Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

I read this book last week while watching the Academy Awards. Since I was very young, I have watched the Oscars. It's something that I remember really enjoying with my mother and my sister. It felt very special then, and it still feels very important to me even though a) I rarely see all of the movies any more, b) the stars don't seem nearly as glamorous to me now, and c) I often find the show boring and tedious. (I miss the big production numbers they used to do. I used to really like Billy Crystal's medleys. I wish Hugh Jackman had hosted the show more than once.)

My solution this year was to read during moments that did not hold my interest. For this year's Academy Awards, I chose Steven Pressfield's Turning Pro, which felt like the perfect antidote to an awards ceremony. To me, Turning Pro is about making an internal commitment to your art and not caring so much about external validation. Perhaps you end up with a glittering trophy at the end, but what's most important is putting in your time and taking your creative life seriously. It's not about one moment of glory; it's about living a life where you produce whatever you call art.

I ended up quite happy with this way of watching the Oscars. Turning Pro is made up of short pieces, ideal for a commercial break. (That was another issue this year. It was my first Academy Awards since we cut the cord on cable. This show has been so much a tradition in my life, that it took me until the day before the show to realize that I would not automatically be able to watch it. Luckily, we figured out a streaming option but it came with ads. I didn't mind. I had a book. When I was young and the Oscars meant so much to me, the ceremony came with commercials.) Anyway, the book seemed to me to be the perfect answer to evening gowns, thank you speeches to agents, and Jet ski jokes. It lingered on in my head long after the orchestra played its final song.