Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Creative Habit

I'd planned on reading the final Harry Potter installation while on vacation, but I found myself rereading this amazing book on creativity by choreographer Twyla Tharp instead. Her words were exactly what I needed. They hit me like the firm, strong reassurance of a wise mentor, one who understands how creative gifts can be squandered when we spend too much time agonizing over how and where to start.

Twyla doesn't over romanticize the creative life, which I appreciate. But she acknowledges that sometimes you have to take some winding roads to get to where you're going. Reading her techniques, and what goes into her choreography--much of which has nothing at all to do with dance--makes me feel normal about all the weird things that capture my attention. She suggests that I'm not nuts to believe that my artistic obsessions (Michelle Branch's song lyrics; the episode of Project Runway where they go to the finalists' homes to see how they're coming on their collections for Fashion Week; every piece Mia Michaels choreographs for So You Think You Can Dance...) are all tied in somehow with how and what I write. Sometimes I feel like a bird collecting odd bits and scraps, not knowing quite how they'll all fit together in the end but trusting that somehow I'll make a nest out of it. Twyla seems to think this is a normal way to approach life (and yes, I know, artists are not always the best place to go when looking to define your "normal"...)

She even offers some new random things to add to my collection. If you're at all creative, or would like to be, this is a great place to start--a trip to a foreign land, where a day's work involves rolling around on the floor and waiting to see what comes of it.

I'm off to try "egg." (Check out page 112 if you're wondering what this is)

What's the strangest place you find creative inspiration?

7 comments:

~Virginia~ said...

this has nothing whatsoeverto do with your post, but i saw on amazon.com that a.j. jacobs wrote a review of your book and i was so impressed! :) i love him!!

Gretchen said...

Strangest place I find inspiration...walking to the T in the morning or from the T to work listening to my iPod. That or talking to friends about other random things or watching TV/movies.

L Sass said...

I find a lot of creative inspiration in the blogosphere! Certainly in personal blogs, but also in the writing and discussion related to my work.

My almost-over job, at it's best, involves a lot of strategic thinking. That's not what we typically consider to be "creative," but for me it scratches that itch. Thinking big picture / new ideas about my job is a really fulfilling and satisfying experience for me.

Stacy said...

Thanks for the book recommendation.

I don't know where my inspiration comes from most of the time. I usually find my stranger fascinations embedded in the work later on, and it's like, "Where did that come from?"

Larramie said...

By trying "egg," does this mean you're cooking again, Trish? *BG*

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I just put it on my library list--thanks for the recommendation! I could use some creative inspiration! :)

#1 GAL, Dr. Ty! said...

Any quiet bathroom. Usually my own, but it can be a public one if no one's around. Not sure why.

I think it's the fact that I'm forced to just think, without distractions (although I've been known to bring my laptop in with me -- to my home bathroom, of course). But, most of my best ideas have come in some form of a bathroom.

Sorry for the visual.