Blood and victory

By Sue Trollip

When I first read Hemingway’s quote

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I thought it metaphorical. I mean can you really bleed at a typewriter? Perhaps if you missed a few keys and slammed your fingers onto those metal arms beneath, yes. But it’s rather unlikely. Can we bleed at a keyboard? I can understand carpel tunnel and really sore fingers but blood, not so much.

Then the Oscars came to town and although I joined in well after the whistle I’m doing my best to catch up. Two nights ago I watched Whiplash (Thank you Redbox). And man, was there blood, both literal and metaphorical.


I wonder what JK Simmons had to sacrifice to put that little golden statue on his shelf, or next to his bed, or in his briefcase. JK Simmons is a man we’ve all seen before. He’s been in a lot of movies and he has one of those faces. Then after years of slogging he wins his Oscar. Well deserved, in my opinion, the man was brilliant. But I want to ask him what it cost.

Last night I watched Foxcatcher and it had a similar theme. What is the cost of fame? How do we get it? What are we willing to sacrifice to have it?

Then I started thinking, and thinking some more and, my question to you is this:

With no guarantees of success how far would you go to succeed?

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7 thoughts on “Blood and victory

  1. jac dowling says:

    There would come a cut-off point because the striving costs,;mentally, physically and financially. But, if there’s sufficient self-belief, support from genuine friends and no chance of it adversely affecting those near and dear, I reckon I’d go pretty far down the line – and hope! Have you watched ‘The Theory of Everything’yet? they didn’t give up hope – did they?

    • Sue says:

      I haven’t seen it yet Jac, it’s on the ever-growing list. But yes, I know the story and I see your point. It’s true too that it doesn’t just affect the person concerned but all those around him. Though when fame strikes they’ll get to ride on the bandwagon!

      • jac dowling says:

        And the gravy train – very sad. I shall give it deeper thought and see what happens. ‘Friends’ can be terribly fickle can’t they? which is why I deeply appreciate the ones who stay true, for so long, without asking anything in return except that I do my best. Thank you.

  2. Susan says:

    I haven’t seen the movie but the trailer looks intriguing.

    In my field, I see many people push themselves to extreme limits in pursuit of perfection and I too have wondered many times over the years just what that cost can be. In some cases, they succeed, then mellow and are able to live a satisfying, all-round fulfilling life, but in many other cases they end up alone, broken, empty. And no one remembers them.

    My sister put it all in perspective about 16 years ago when she reminded me that no one on their deathbed ever wishes that they’d spent more time at the office! I decided I didn’t want regrets about how I’d lived my life so I changed jobs, towns and – most importantly – my attitude to life. I may have lost some “drive” but the alternative path I chose to meander has been all the sweeter for it.

  3. Sue says:

    I guess you’d know more than most Susan and that’s rather a sad way to live. I’m glad your meander is sweet and while you may not be obsessive don’t underestimate your drive! Your sister has it in a nutshell I suppose, but then what if the ‘office’ is the very thing that keeps you ticking?

    • Susan says:

      As long as it actually keeps you ticking and doesn’t destroy you. All things in moderation, I say – but then I am probably one of those who can look back on good times in that particular rat race and know that I had a lucky escape too. I guess what I’m saying is: Find your bliss by all means, but don’t overdose on it to the point of extinction!

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