?  Hey, I'm not saying that the attempted message wasn't a needed one, but do we really need to hear this from a razor company?
  • Second, masculinity is not toxic, displaying injurious behavior regardless of gender IS toxic.  In other words, many of the rude behaviors displayed in the commercial are also perpetrated by females.  I hate to bust your bubble, but women also bully, fight, and sexually harass others.  These are not relegated to just males. 
  • If Gillette is going to continue the trend, I hope they next tackle "toxic femininity."  You know, where women bully other women and impose ridiculous unattainable standards over stupid crap like weight, race, marital status, socioeconomic status, etc, and encourage their daughters to do the same.  I hope they let women know that they need to be accountable to each other when they observe someone emasculating her husband, boyfriend, or son in an attempt to prove herself strong and superior.  They need to stress that there is such thing as "woman-splaining" and that it is definitely not cool.  Hey, I watch wives do it to their husbands all the time.
My frustration is not so much vented at the commercial as it is the angst--rather than thought and honest discussion-- it has stirred.  I'm so tired of anyone, be it a company, a religious organization, political organization, or a media outlet who pushes for division, strife, and separatism.  I feel so sorry for men, especially Caucasian men.  Modern American society has made them the enemy when they are not (and don't be a Southern white male--Lord, have mercy).   Ignorance and hatred are the real enemy.  Why don't we try fighting that instead of each other?

Rant over.  Now, I need a laugh!

This masculinity definitely ain't toxic!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Put the Lotion in the Basket: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook
 

 
For Today:  Monday,  January 14, 2019

Looking outside my window  

Again thankful to live in a place where winter isn't ugly.
 
I am thinking... 

My brain is still being choked by mucus, so there's not much deep thought going on right now.

I am thankful...   
  • ... to be on the mend.  I've had some kind of sinus/cold thing that had me down for the count.  I'm not 100% yet, but I'm back to work.
  • ... that the maintenance crew at the apartment complex did such a good just clearing the snow and ice from the parking lot.  In the past, they haven't and there's a big difference.  Thanks, y'all.
  • ... that I've finally taken down all my Christmas decorations.
  • ... for lotion and Chapstick.
    

From the Workshop... Working on some baby items and painting projects.  More to come.

From Auntie's Test Kitchen:  Recently, I got back to the 2015 Blog  Challenge and completed letter Q.

I am reading...
  • Unshakable:  365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God's Word. by Christine Caine.  This is a year-long commitment, so I will not list it in every Daybook.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. 
  • Come Before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles Swindoll
Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud.  Please see my review here.
  • Waiting for the Word by Malcolm Guite.  Please see my review here.

Favorite quote(s) of the week
 
"God took all the commands and laws and summarized them into two critical points:  love God and love others.  That's because His love in us heals and transforms us--and His love through us heals and transforms the world around us." - Christine Caine, Unshakeable (Devotional), p. 6

"All achievement--all earned riches--have their beginning in an idea." - Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, Introduction.

"Waffles are just pancakes that went to college." - Grace Helbig, Not Too Deep podcast, 09/04/14.

I am looking forward to... 
  • Completing unfinished projects and trying new ideas.
  • Getting my new glasses.  It's been a while since I've had a new pair.

And Now For Something Totally Different:

Five Minute Friday Word of the Week:  "Better."