Second Reformed Church

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: "Daily Rituals"

Mason Currey's fascinating book, Daily Rituals:  How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work, began with a series of blog posts and eventually grew into this book.

Currey has done extensive research -- as shown in his lengthy section of end notes -- to find out what the "great minds" -- such as Carl Jung, Igor Stravinsky, George Sand, Knut Hamsun, Maria Kalman, Gustave Flaubert, and many others -- "make time, find inspiration, and get to work" -- as the subtitle tells.

In reading over the variety of opinions, it seems the best answer is to get up early, sleep in late, take naps, stay away for many hours, go to be early, stay up all night, work in bed, at your desk, in the pub, eating sparsely, abundantly, erratically, precisely, smoking, using drugs, drinking, being a teetotaller, stay completely clean, having sex often, and staying celibate.

Or, as Bernard Malamud wrote, "There's no one way -- there's too much drivel about this subject.  You're who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe.  You write by sitting down and writing.  There's not particular time or place -- you suit yourself, your nature.  How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter.  If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help.  The trick is to make time -- not to steal it -- and produce the fiction.  If the stories come, you get them written, you're on the right track.  Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way.  The real mystery to crack is you" (234).

This is a fascinating, humorous, encouraging book.  Enjoy!

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