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Daily Rituals How Artists Work

·6 mins

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Book TitleDaily Rituals: How Artists Work
AuthorMason Currey
NotesThe book ended very abruptly, and unexpectedly. I under-estimated how much of the book would be taken up by end matter, like bibliography, and so, when I saw that my Kindle said I had only read through 75% of the book, I was, of course, shocked (and a little dismayed, as the short vignettes in this book had been great, little reading exercises for the past months) to find that I had read the last entry.
Notable QuotesFar too many to include within this table, so I include them in a footnote :) 1

  1. (Location : 139)In the right hands, it can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources: time (the most limited resource of all) as well as willpower, self-discipline, optimism. (Location : 162)“Sooner or later,” Pritchett writes, “the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing.” (Location : 186)“Only the ‘Hitlers of the world’ work at night; no honest artist does.”) (Location : 322)For years I said if I could only find a comfortable chair I would rival Mozart.” (Location : 479)“Now I foresee terrifying difficulties of style. It’s no easy business to be simple.” (Location : 698)In Everybody’s Autobiography, Stein confirmed that she had never been able to write much more than half an hour a day—but added, “If you write a half hour a day it makes a lot of writing year by year. To be sure all day and every day you are waiting around to write that half hour a day. (Location : 724)As a young novelist, Miller frequently wrote from midnight until dawn—until he realized that he was really a morning person. (Location : 813)“The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” (Location : 832)I never brood. I have so many other things to do, with my children and teaching, that I can’t afford it. I brood, thinking of ideas, in the automobile when I’m driving to work or in the subway or when I’m mowing the lawn. (Location : 850)“Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” (Location : 862)“Inspiration is for amateurs,” Close says. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.” (Location : 877)“My experience has been that most really serious creative people I know have very, very routine and not particularly glamorous work habits,” (Location : 977)“For each insight he wished to remember, he would pin a small piece of paper on a particular part of his clothes, which he would associate with the thought. When he returned home he would unpin these and write down each idea. At the ends of trips of several days, his clothes might be covered by quite a few of these slips of paper.” (Location : 983)working by candlelight while the rest of London slept—the only time, it seems, that he could avoid the city’s plentiful distractions. (Location : 987)He generally had a levee of morning visitors, chiefly men of letters … and sometimes learned ladies.… He seemed to me to be considered as a kind of publick oracle, whom every body thought they had a right to visit and consult; (Location : 995)“I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together. (Location : 1066)The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation. (Location : 1097)“time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.” (Location : 1219)“the possibility of variation within repetition,” could be traced to this “endless walking back and forth across the same landscape day after day.” (Location : 1290)“I always found it amazing that he never needed to try things out on the piano,” his younger sister recalled. “He just sat down, wrote out whatever he heard in his head, and then played it through complete on the piano. (Location : 1292)But this feat was apparently preceded by hours or days of mental composition—during which he “appeared to be a man of great inner tensions,” (Location : 1293)Note :perhaps more of this in visual art? room and time to “see” and fix issues. (Location : 1512)I think most writers would be very happy with two hours of concentrated work.” (Location : 1544)“I think in the cracks all the time,” he has said. “I never stop.” (Location : 1802)but her usual nighttime reading was a seven-hundred-page volume of Thomas Aquinas. “I read a lot of theology because it makes my writing bolder,” she said. (Location : 1818)I have had in my little study in Connecticut all these years that famous line from Flaubert tacked to my wall: “Be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.” I believe it. (Location : 1956)A younger colleague once asked Liszt why he didn’t keep a diary. “To live one’s life is hard enough,” he replied. “Why write down all the misery? It would resemble nothing more than the inventory of a torture chamber. (Location : 2091)—My evenings I spend in a sort of mesmeric state in my room—not being able to read—only now & then skimming over some large-printed book. (Location : 2232)On the other days one is hurrying through the other things one imagines one has to do to keep one’s life going. (Location : 2233)But always you are hurrying through these things with a certain amount of aggravation so that you can get at the paintings again because that is the high spot—in a way it is what you do all the other things for.… ↩︎