What do you think?
Rate this book
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 the spine 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!
247 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2003
Zoe and bios both mean life in Greek, but they are not synonymous. Zoe, wrote Kerenyi, refers to 'life in general, without characterization.' Bios characterizes a specific life, the outlines that distinguish one living thing from another.
Zoe is like seeing Earth from space. You get the sense of life on the rotating globe, but without a sense of the individual lives being lived on the planet. Bios involves swooping down from space from the perch of a high-powered spy satellite, closing in on the scene, and seeing the details. Bios distinguishes between one life and another. Zoe refers to the aggregate.
Bios accommodates the notion of death, that each life has a beginning, middle, and end, that each life contains a story. Zoe, wrote Kerenyi, “does not admit of the experience of its own destruction: it is experienced without end, as infinite life.” The difference between zoe and bios is like the difference between sacred and profane. Sacred art is zoe-driven; profane art stems from bios.
Balanchine was the essence of zoe (...) beautiful plotless structures (...) Their content is the essence of life, not the details of living (...) Balanchine’s gestures and steps pluck chords in us that we cannot easily name. Yet they resonate. They seem familiar. That’s the genius of Balanchine.
Robbins, on the other hand, was pure bios—and brilliant at it. When he created a dance, he was always accumulating details about the roles—from what the characters would wear to whom they were sleeping with—and out of these details of life he would construct an engaging narrative. As a man of bios, a master of details, he could tell a story that had, as a subtext, what Balanchine made a text of—namely, life.
I know that my best work comes out of my creative DNA that seeks to reconcile the competing forces of zoe and bios ...