The War of Art
Some books grab you instantly. When we were staying in Phnom Penh, our lovely Dutch host Petra recommended a book to read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. She raved about it. And within an hour of reading this book - things started to happen.
When Petra recommended The War of Art to us, I immediately downloaded the free sample on my Kindle App. I like to do that first. I remember the recommendation and if the book doesn’t grab me instantly, I don’t waste money. Having finished another book, I made a start on reading The War of Art and it grabbed me hook, line and sinker.
Even the foreword by Robert McKee was a good read. Near the beginning of the book, Pressfield writes “Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” I stopped reading. What was I resisting? Oh, so much.
Yes, the book challenges us to reflect on what we are resisting. Art and keeping fit sprang to mind immediately. I have another one, but if I write it, it’s out in the open. I think I need to read more of the book before I am brave enough to utter it.
“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction... (it) deforms our spirit” Ok, Ok Pressfield!
After reading the first few chapters, it had given me a proverbial kick up the butt. Art, Fitness and French have all been started.
How many times have Tim and I been inspired by artists we have met on our travelling and make false promises about doing 10 minutes a day of art and then nothing, zilch, nada. I have been carrying a small case of watercolours since we were last in the UK. They hadn’t seen the light of day…until now!
We both sat on the balcony here and did a still-life, and later I drew around a coin 20 times to turn each circle into a little drawing. Great fun, and may it continue!
On the fitness front, I remembered that when we were in South Korea in June 2018, we both were doing a 100 press-up challenge. I couldn’t do a full-blown press-up so would use a kitchen work surface to lean on. Let’s get that going again.
The app is now called “Just 6 Weeks”, and I am pleasantly surprised that my arms are in better shape now that when we were in South Korea!
Tim has not been resisting learning Spanish. He is glued to Duolingo daily and learning such things as “Cuánto cuestan las naranjas? Well, at least if we went back to a Spanish speaking country, he’ll be able to buy some fruit.
I ditched the Spanish when we left South America, so have decided to relearn French. I learnt this at school and still remember the embarrassment when Mr Hampshire, our French teacher announced to the whole class that I had the worst accent. I was proud to inform him that I got an E for my French oral exam, whereas my friend Catherine got a U! Come on, Lindsey, let it go, it was 43 years ago!
I am pleased to say that I am thoroughly enjoying learning French now, I have started at the basics and am surprised how much I have remembered. Let’s see if I can improve my accent without the cockney undertones.
And I am only 38% through reading War of Art!
After press-ups, art and j’apprends le français, we walked through town to catch up with Mike, our new friend from Ohio. We made sure he told us where to meet so that he didn’t get lost or go to the wrong gate! The café, Here149Cafe he recommended was a great find, and just as we sat down, he arrived with friends of his partner Audrey, who had come over for the day.
The three friends are Taiwanese, so Google Translate came in handy. We established where they were from and what they do for a living. I am embarrassed to say that our Taiwanese is not developing much. We missed an opportunity getting them to teach us a few phrases.
We ordered some lunch, a vegetarian bagel for me. I thought I was going to have egg in it but had lettuce and salad dressing with banana, apple and pineapple. It worked!
The café owner’s sister roasts coffee which is sold here. As we were running short of coffee, it was a good opportunity to buy some. The owner offered us various jars of beans to sniff, and our final selection was coffee from Antigua, Guatemala.
We needed to get back to our homestay. I had an appointment with family. Outfit on, I was ready. Was the rest of the gang? No, one was late, Guess who!
Our nephew, Jac’s son, was giving my sisters, brother-in-law Martin and me a fitness class on zoom, our very own Joe Wicks and we were instructed to wear 80s gear. I think I did pretty well with the limited clothes we travel with.
What a hoot! With much laughter, as well as groans, we got through the star jumps, lunges, push-ups and crunches without any accidents…nearly!
So thank you Petra and Steve Pressfield, you have helped me to take action, to learn, to create and to exercise, and who knows what this will lead to in the future.