A couple of weeks ago I saw that Alyson Stanfield of I’d Rather Be in the Studio fame had recommended the book, Talent is Overrated– What Really Separates World-class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. Well, when I went to order that book from Amazon, of course they recommended two more on a related topic, both by the dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp. I bit the hook and ordered those, too, so I am currently reading three books at the same time. Not unlike a kid who can’t decide on a candy bar, I unwrapped them all and I’m munching on each in turn. The Creative Habit- Learn It and Use It for Life and The Collaborative Habit- Life Lessons for Working Together are each inspiring for different reasons.
I recommend Creative Habit because it is a nitty-gritty book of creative how-to fresh from a world-class expert on producing complex dance productions out of her creative genius. Her assertion is (in my words) that creative genius is the ability to focus on the creative ritual and process long enough so that it is inevitable that something creative will happen. Instead of answering her interviewers with the story of aha! moments in the creative process, she answers them about her daily routine (which sounds stringent to me) that leads her to the artistic output.
The book includes details about how she physically stores her ideas she is working on. It includes her own exercises (not physical- mental!) to promote self-understanding and to promote good creative habits. She even has exercise suggestions for improving memory so that it can be used to serve our own creative purpose. Finally, the author give us a skills inventory of all the abilities that are necessary for high-level achievement, and she makes recommendations on how to promote those abilities in ourselves.
In addition to being generally inspiring by her choice of images and words, Twyla Tharp gives practical, doable suggestions for how to sustain our own creativity in any field. I feel like dancing!
12″ x 12″. Copyright 2009 by Lynn Bridge.
Next time: a review of the Geoff Colvin book.