What I'm reading now: Daily Rituals

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work 

Mason Currey's blog turned beautiful-little-hardback is a fun and easy summer read. It contains 166 brief bios of artists and their daily rituals: what time they wake up, how they get into the vibe, when and what they eat, and how they relax. The book's small size and brief sections make it an ideal book for the metro, the beach or the backyard.

Some artists (or "Writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists" ) cannot accomplish anything after noon, others do not rise until then. Some are high maintenance (Mahler), others discreet (Austen). Arthur Miller has no routine at all. He explains his experience of inspiration as baffling: "The only image I can think of is a man walking around with an iron rod in his hand during a lightening storm" (p.56).

The most interesting part of savoring this little book, however, is not hearing the routines of the rich, famous, dead, talented or pampered. It is reflecting on one's own routine and how well it serves one's needs. Even a casual perusal of these brief vignettes will force the reader to think about which times of day (if any) bring a special inspiration or work ethic. It is only logical to then assess whether one is taking the necessary steps to defend and guard that time. It is this exercise that makes this an ideal book for academics and anyone whose professional or personal goals call for creation. I highly recommend it.