Because Pressfield wrote Gates of Fire, upon which Frank Miller based 300 in which Michael Fassbender wore little clothing.
First of all, this is what I needed today
. It’s so hard sometimes to be a “writer.” I mean, do I get to call myself that if I never get officially paid? Or if I’m not part of the cliquish “conservative blogosphere”? I can say that I don’t care, but I kind of do. The article set me thinking about what it is that fulfills me as a writer, and how writing about Obama’s oil task force just doesn’t. I’m not — nor do I care to be — a policy wonk. Or a “subversive citizen journalist.” Or whatever. I don’t desire to be the most popular kid in class, but I’d kind of like to get paid every once in awhile.
Zola was friends with Cezanne, in case you were wondering. I think of still life vases when I think of Cezanne.
Which brings me to what fulfills me. I like writing about things I like. What do I like? Books, usually written long ago by dead guys, (and some dead ladies), although Milan Kundera is still alive. I like writing about movies, though I don’t do it that often because most movies suck. I like to write about pop culture trends and music, though the only music worth writing about lately has been the music of Lana del Rey, who mixes actual vocal chops, classic old-school pop style and the disconnection of modern pop music. The result is a brilliantly dissonant and deeply cynical sweet sound. When I listen to her, I feel like she gets the joke and is the one playing it on the music industry. I could go on, but I won’t.
I write some fiction. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
But I digress. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really, truly loved, although history comes in a very close second. Do I need outside affirmation of my talent? The correct answer is no, but the truth is that writers are narcissists, and I am no exception. If I’m being honest, then Yes, yes I do need outside approval of my talent. I want to be appreciated. I want to be loved. Not in a Napoleonic or Roman emperor way — just in a gently adoring and possibly monetary way.
Pressfield, who has written some of my favorite historical fiction, is absolutely correct: commercial success, while nice, is not what feeds the soul of the artist. There are a lot of people who enjoy commercial success as writers that I wouldn’t exactly call “artists.” And there are real artists that enjoy commercial success, some of whom Pressfield has listed. Hunter S. Thompson used to annoy the crap out of me — until I read him. I was captivated by his voice, and I knew that regardless of why my debauched, stoner, acid-dropping loser friends in high school and college worshiped him, they had inadvertently stumbled upon a very good writer. And would never know it, as they spent most of their time drooling in the corner of a mostly unfurnished, dank apartment. Or their parents’ basement.
So, I don’t know, I guess I just keep writing and try not to care about the number of visitors I get or that I’ll probably never get “published.” I’m still better than about 85% of the writers out there, not to you know, be an assh*le about it or anything.
Secondly, I found this shocking, while also hilarious. There’s nothing funny about seventh grade oral sex how-to guides, but it was the commentary that followed that made me laugh out loud.
In my day (as we oldsters say), whatever one’s tastes in this area, most interested parties managed to pick up the gist of it out of hours. You’d be amazed how much curriculum time that frees up for math, history, Latin and whatnot.
One does tend to get better at activities one enjoys.
Even as a woman in early middle age (I am, after all, over 30), I vaguely remember that teenagers like to do this kind of thing (though I never did — hi Mom!), I cannot imagine that how-to pamphlets decrease the frequency of the activity in question. Which, I guess, is not the point at all. Because the participants in the Dionysian orgy don’t really care what their government is doing. All that matters is where the maenads are leading you.
Interestingly, the maenads engaged in sexual debauchery and ritualistic slaughter -- usually on the same night. Often at the same time. First and last date.
You’ve got to get them distracted early, you know.
*Michael Fassbender is not my Muse. ‘Cause that would be silly. My Muse is a secret.