Daily Rituals by Mason Curry and Light the Dark – Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process were two of the three non-fiction books I read this month. They were both books that I read a chapter each day so have actually been dipping into these for a while. I did enjoy reading them. They were motivational and interesting, especially the Daily Rituals because I am curious and love discovering how other people settle into their day to create.
Daily Rituals had a few paragraphs about 161 different creators, (writers, artists, scientists, musicians, and dancers). Some I had heard of and others I hadn’t. The book gives you a glimpse at the creators daily life which sounds a little like being a voyeur but in a good way. The author found most of his information from biographies and auto biographies. If you need a little motivation in your life and are curious about the lives of others, I would recommend this book. This author has a similar book – Daily Rituals – Women at Work.
Light the Dark – is specific to authors. Forty-six authors provided an essay about a book that inspired them. Again, I was familiar with some of the authors but many I had never heard of. I am curious enough that I often followed up googling the author after reading their essays. The authors included were Stephen King, Elizabeth Gilbert, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Roxane Gay, Neil Gaiman, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Chabot, and Jonathan Lethem.
Stephen King wrote about opening lines and the book he chose was – Shoot by Douglas Fairbairn. King said that he doesn’t think conceptually while working on a first draft – he just writes. He said to try to get scientific about it is like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar. He does explain what he thinks is crucial to an opening line. He goes in-depth and as usual his writing advice is always on spot and what we need to hear.
Angela Flournoy chose Zora Neale Hurston’s – Mules and Men. At the time she was writing – The Turner House – the story of one family’s relationship, over the span of fifty years, with a house in the city of Detroit. She struggled with thinking – ‘Who do you think you are to be writing this book in the first place? I liked this piece because I think this is a question every writer asks themselves at some time. I wasn’t familiar with Angela Flournoy or Zora Neale Hurston before reading this essay but I did learn a little bit about them and their journey as a writer.
This book introduced me to more writers and I am always grateful for that. It also showed me that writers are people who struggle with their craft every day like most authors and writers I have met over the years. It also showed me how they kept going. Any writer friends who find themselves on that roller-coaster ride to create would probably find plenty of little gems of motivation within the covers of this book.
Out of all of the authors in the book, I had only ever met Amy Tan but there are many more I would like to meet in the future. It is interesting to see what little seed from a story inspired someone to start or continue a writing career. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to write or read.
Until next time,