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Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.
What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.
We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.
We are terrified, and we are brave.
Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.
The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you. - Elizabeth Gilbert
The blank page, empty canvas, or un-carved stone will often fill artists with dread. But so may the thought of finishing, showing, or even selling their work. It is in this "artistic anxiety" that creative blocks begin.
With an understanding that could only be gained through years of experience in counseling artists, writers, and performers, Eric Maisel, Ph.D. discusses each stage of creation-wishing, choosing, starting, working, completing, selling--and the anxieties particular to each. He then shows how these inhibiting tensions can be turned to artistic advantages, how truth and beauty arrive in the work of art precisely because, and only when, anxiety has been understood, embraced, and resolved.
"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, Mozart-like people rarely make art; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren't any people like that. Geniuses get made once a century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius." —-from the Introduction
The Viewpoints is a technique of improvisation that grew out of the postmodern dance world. It was first articulated by choreographer Mary Overlie, who broke down the two dominant issues performers deal with—space and time—into six categories. Since that time, directors Anne Bogart and Tina Landau have expanded her notions and adapted them for actors to function together spontaneously and intuitively and to generate bold, theatrical work.
The Viewpoints are a set of names given to certain principles of movement through time and space—they constitute a language for talking about what happens on stage. Coupling this with Composition, which is the practice of selecting and arranging the separate components of theatrical language into a cohesive work of art, provides theatre artists with an important new tool for creating and understanding their art form.
As relevant as when it was first published in 1968, groundbreaking director and cofounder of the Royal Shakespeare Company Peter Brook draws on a life in love with the stage to explore the issues facing a theatrical performance—of any scale. He describes important developments in theatre from the last century, as well as smaller scale events, from productions by Stanislavsky to the rise of Method Acting, from Brecht’s revolutionary alienation technique to the free form happenings of the 1960s, and from the different styles of such great Shakespearean actors as John Gielgud and Paul Scofield to a joyous impromptu performance in the burnt-out shell of the Hamburg Opera just after the war.
Passionate, unconventional, and fascinating, this book shows how theatre defies rules, builds and shatters illusions, and creates lasting memories for its audiences.
Whether in painting, poetry, performance, music, dance, or life, there is an intelligence working in every situation. This force is the primary carrier of creation.
If we trust it and follow its natural movement, it will astound us with its ability to find a way through problems—and even make creative use of our mistakes and failures.
There is a magic to this process that cannot be controlled by the ego. Somehow it always finds the way to the place where you need to be, and a destination you never could have known in advance.
When everything seems as if it is hopeless and going nowhere . . . trust the process.
For many of us, the return of Zen conjures up images of rock gardens and gently flowing waterfalls. We think of mindfulness and meditation, immersion in a state of being where meaning is found through simplicity. Zen lore has been absorbed by Western practitioners and pop culture alike, yet there is a specific area of this ancient tradition that hasn’t been fully explored in the West. Now, in The Zen of Creativity, American Zen master John Daido Loori presents a book that taps the principles of the Zen arts and aesthetic as a means to unlock creativity and find freedom in the various dimensions of our existence. Loori dissolves the barriers between art and spirituality, opening up the possibility of meeting life with spontaneity, grace, and peace.
In short and engaging entries, this deceptively simple volume presents examples of creative thinkers from the worlds of writing, music, architecture, painting, technology, and more, shedding light on their process, and showing how each of us can learn from them to improve our lives and our work.
Subjects range from the grueling practice schedule of the Beatles and the relentless revisions of Tolkien, Sondheim, and Picasso to the surprisingly slapdash creation of The Simpsons. You’ll learn about the most successful class in history (in which every student won a Nobel Prize), how frozen peas were invented, why J.K. Rowling likes to write in cafes, and how 95 percent of Apocalypse Now ended up on the cutting-room floor.
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"