The War of Art
The War of Art

The War of Art

I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I'm getting tired. That's four hours or so. I've hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. Copy whatever I've done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there's a fire and I have to run for it. I power down. It's three, three-thirty. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don't care. Are they any good? I don't even think about it. All that matters is I've put in my time and hit it with all I've got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance. (Location 77)

The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration. (Location 205)

Sometimes Resistance takes the form of sex, or an obsessive preoccupation with sex. Why sex? Because sex provides immediate and powerful gratification. When someone sleeps with us, we feel validated and approved of, even loved. Resistance gets a big kick out of that. It knows it has distracted us with a cheap, easy fix and kept us from doing our work. Of course not all sex is a manifestation of Resistance. In my experience, you can tell by the measure of hollowness you feel afterward. The more empty you feel, the more certain you can be that your true motivation was not love or even lust but Resistance. (Location 216)

It goes without saying that this principle applies to drugs, shopping, masturbation, TV, gossip, alcohol, and the consumption of all products containing fat, sugar, salt, or chocolate. (Location 220)

We get ourselves in trouble because it's a cheap way to get attention. Trouble is a faux form of fame. It's easier to get busted in the bedroom with the faculty chairman's wife than it is to finish that dissertation on the metaphysics of motley in the novellas of Joseph Conrad. (Location 223)

Anything that draws attention to ourselves through pain-free or artificial means is a manifestation of Resistance. Cruelty to others is a form of Resistance, as is the willing endurance of cruelty from others. (Location 227)

Creating soap opera in our lives is a symptom of Resistance. Why put in years of work designing a new software interface when you can get just as much attention by bringing home a boyfriend with a prison record? Sometimes entire families participate unconsciously in a culture of self-dramatization. The kids fuel the tanks, the grown-ups arm the phasers, the whole starship lurches from one spine-tingling episode to another. And the crew knows how to keep it going. If the level of drama drops below a certain threshold, someone jumps in to amp it up. Dad gets drunk, Mom gets sick, Janie shows up for church with an Oakland Raiders tattoo. It's more fun than a movie. And it works: Nobody gets a damn thing done. Sometimes I think of Resistance as a sort of evil twin to Santa Claus, who makes his rounds house-to-house, making sure that everything's taken care of. When he comes to a house that's hooked on self-dramatization, his ruddy cheeks glow and he giddy-ups away behind his eight tiny reindeer. He knows there'll be no work done in that house. (Location 232)

Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. These aren't diseases, they're marketing ploys. Doctors didn't discover them, copywriters did. Marketing departments did. Drug companies did. Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance. (Location 244)

We're doing exactly what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product. (Location 247)

Doctors estimate that seventy to eighty percent of their business is non-health-related. People aren't sick, they're self- dramatizing. (Location 251)

Our psyches are programmed by millions of years of hunter-gatherer evolution. We know what the clan is; we know how to fit into the band and the tribe. What we don't know is how to be alone. (Location 298)

Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. (Location 339)

Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. (Location 347)

The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference. (Location 359)

The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality. (Location 696)

Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page. (Location 696)

I like the idea of being Myself, Inc. That way I can wear two hats. I can hire myself and fire myself. I can even, as Robin Williams once remarked of writer-producers, blow smoke up my own ass. (Location 719)

Making yourself a corporation (or just thinking of yourself in that way) reinforces the idea of professionalism because it separates the artist-doing-the-work from the will-and- consciousness-running-the-show. (Location 721)

the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying. (Location 767)