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Act With Vigor

A brief exploration & illustration of the life & works of Steven Pressfield including personal prose examples.

Lee Grant

on 27 November 2012

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Transcript of Act With Vigor

“‘Your heart is kind… You have seen the agony of war and you wish never again to harm anything or anyone. So you choose not to act. As if by that choice, you will cause no harm.
‘This intention is admirable as far as it goes,
but it fails to apprehend the deeper imperative of life. Life is action, … Even choosing not to act, we act. We cannot do otherwise. Therefore act with vigor!’” The Turning Point! SEPARATE LIVES
Written by: 1995 JOSHUA TREE
Written by: 1993 FREEJACK
Screenplay & screen story: 1992 KING KONG LIVES
Screenplay & story: 1986 ABOVE THE LAW
Screenplay: 1988 Published in 1995 1998 2000 2002 2003 2004 2006 2008 2011 2011 2011 2012 2012 http://lateralaction.com/articles/the-war-of-art-steven-pressfield/ http://www.stevenpressfield.com/ http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/867.Steven_Pressfield A FEW WEBSITES OF INTEREST Biography "I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943 (age 69) to a Navy father and mother.

"I graduated from Duke University in 1965.

In 1966 he joined the Marine Corps where he was an 0311 Rifleman in the Reserves till 1971.

His first job when he moved to New York City was as a $150-a-week copy writer for Benton & Bowles. One day while rewriting the just-add-water text for the back label of Gravy Train dog food he asked himself, 'Shouldn't I be doing something a little more worthwhile?' He decided to quit and write a novel.

"With the publication of THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE in 1995, (age 52) I became a writer of books once and for all."

His struggles to make a living as an author, ("it took seventeen years to get my first paycheck") including the period when he was homeless and living out of the back of his car, are detailed in his book THE WAR OF ART.

In 2012, he launched the publishing house Black Irish Books with his agent Shawn Coyne.

He currently lives in Malibu, California. Steven Pressfield Writing Philosophy "My writing philosophy is, not surprisingly, a kind of warrior code — internal rather than external — in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that I have labeled "Resistance" with a capital R (in THE WAR OF ART) and the technique for combating these foes can be described as 'turning pro.'"

"It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior's life" He has worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout and attendant in a mental hospital. "I have picked fruit in Washington state and written screenplays in Tinseltown." Has written 34 screenplays, six of which have been filmed. A brief presentation exploring and illustrating the life and works of STEVEN PRESSFIELD, including my personal choices of prose examples from his work ACT WITH VIGOUR by
Lee Grant How Pressfield 'DOES THE WORK' Key Creative Writing Concepts "Who Speaks?" & "To Whom?" First Person Flashbacks Start Finish Narrative Time FB1 FB2 FB 3 The present The past Plot Setting SomeWhere and SomeWhen Character Writing Authentically Also referred to as 'Framed Narrative' Coming of Age Bildungsroman The change taking place occurs during some kind of physical battle, where the protagonist realises his authentic self and overcomes what Pressfield refers to as RESISTANCE Scarlett Thomas, MONKEYS WITH TYPEWRITERS (NB: This change can also be seen occurring in other characters in addition to the protagonist) An 18 hole golf course in Savannah, 1931 - built on the site of an ancient battlefield. Ancient Greece, Sparta and eventually the 'Hot Gate' at Thermopylae The North Africa Desert of 1942 The Middle Eastern oil fields of 2032 Ultimately, the setting is the inner self battling demons on a daily basis to conquer 'RESISTANCE' THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE - a depressed war veteran and amateur golf champion GATES OF FIRE - Xeones, a non-Spartan citizen,
sole survivor of the Battle of Thermopylae KILLING ROMMEL- a British Lieutenant drafted into the Long Range Desert Group, Richmond, Lawrence Chapman,known as "Chap" THE PROFESSION- a mercenary named Gilbert Gentilhomme, known as "Gent" What's in a name? Example from Killing Rommel, p 398 What the folks say... His military novels are so highly regarded that they have achieved cult status among US troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GATES OF FIRE is on the Commandant of the Marine Corps' Reading list. It is taught at West Point and Annapolis and at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico. TIDES OF WAR is on the curriculum of the Naval War College.

GATES OF FIRE is the subject of an academic paper from the JOURNAL OF MILITARY ETHICS (2004) 3(3): 257_/261 by Shannon E. French (PhD, Brown University, 1997), associate professor of philosophy in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy. Her scholarship in the field of military ethics includes a book on warrior values throughout history entitled THE CODE OF THE WARRIOR (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003). Critical acclaim Output and Background Language and Style Themes and Ideologies Points of Interest From THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE,
"It is my thesis that performance under fire...is not a function of physical courage, but of...awakeness" From WRITING A NOVEL by Nigel Watts,
"Theme is the heart of the story. In its place I suggest three levels of distinction:" Subject matter
Thesis War / Overcoming RESISTANCE
Finding the Authentic Self
Daily, directed, conscious ACTION defeats RESISTANCE - 'just keep swinging' THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE
Novel: 2000 Author of 8 novels, 4 non-fiction books and co-author of 1 web-book The plot of THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE is roughly based on the Hindu sacred text the BHAGAVAD GITA, where the Warrior/Hero Arjuna refuses to fight.

The god Krishna appears as Bhagavan (Bagger Vance) to help him to follow his path as the warrior and hero that he was meant to be. From WRITING A NOVEL,
"The underlying humanity of our characters must be authentic..." According to THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE the word 'warrior' was anciently understood as 'swinger of the club'. In September 2003, the city of Sparta made Steven Pressfield an honorary citizen. Stuff I couldn't put anywhere else Author of Military Historical Fiction, Military Thrillers & non-fiction books on writing. Pressfield says,
"I believe in previous lives"
"I believe in the Muse"
"Write what you don't know" Hardison L. Greaves MD Historian to King Xerxes of Persia Chap's unnamed surrogate son, an historian Gilbert Gentilhomme Two questions asked in
HOW TO READ FICTION (AND THINK ABOUT IT) Robert Graham Nigel Watts Works Cited
“Biography For Steven Pressfield.” IMDb. n.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov, 2012.

French, Shannon E. “Steven Pressfield’s Gates Of Fire.” JOURNAL OF MILITARY ETHICS 3(3): (2004): 257-61. Print.

“Goodreads Author Profile – Steven Pressfield.” GOODREADS. n.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov, 2012.

Graham, Robert. HOW TO WRITE FICTION (AND THINK ABOUT IT). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.

Images. GOOGLE IMAGES. Web. Nov, 2012.

Pressfield, Steven. GATES OF FIRE. London: Bantam Books, 2000. Print.

---. KILLING ROMMEL. London: Bantam Books, 2009. Print

---. STEVEN PRESSFIELD ONLINE. n.p, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012.

---. THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE. London: Bantam Books, 2001. Print

---. THE PROFESSION. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2011. Print.

---. THE WAR OF ART: WINNING THE INNER CREATIVE BATTLE. New York: Black Irish Entertainment, 2012. Kindle e-Book.

---. TURNING PRO. New York: Black Irish Entertainment, 2012. Print.

“Steven Pressfield: Overcoming Resistance.” YOU TUBE. Positively Positive 1. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 23 Nov, 2012.

“The Legend Of Bagger Vance.” WIKIPEDIA. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 23 Nov, 2012.

“The War Of Art – An Interview With Steven Pressfield.” LATERAL ACTION. Lateral Action, n.d. Web. 23 Nov, 2012.

Thomas, Scarlett. MONKEYS WITH TYPEWRITERS: HOW TO WRITE – AND READ – BETTER. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd, 2012. Print.

Watts, Nigel. WRITING A NOVEL. London: teach yourself, 2003. Print.

“Your Authentic Swing.” YOU TUBE. Philnym31. 9 Jun. 2009. Web. 23 Nov, 2012. First Narrator Protagonist
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