For years, my older sister Rosemary had talked about wanting to write a book. It was a familiar sounding dream. A beautiful desire. I’ve heard it from many well-meaning people. I recently read that 80% of people who wish to write a book; only 1% will actually do so. If you want to write a book, you need a strong and compelling reason. And if you really want to be a writer, you might as well take up less risky endeavors like base-jumping, Everest expeditions, hedge fund investing or learning Swahili.
The Eastern Congo is a place of jaw-dropping beauty and unspeakable horror. Grab a map and you’ll see the Congo smack dab in the heart of Africa. It’s the second largest country in Africa; bigger than the whole of Western Europe. A massive land filled with vast jungles, crocodile-infested rivers and savannah as far as the eye can see, Joseph Conrad chronicled his real life adventures about it in his bestselling novel Heart of Darkness.
The truth of the Congo, then and now, is no fictional tale. Read on…
Never say never.
I was one of those guys who said I’d never do a triathlon. I grew up in the eighties when triathlon was just getting popular. I loved athletics and played Division I volleyball in college, but when NBC sports televised the annual Kona Ironman race, I told myself, “Amazing. Inspiring. Good for them.”
Watching the surging maelstrom of a couple thousand swimmers clobber each other like salmon fighting upstream was not my idea how I’d like to spend my weekend mornings. Coffee and the morning paper were much more relaxing and safer. I wasn’t going to drown in my coffee.
Tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine. This past summer, I went to the Eastern Congo to discover and film stories of beauty and hope coming out of a desperate and war-torn land. There’s a whole lot of pain and brokenness in the Eastern Congo, a place the United Nations has called, “the rape capital of the world.”
In my travels, I heard gut-wrenching stories and met the victims of atrocities so horrific that I won’t repeat them to certain family and friends. Truly terrible and horrific stories.
But that’s not the end of the story. There’s more to it, you see…
Last week, I was the grateful recipient of a bestselling author’s lavish generosity. A bit of back story is in order: My screenwriting co-author and I have been working on a project for several years now. As part of our research, we contacted a top expert on the life of one of our key characters. “Expert” is an understatement.
He is the leading authority on the subject matter who wrote an international bestseller. His research was meticulous. His travel extensive. His fame worldwide. His storytelling precise and compelling. Nobody knows more about our character than this guy.
You’re probably wondering, “Ok already, who is it?” I won’t mention his name because name-dropping irritates me. I will like you for who you are. Not for who you know. (A simple way for us to be generous to one another.) It’s enough to say this guy is a true professional; a researcher and writer with many book awards. His work speaks for itself…
The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.Click to tweet
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Question: As an artist, what battles do you fight every day? How can I pray for you and the battles you may be facing?
I’d love your stories, comments and feedback.
Comment now on Art, Life & Faith.
When was the last time you actually leaped into your fears? Like a cliff diver standing on the edge of a cliff with the water far below, when was the last time you really went for it by jumping with abandon?
Today you have the choice to embrace your God-given creativity or allow the fear of failure to paralyze you from fulfilling your creative calling. The world needs your gift of beauty. Don’t allow fear to knock you sideways into that deep ditch of procrastination, regret and self-loathing. You have fear because you’re human. Don’t make fear your enemy. Use it. Leverage it as a force for good. Leap into your creative fears and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you discover…
If you’re in search of greater happiness, cultivating gratitude is a sure way to immediately change how you view yourself, your life and your circumstances. In my conversations with artists and people who want to bring greater beauty, meaning and purpose into their lives, a key question I often ask is, “How are you cultivating gratitude in your life?” It’s a question that often turns heads because it’s not what they expect to hear. And that’s just the point.
Cultivating gratitude is so subtle, it’s easily missed. Practicing gratitude is one the most important spiritual practices I can think of to radically transform how you view your immediate circumstances. Cultivating gratitude really works and here’s why…
Yesterday was Labor Day and I exerted my best to put the word ‘labor’ into the day. It was a national holiday, but no picnic in my backyard. After 19 years in the same home, we’re finally making some changes to the backyard. Thanks to the California drought, we’re swapping out half of our dog-destroyed back lawn for decomposed granite and patio stone work. On a small side slope next to my neighbor’s backyard, I’m moving my favorite plumeria trees by taking the larger ones out of terracotta pots and plunking them down on the slope.
But to make room for beauty, I first needed to get rid of a large, ugly tree stump. The thing had been lurking there for years in the corner, hidden by newly-removed bushes. Not causing anyone pain or harm. Yet. Submerged in the dirt, it was an arborist’s nightmare waiting to take out some-overconfident sop like me.
For several months now, The Grove Center for the Arts & Media has been working on a simpler, more strategic way for artists to have access to the capital they need to create their work. I’m so excited to announce a dynamic new program called Creative Funding for Artists. We think it will be a game-changer for so many artists. Read on…