“Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” – First Thoughts


The book I am currently reading, is a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, an intriguing look at the daily routines of some 200 creators – writers, composers, painters, scientists, sculptors etc. This book came highly recommended via two sources: BrainPickings and the Tim Ferriss book club.

I am skimming currently on my first pass, skimming through the book, and immensely enjoying it. As I do so, here are some observations, in no particular order, which jumped out at me:

1. Most of these people, these artists featured in the book seem to be addicted to substances – alcohol / tobacco / coffee / drugs (usually amphetamines) – and seem to depend on these for their creativity
2. Most of them have other people (wives / sisters / parents /servants) to take care of them (cook / look after children if they have families/ do laundry etc..)
3. Most of them are men
4. Of the people who are women, most of them are single or don’t have kids
5. For most of them, their creative pursuit is what they did full-time.
a. Is this a sign of the times? Is it crazy that in our present everybody is expected to ‘hold down’ a ‘real job’? In the 1800 and 1900s doesn’t seem like this was expected. I’m not sure – something to be researched.
6. Almost all of them took long walks at different times of day, sometimes multiple times.
7. Most of them seemed to entertain quite a bit – either at home or go out to pubs / theatre
a. This was quite surprising to me.
b. A few, of course went the other extreme way and became hermits
8. Seems like most of them slept very less / had issues sleeping / issues with insomnia
a. Was this a side-affect of substance ingestion?

As I re-read this book and savor it in detail, I’m sure many more thoughts will come up.

One thing I am bummed about is that there seems to be no examples for this category – women, with a full-time job in a non-creative area, kids, family and still trying to pursue creative fields. I wonder if in today’s would, there are such women movers and shakers? And I wonder how their daily routines look like?

Readers, can you point me to any such women?

Book Source: Public Library

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