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Authors: Steven Pressfield

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The War of Art (11 page)

BOOK: The War of Art
In the end, we arrive at a kind of model of the artist’s world, and that model is that there exist other, higher planes of reality, about which we can prove nothing, but from which arise our lives, our work and our art. These spheres are trying to communicate with ours. When Blake said Eternity is in love with the creations of time, he was referring to those planes of pure potential, which are timeless, placeless, spaceless, but which long to bring their visions into being here, in this time-bound, space-defined world.
The artist is the servant of that intention, those angels, that Muse. The enemy of the artist is the small-time Ego, which begets Resistance, which is the dragon that guards the gold. That’s why an artist must be a warrior and, like all warriors, artists over time acquire modesty and humility. They may, some of them, conduct themselves flamboyantly in public. But alone with the work they are chaste and humble. They know they are not the source of the creations they bring into being. They only facilitate. They carry. They are the willing and skilled instruments of the gods and goddesses they serve.
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.
For their generous permission to quote from their works, the author acknowledges the following sources:
Written by: John Lee Hooker/Bernard Besman © 1998 Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc. (BMI)
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Copyright 1970 (Renewed) Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon. All rights administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Reprinted by permission of Lawrence Kasdan from THE BIG CHILL © 1983. All rights reserved.
Written by: Frank S. Nugent © 1956
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library from XENOPHON: VOLUME VII ~ SCRIPTA MINORA, Loeb Classical Library Vol. 183, translated by E.C. Marchant, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1925, 1968. The Loeb Classical Library® is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Approximately 94 words (p 48) from PHAEDRUS AND THE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH LETTERS by Plato, translated by Walter Hamilton (Penguin Classics, 1973). Copyright © Walter Hamilton, 1973.
Reproduced by permission of Penguin Books Ltd.
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library from ARISTOTLE: VOLUME XIX ~ NICHOMACHEAN ETHICS, Loeb Classical Library Vol. 73, translated by H. Rackham, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1926. The Loeb Classical Library® is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
THE SCOTTISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION Written by: W. H. Murray © 1951 J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd.
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