Synopses & Reviews
Creativity is not a gift from the gods, says Twyla Tharp, bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort, and it's within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: "In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative." In "The Creative Habit," Tharp takes the lessons she has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career and shares them with you, whatever creative impulses you follow whether you are a painter, composer, writer, director, choreographer, or, for that matter, a businessperson working on a deal, a chef developing a new dish, a mother wanting her child to see the world anew.
When Tharp is at a creative dead end, she relies on a lifetime of exercises to help her get out of the rut, and "The Creative Habit" contains more than thirty of them to ease the fears of anyone facing a blank beginning and to open the mind to new possibilities.
Tharp's exercises are practical and immediately doable for the novice or expert. In "Where's Your Pencil?" she reminds us to observe the world and get it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she provides the simplest of mental games to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows how to clean your cluttered mind overnight.
To Tharp, sustained creativity begins with rituals, self-knowledge, harnessing your memories, and organizing your materials (so no insight is ever lost). Along the way she leads you by the hand through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding thespine of your work, and getting out of ruts into productive grooves. In her creative realm, optimism rules. An empty room, a bare desk, a blank canvas can be energizing, not demoralizing. And in this inventive, encouraging book, Twyla Tharp shows us how to take a deep breath and begin!
"The Creative Habit reflects the same demotic impulse that suffuses her most successful ballets." Emily Eakin, The New York Times
"[F]rees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp." Publisher's Weekly
"If this guide to creativity is as insouciant and quirky as Tharp's dances, it should be really fun reading." Library Journal
"[A]n excellent examination of the roots of creativity." Simon Kupi, The Silhouette
"She believes in hard work which, as she breaks it down, morphs into more like hard play." Linda Winer, Newsday
About the Author
Twyla Tharp, one of America's greatest choreographers, began her career in 1965, and in the ensuing years has created more than 130 dances for her company as well as for the Joffrey Ballet, the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, London's Royal Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Working to the music of everyone from Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart to Jelly Roll Morton, Frank Sinatra, and Bruce Springsteen, she is a pioneer in melding modern dance and ballet with popular music. In film, she collaborated with Milos Forman on Hair, Ragtime, and Amadeus. For television, she directed Baryshnikov by Tharp, which won two Emmy awards. For the Broadway stage, she directed the theatrical version of Singin' in the Rain, and in 2003 won a Tony Award for Movin' Out, which she conceived, directed, and choreographed to the songs of Billy Joel. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1993, she was inducted into the American Academy of ArtsandSciences, and in 1997 was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives and works in New York City.
Table of Contents
1 I Walk into a White Room
2 Rituals of Preparation
3 Your Creative DNA
4 Harness Your Memory
5 Before You Can Think out of the Box, You Have to Start with a Box
7 Accidents Will Happen
10 Ruts and Grooves
11 An "A" in Failure
12 The Long Run