A new book has been released, titled Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, based on the blog of the same name. This intriguing book is positioned around the idea that if we could only replicate the routines of the greatest minds, we would be able to understand something about their genius, though the author acknowledges that this is an impossible task. Here is a sampling of some of the 3 best writers’ routines:
1. Mark Twain would go into his study in the morning and remain there until around 5:00 in the evening. He always skipped lunch, and his family never dared to interrupt him. If they ever needed him, they would blow a horn. After dinner, Twain would read the day’s writing to his family.
2. Gertrude Stein always drank coffee in the morning as soon as she woke up—often around 10. Her lover and companion, Alice B. Toklas, who lived with Stein all her life, often awoke well before her, at 6 a.m. They each bathed and combed their French poodle, Basket, and brushed its teeth!
3. Before leaving the house to work James Joyce was given breakfast in bed by his wife, Nora, where he remained lost in thought till about 11. After rising at 11, Joyce shaved and sat down at his piano to play a few tunes. Often, his playing was interrupted by the arrival of a bill collector or two.
Daily Rituals features authors such as T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Leo Tolstoy, and Vladimir Navokov. This wonderful book illuminates the human impulse for creativity, and the restlessness of the artists who were driven by the pursuit of linguistic and creative merit.