Sunday, November 15, 2015
In Praise of The School of Hard Knocks
The last two lines contain the key: an ongoing curriculum.
On this cold, wet Sunday in the city of Seattle, I find myself thinking about this today: appraising my first year in the city...and my three years as an ebook author--after four published books and then 25 years in The Desert.
Conclusion: I have aced some essential courses...but I am not, as I had thought, a PhD from this rough school. In fact, I've flunked a few courses and have more years of hard study ahead. Plus, some still worse knocks, I'm sure.
Literary and office politics (or politricks) continue to confound me, despite the progress I've made at writing, editing, cover designing, event promotions, online presence, etc. I've developed substantial followings on Twitter and Facebook. And I've continued to work on my usage of both. At the same time, I've revamped my resume for another job search.
Yet in this last month I've tanked in two job interviews. The numbers of my book reviews pretty mirrors their sales. I am no less mystified by cold shoulders from writers I've championed.
But, as a continuing student, I vow: no more miserable report cards like this:
For the new semester, which has just begun--only in MacRathWorld can a semester begin in November!--I have a new instructor.
He was prominently featured in my last post on Authors Electric. His name is Balthsar Gracian and you'll find your introduction here:
Gracian's little book, The Art of Worldly Wisdom is subtitled A Pocket Oracle. And it is exactly that.
More than an oracle, or a manual, it is also the perfect antidote to the chief pop power guides, Machiavelli's The Prince and Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power. What I love about Gracian's The Art is its unique dual focus on material success and personal excellence.
It contains 300 pithy aphorisms. I plan to study one each day, then take the remaining two months every year for an intensive review.
Oh, the School of Hard Knocks will continue to deliver its tough, bruising lessons. But Gracian seems an excellent guide for dodging the worst of those lessons and enduring the handful that one can't evade.
Goal for my first years' tutelage under Gracian: to become an upperclassman in the hard knockin' school all attend.