No substitute for effort

Peter King relates an interesting story that explains Bruce Springsteen’s unusual work ethic:

“Have you read the Springsteen book?” Garrett said the other day in a lengthy conversation before practice. (“Born To Run,” an autobiography, 2016, Simon & Schuster.) “He’s 20 years old, everybody at the Jersey Shore loves him, but he’s unknown nationally, and a good friend and adviser tells him, ‘If you really want to be great, you’ve got to get off the Jersey Shore.’ And so they pile everything in a couple vehicles and head west to this sort of open mike night in San Francisco.

As Springsteen wrote, the band was part of a four-band showcase; one band would get the chance to move on and perhaps get a recording contract. The Jersey guys went third and thought they killed it. The fourth band, though not as energetic, was very good. Via “Born To Run:”

“They got the gig. We lost out. After the word came down, all the other guys were complaining we’d gotten ripped off. The guy running the joint didn’t know what he was doing, blah, blah, blah.”

That night, Springsteen reflected, sleeping on a couch in his transplanted parents’ home in the Bay Area. “My confidence was mildly shaken, and I had to make room for a rather unpleasant thought. We were not going to be the big dogs we were back in our little hometown. We were going to be one of the many very competent, very creative musical groups fighting over a very small bone. Reality check. I was good, very good, but maybe not quite as good or exceptional as I’d gotten used to people telling me, or as I thought … I was fast, but like the old gunslingers knew, there’s always somebody faster, and if you can do it better than me, you earn my respect and admiration, and you inspire me to work harder. I was not a natural genius. I would have to use every ounce of what was in me—my cunning, my musical skills, my showmanship, my intellect, my heart, my willingness—night after night, to push myself harder, to work with more intensity than the next guy just to survive untended in the world I lived in.”

That’s how we approach publishing at Castalia. Yes, we may be smart. Yes, we’ve got some advantages, and, of course, some disadvantages as well. But the one thing we absolutely know is that no one in the publishing industry is going to outwork us.

I was particularly satisfied this weekend, although I was turning in even later than I normally do – I’m usually irritated with myself when that first glow of sunrise is beginning to appear and I realize that I’ve stayed up too late again – because I managed to complete the edits on two books that night, both of which will be published this month.

I very much appreciate the near-fanatic levels of support we receive from you guys. It is an integral part of Castalia’s success. And you can rest assured that we will never take it for granted or coast on our past accomplishments.