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Norman Mailer

Two Pulitzer Prizes

One of the greatest difficulties in writing, and it's built into it, is that on the one hand you have to be very sensitive to be a writer. Sensitive in some special way. At the other end, you have to be tough enough to take the criticism and the rejection. Now compared to being an actor it's much easier to be a writer because actors encounter face-to-face rejection over and over and over in auditions, but a writer can live at certain distance from the rejection. But nonetheless, once you get published it is one thing, maybe just a short story and nobody ever reviews it. Once you write a novel and it gets published -- the first novel -- you can't believe how furious you get at reviews. I remember with The Naked and the Dead, which got very, very good reviews, I couldn't forgive the people who gave it bad reviews. I wanted to find them and argue with them, and if it came to it, punch them out if I could. I just hated reviewers. To this day they're not my favorite people because I've always felt it's too easy. You know, it's so easy to be a reviewer and put something down. And, many reviewers have motivations that, to put the nicest word on it, they're ugly. So, in that sense, one of the things you have to learn is to be able to take a punch without punching back, and that's very hard for writers, very hard.
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Norman Mailer

Two Pulitzer Prizes

Norman Mailer: With those bad reviews of my second and third book, I learned the way a young professional fighter would learn that they can take a beating. They can take a bad beating, and they're not ready to quit the ring, and that does give you a fine strength. It also takes something off you forever. I mean, to write a book, a good novel that you care about, and you put a lot into for a couple of years, and then get very bad reviews, takes something out of you forever. If nothing else, it takes away from you a certain large love of humanity that you might have had. Your love of humanity is somewhat smaller. That is part of -- every professional in every trade or discipline goes through that. As professionals, they harden up. It's why they're professionals and not amateurs. Amateurs are still full of love. That's the meaning of the word. A professional is someone who measures the cost of every achievement and decides whether that achievement is worth the effort -- and sometimes the killing effort -- that will go into it. And so for that reason, if you're going to keep at one trade all your life, as I have, you truly do well to become a professional, because it enables you to take the bumps.
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Peyton Manning

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

When you throw an interception, the first thing I say is, "Why did that happen? Was that my fault? Was that a poor decision by me? Was it bad luck?" A tipped ball, for example, or the wind literally blew the ball. Or was it a miscommunication? It always comes back to the quarterback. Usually, I'm going to feel like it's my responsibility because if the receiver ran the wrong route, I'm going to say, "Well, that's my fault for not being sure he knew what to do." But you better be able to put it behind you right away, otherwise, it's going to drag you further down. Interception, a loss, you name it. You deal with it. You learn from it. You address it, and it's hard to get over, especially a loss. It is hard. You spend so much time during one week -- late night studying, film preparation, weightlifting, practice -- for a three-hour game which you only play half of, and you lose on a field goal. That's frustrating. That is very frustrating. You don't get to play (again) until the following Sunday is a problem. I'm always kind of jealous of baseball players. They get to play the next day and go out and do something about it. Football is a long time to stew over it, but you kind of take Sunday night, and maybe a little bit of Monday, but we always say our rule is the pouting has to stop Monday at five o'clock. You'd better be moving on to the next opponent.
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Peyton Manning

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

You hate to admit that somebody else is better than you. That's a real stubbornness there, but you study it and you go, "Gosh, we're good, but obviously we're not good enough. We're not as good as we think we are. What do we need to do to get better? Do we need to get some more players? Do we need to work harder? What do I need to do to get better?" So that's what we've done. To me, it's the same exact approach this year that we (used to) accomplish our goal last year. We win this Super Bowl, and you enjoy it. Instead of pouting for two months, you get to celebrate for two months, but once the off-season program starts for the next year, it's over with. It's behind you, and you move on. You say, "How am I going to get better this year?"
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Peyton Manning

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

People knew who I was, and kids liked to strike me out. They liked it if I made an error, and it was probably a little bigger deal than if their shortstop made the error. So I learned about it at a young age. It probably made me work a little harder at times, so I didn't mess up. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, you know. So when everybody knows who you are, you could be more easily embarrassed because more people are looking at you. It may have motivated me to work a little harder. I knew people were always looking at me, so it made me kind of think twice about the things that I did. That was a positive out of it, especially for the life that I'm in today. People are always watching. It wasn't the cell phone camera back then like it is today, as an eight-year-old, but it was a good learning tool about making the right decisions.
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Wynton Marsalis

Pulitzer Prize for Music

I would practice every day for four or five hours a day, or three hours, just to continue. If you practice for four or five months, you reach the point where you don't feel like practicing anymore. You might say, "I practiced for four months, and I'm not really that much better." And, you want to quit. But, I would just keep practicing, even on the days I didn't want to play. I would listen to trumpet players all the time, and I just fell in love with playing, from the time I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. I didn't know whether I would be able make it professionally playing music because I was checking my daddy out, and he wasn't really making a good living playing, but a certain level of achievement I knew I would be on. Just as a freshman I would make the All-State Orchestra, or play in the Civic Orchestra, the Youth Symphony. I would win certain auditions. I really understood that I needed to practice. So at one point I just made up my mind that I really would practice and just develop.
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Wynton Marsalis

Pulitzer Prize for Music

Wynton Marsalis: I practiced everyday. I went about seven years without missing a day of practice. I had a very strict schedule that I would follow, and I would not go to sleep until I had practiced all the stuff I had to practice. If I had a job from like 10:00 to 1:00 or 2:00, I would still practice. I made sure that I would get all the work done, so I wanted to play and be good. You have to really want to be good. More than anything I wanted to be able to play and that's what motivated me. I would listen to records, I would buy all these etude books. Any money I would make on little pop gigs I would buy trumpets or books with it. I would get all the etude books, I would go to different teachers, I would call people, and really seek the knowledge out. I would go to music camp in the summer time. Practice, listen to the recordings of Adolph Herseth, or Clifford Brown, trying to learn the records. But, the hardest thing for me has been to play jazz. Because in jazz, I have had to put myself in my own context. Whereas, in classical music, everything is set up for you. You just have to learn how to play. In jazz, it's been very difficult, because I have had to create a context to learn how to play in, from an intellectual standpoint, from a philosophical standpoint, and from an actual standpoint in terms of recruiting musicians. That's been the most difficult thing.
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