Resistance Diary – Entry 1


It’s two in the morning and I’m suddenly awake. I go downstairs looking for Michael and he’s not home. I don’t have terrible indigestion, which had become an every night thing: acid reflux, and that stuff hurts, then sitting upright for at least an hour. It’s a relief to be without it. Maybe it was the essential oils (peppermint and lemon), or maybe the Prilosec, but whatever it was, I’m glad.

Lately I’ve been pushing my writing and activism wishes hard. And so I’ve been running up against Resistance. Steven Pressfield in The War of Art capitalizes Resistance and he’s right to do so. I’m sending out bits of his book on twitter. (My twitter feed is @PaulStark59 and the War on Art bits are here. You can learn about his book here.)

He says, “Resistance is Insidious,” “Resistance is Implacable,” “Resistance is Impersonal,” and “Resistance is Universal.” That it feels like your own individual weakness and struggle, but it’s a force of nature and besets everyone who tries to do anything. I’ve been engaging in a number of the 11 activities he lists as commonly eliciting Resistance, including “any act of political, moral, or ethical courage,” the “launching of any entrepreneurial enterprise, for profit or otherwise,” and “the pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art.” I’ve wisely chosen to avoid adding to my Resistance burden by engaging in “any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.”

Michael comes home as soon as I’m downstairs, and now I’m up at two in the morning and not falling back to sleep. Before I went to sleep, Resistance had me: I didn’t know what to do next, I was sure anything I might decide to do would be worthless, and I was looking at the world through slime-tinted glasses. But now I’m having one idea after another, good ones, and I’m excited enough that sleep seems a long way off.

At first I’m impatient to fall asleep. I count to 777 by 7’s and it doesn’t help. Then I realize this cornucopia is what I’ve been asking for. It’s as if Resistance has nodded off, leaving me awake and engaged and plausible. If this is how I am when not tied down by the Lilliputian threads of Resistance, then I’m more dynamic and creative than I think. I turn the light on and get a 3×5 card. I want to preserve what I’m thinking so I can sneak it past Resistance in the morning and into my waking life. It’s good stuff. Write the Northern Westchester progressive personalities gossip column. Start by and about the 2 or 3 people in every town fighting to change the building code, or get the elementary schools to make lunch from the harvest from their brand new organic gardens. Print out my project sheet to give to Eve Ensler (her page here) when I meet her (!) later in the day.

I’ve gone through times in my life, sometimes for years, when the person I most recognize myself to be, the one I like the most, seems dead and gone forever. I’ve learned that these times don’t last, that, barring catastrophe, I’ll be alive and engaged and creative again. And as nearly convinced as I am that I can have faith in the return of the man I consider my real self, it’s always a relief when he’s suddenly manifest in the middle of my life again, like he was for an hour and a half Saturday morning.

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