Friday, January 4, 2008

New Day #7

I am reading the best book on creativity that I've encountered since reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way over ten years ago. It's The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, the choreographer, and it's full of practical advice to stimulate your creativity and, more importantly, increase your productivity.

One of the stories she shares is about a writer who never leaves the house without promising to return "with a face." Of course, he already has a face of his own, but he needs to remember lots more to create characters. I tried it today when I went to the grocery store. (If you're reading carefully, you might notice I go to the store a lot. I have a fresh bread fetish. Plus I don't plan.) I often set mental assignments for myself when I run errands--working out plot problems, etc--but I've never just shown up and let my intuition do the work for me, hunting and gathering ideas as I'm hunting and gathering food.

So there I was consulting the produce person about which were the crispest, sweetest apples when some other customer comes over to ask a question and proceeds to give her unsolicited opinion about the merits of Braeburn apples. I thought she was kind of rude, until I noticed she had a distinctive facial feature I haven't used yet, which I won't mention here because Portland is smaller than you'd think.

I then bought something called Jazz apples, which I liked, even though they don't taste anything like jazz.

While I'm on the subject of creativity, here's a little essay I wrote about The Artist's Way.


writermama said...

I have always wanted to read this. Thanks for the endorsement. I've never known anyone who read it.

Marc Acito said...

I'm loving it. In fact, yesterday I opened it up and was immediately struck with inspiration for a new piece that I'll pitch to NPR. Like I said, the best book on creativity since The Artist's Way, which I should be receiving a royalty from since I buy/recommend so many copies.