Something Julia said last week on her blog about her NaNoWriMo experience struck a chord: " I am calmer, more purposeful. This feels like a job now. I go to work and actually manufacture something." This is the feeling I want, the feeling that this is my job, that I am making something.
Twyla (if I may be so bold as to call her that) spoke to me from the very first page. She is talking about the blank page, the white canvas, the empty dance studio:
"Some people find this moment - the moment before creativity begins - so painful that they simply cannot deal with it. They get up and walk away from the computer, the canvas, the keyboard; they take a nap or go shopping or fix lunch or do chores around the house. They procrastinate. In its most extreme form, this terror totally paralyses people.
The blank space can be humbling. But I've faced it my whole professional life. It's my job. It's also my calling. Bottom line: Filling the empty space constitutes my identity."
Yes. I hear that. All of it. When I read the above I thought, This person can teach me something. And I was right. With chapters entitled "Rituals of Preparation", "Your Creative DNA", "Before You Can Think Out of the Box, You Have to Start with A Box", and "Ruts and Grooves", I started learning, in just one day's reading, a whole host of new ways to set up the Creative Habit.
I especially love starting a new box for each new project and filling it with the things that inspire, so I have begun a box (an old shoe box) for my new fiction-writer-in-residence position at the University's Science Faculty and have in it the program from last week's showing of five films made by the Faculty interviewing mathematicians. Inspirational.
There is a great deal more wisdom in here, never passed on in a preachy or insistent tone, but gently yet firmly. This is someone who knows what she does, how she does it best and why. An ideal present for anyone who wants to do anything with a passion. I am off to read it again. And again. So no, you can't borrow my copy. Get your own!