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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
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Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, "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." Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his "male configurations". . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced "every pleasure imaginable." Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . . Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to "clear the brain").

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Format:
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Street Date:
04/23/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307962379
ASIN:
B009Y4I4OM
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APA Citation (style guide)

Mason Currey. (2013). Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mason Currey. 2013. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mason Currey. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Mason Currey was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Currey's writing has appeared in Slate, Metropolis, and Print. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Daily Rituals
fullDescription

Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, "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."

Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his "male configurations". . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced "every pleasure imaginable."
Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . .
Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to "clear the brain").

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 6, 2013
        Succinct descriptions of artistic temperament and practice provide the material for this entertaining, if repetitive, collection. Currey catalogues well over 100 writers, thinkers, and artists, with most given roughly a page of text describing the details of their routines, often rooted in a quote from journals or interviews. The specifics and the dispositions vary wildly—while Marcel Proust would wake around four in the afternoon, smoke opium and drink coffee, and then work late into the evening with barely a bite to eat, there are as many figures, like Ernest Hemingway or Georgia O'Keeffe, who completed their work in the dawn hours and left the rest of the day for other pursuits. The rigorous lists (and staggering amounts) of chemicals ingested and the exacting workday hours are interesting, although the real treasures are to be found in the bizarre beliefs that undergird the strange practices of many artists. The included thinkers are almost without exception white Europeans and Americans and predominantly male, which limits the scope and increases the sense of monotony. There are enough moments of insight and entertainment, however, to keep this routine of routines engaging. Illustrations.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2013
        A journalist and editor debuts by converting his blog (Daily Rituals) into a book that does precisely what its titles promise. Although Currey begins with Auden, he does not end with Zola (who does not appear); instead, he offers an idiosyncratically arranged collection of snapshots--scores of them--that show us how various writers, painters, musicians, choreographers and architects go--or went--about their days. Some are unremarkable. They get up and go to work for a set number of hours at a desk every day. But many are as eccentric as you would expect--and hope. William H. Gass writes best when he's angry. Nabokov wrote in pencil on index cards and sorted them later. Schiller loved the inspirational smell of rotting apples. Some (Plath, Munro) learned to work while raising children. Some were night owls--Kafka, Proust, Samuel Johnson. B.F. Skinner--no surprise--conditioned himself to observe strict routines. Gertrude Stein and Richard Wright liked to write alfresco. Thomas Wolfe fondled himself while writing standing up. Proust and Capote wrote in bed. Some--Twain, Abbey--had little structures on the property where they could avoid distractions. Quite a few of the artists found ways to boost their energy--from the companionship of coffee to the buzz of Benzedrine. Alcohol was a reward for some at the end of the stint. And many of them found exercise a necessity. Oliver Sacks likes swimming; Dickens walked for three hours in the afternoon (myriads of these artists had walking routines); Twyla Tharp worked out for two hours every morning. The sequence is fun to follow and figure out--some are easy, some not: Martin Amis follows father Kingsley; Henry James follows brother William; Charles Schultz follows Anne Rice? The message? There is no preferred way--only the ways that work. An enjoyable book to dig into here and there.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2013
        Writers and artists are always asked about their process, including the crucial question, How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living? Currey set out to amass as much information as he could find about the routines brilliant and successful creators adopted and followed, and the result is a zestful survey of the working habits of some of the greatest minds of the last four hundred years. This zealous and judicious volume brims with quotes and fascinating disclosures about the vagaries of the creative life. Currey outs the habits of nearly 200 choreographers, comedians, composers, caricaturists, filmmakers, philosophers, playwrights, painters, poets, scientists, sculptors, and writers in a dizzying array that includes Benjamin Franklin, Henri Matisse, Nikola Tesla, Stephen King, Twyla Tharp, Federico Fellini, Ann Beattie, Gustav Mahler, and Toni Morrison. Here are early birds and night owls, the phenomenally rigorous and the nearly dysfunctional. George Balanchine thought things out while ironing. Maya Angelou writes sequestered in a tiny, mean hotel room. Marilynne Robinson confesses, I really am incapable of discipline. Currey's compendium is elucidating and delectable.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, "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."

Kafka is one of 161 inspired--and inspiring--minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his "male configurations". . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and...

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