Book Review: Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work


"Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, "time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wiggle through by subtle maneuvers."





My Review


Inspirational read about the daily rituals of great minds. I was especially interested in learning about the creative habits of famous composers. It's fascinating to know that we as artists have similar patterns and disciplines of so many creative minds mentioned here. Not surprising to read of composer's finding their inspiration in nature or upon rising early in the morning to compose their songs. What intrigued me was 
their sensitivity to privacy and not wanting to keep diaries or to be quoted by family members. Yet their desire was to teach and share their great gifts with the world. Indeed, they have and we are so enriched to review how they achieved their greatness in these writings. Take your time with this one because there are so many treasures to discover here. My only disappointment was that the contents were not alphabetized but you can easily pick up anywhere and find out about musicians, artists, philosophers and scientists. My favorite quote is from Tchaikovsky, of course.

4/5 stars.


My Favorites

"From nine to one I give lessons." -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Then he sat at his desk and worked until 2:00 or 3:00, taking the occasional break to walk outdoors, which aided his creativity. (Perhaps for this reason, Beethoven's productivity was generally higher during the warmer months." -- Ludwig van Beethoven 
"His creation was spontaneous and miraculous. He found it without seeking it, without for-seeing it. It came on his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or sang in his head during a walk, and he was impatient to play it to himself." -- Frederic Chopin
"I have never been able to compose unless sure that no one could hear me." -- Igor Stravinsky 
"My life has been my music, it's always come first, but the music ain't worth nothing if you can't lay it on the public." -- Louis Armstrong
 "Like the pugilist, the songwriter must always keep in training." -- George Gershwin
"The seed of a future composition usually reveals itself suddenly, in the most unexpected fashion. If the soil is favorable - that is, if I am in the mood for work, this seed takes root with inconceivable strength and speed, bursts through the soil, puts out roots, leaves, twigs and finally flowers: I can not define the creative process except through this metaphor." -- Tchaikovsky 

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work 

Here's  a quick overview of all the famous people the author has quoted from the book.

Abbey
Abramovic
Adams
Allen
Amis
Angelou
Armstrong
Asimov
Auden
Austen

Bacon
Baker
Balanchine
Balzac
Barthelme
Baum
Beattie
Beauvoir
Beckett
Beethoven
Bell
Bellow
Bergman
Boswell
Bourgeois

Cather
Cheever
Chopin
Close
Cornell

Darwin
Descartes
Dickens
Dickey

Eco
Edwards
Einstein
Eliot
Erdos

Farrell
Faulkner
Feldman
Fellini
Fitzgerald
Franklin
Franzen
Freud
Fuller

Gass
Gershwin
Goethe
Gogh
Gould
Grass
Greene

Hamsun
Hawthorne
Heller
Hemingway
Highsmith
Himes
Hirschfield
Hobbes
Hugo

James
Johnson
Joyce
Jung

Kafka
Kahn
Kalman
Kant
Kierkegaard
King
Kooning
Kosinski

Larkin
Lautrec
Liszt
Lynch

Mahler
Malamud
Mann
Marx
Matisse
McCullers
Mead
Melville
Mencken
Miller
Milton
Miro
Morrison
Mozart
Munro
Murakami

Nabokov

Oates
O'Connor
O'Keeffe
Orwell

Picasso
Plath
Pollock
Pritchett
Prose
Proust

Rachmaninoff
Rand
Reich
Rice
Richter
Robinson
Roth

Sacks
Sand
Sartre
Schiller
Schubert
Schultz
Shostakovich
Simenon
Sitwell
Skinner
Stafford
Stein
Stevens
Stoppard
Strauss
Stravinsky
Styron

Tesla
Tchaikovsky
Tharp
Tolstoy
Trollope
Twain

Updike

Voltaire

Wallace
Wilson
Wodehouse
Wolfe
Wright
Wyeth

Yeats

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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work









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