I started reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield today. It is a book that was highly recommended by a coworker who has a similar literary palate as mine. Just a couple of pages in and the book quickly resonated with me. I could tell why he suggested it.
I consider myself a writer but one who definitely battles with resistance. I want to say that there is a correlation between reading the book and me being inspired to write again. I was only 30% into he book when my phone died. Hipster would say “If you had a normal book you wouldn’t have this problem.”
Since I have none of my notes to reference back to, I have to rely on my short term memory which I recently discovered is terrible. There is a line in the book that says “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” I know I have read this before because I have mentioned it once or twice in my writing. I know for a fact I didn’t come up with it. I did start to wonder, “Was it Steven Pressfield who was quoted saying that when I first read it or heard it?” Did Pressfield say it first? This brought me back to another thing I heard before and I paraphrase, “There is no more original thought left in the world. All that is written is just recycled words and ideas that someone has already come up with.” I don’t know where I heard this before. I have a tendency of not paying much attention to the creator of art. I much rather just enjoy the work than worry about the credit.
So for some reason as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I started thinking about Brene Brown and her Ted Talk on vulnerability. The sheer mention of the word “vulnerability” makes me emotional. Vulnerability to me is my nemesis. There is nothing more vulnerable to me than being seen crying in public. I HATE IT!!!! I know people don’t know how to react when they see someone crying, much less not knowing why. I know it’s awkward and uncomfortable. I loathe being pitied. I don’t handle consolation very well. But when I am thinking about something very dear to my heart I simply can’t control myself, much less talk about it. Lately I have been embracing vulnerability more and more but it still scares me half to death to share things. I find myself worrying about how the other person is judging me. They may very well be not but then again they very well may be.
Lately I have been very open about my manic depression. I feel comfortable talking about it out loud but then my illness is seen as a form of resistance according to Pressfield. That makes me feel like shit. He practically says that illnesses like social anxiety are made up by editors. He does say that anxiety and depression may be real. But he only said “may”. It sounded like I am making an excuse with my manic depression. I am not sure about that part of the book.
So here I am. Not knowing what came first, the chicken or the egg. Did the book inspire me to start writing again or did my mania make me do it? All I know is that a million thoughts started popping up like annoying ads. The last thing I want to do is over analyze and read into things that are not really there. A part of me still wants to keep living in the illusion that I created. Like I have not learned my lesson of getting attached to the idea of what could be. So I’ll continue living in my mind. The book says that fear and doubt are allies and good things when it comes to art and writing….but I disagreed with that too.