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You have come upon a meeting ground for creative spirit on a transformational path. We invite you, dear "Storyteller Of The New Millennium," to share a tale and offer a suggestion to nurture creative spirit. What techniques do you use to overcome the challenges of our rapidly changing and complex world?
Posted by Creativity Cafe on July 08, 19100 at 17:49:09:
>Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 08:11:30 -0700 (PDT)
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>To: "V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media"
>Subject: ERIC MAISEL'S CREATIVITY NEWSLETTER #1, JULY, 2000
>WELCOME TO ERIC MAISEL'S MONTHLY CREATIVITY NEWSLETTER
># 1 July, 2000
>Welcome to the first issue of the Creativity Newsletter. In each issue
>you'll find a creativity lesson and exercise, a creativity teaching tale,
>information about my books and workshops, and more. If you find this
>newsletter interesting, please pass it on to a friend. If you're receiving
>this issue but haven't subscribed to the newsletter, you will only receive
>future issues if you subscribe. You can subscribe by visiting my web site,
>http://www.ericmaisel.com and signing up for your free subscription, or by
>sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
>PUBLICATION OF THE CREATIVITY BOOK
>I'd like to announce the publication of my latest book. It's called The
>Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance and contains 88
>lessons for increasing creativity (along with a hundred exercises). It's
>published by Tarcher/Putnam (it's my 5th book with them) and is hot off the
>presses. You can obtain it from your local independent bookstore, the
>chains, or online bookstores. You can also purchase it through my web site,
>where you will be linked to Amazon.com. It is beautifully designed and
>pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!
>As some of you know, I teach a class on nonfiction book proposal writing.
>I've just sold the book--tentatively titled From Idea to Proposal--that
>accompanies this class. It will appear late in 2001 from Tarcher/Putnam.
>My next class begins September 13 and runs for 6 Wednesday nights, 7 p.m.
>to 9 p.m., ending October 18th. It's at Book Passage in Corte Madera. To
>sign up call the store at 800-999-7909 or 415-927-0960 or email them at
>email@example.com. The class will help you move from a vague idea
>for a nonfiction book to a solid idea (most nonfiction books start out so
>vaguely that their would-be author doesn't feel motivated to proceed) and
>will teach you how to put together a compelling book proposal. The class is
>right for any sort of nonfiction, including memoirs, and useful whether
>you're just starting (or haven't started at all) or have a lot (or all) of
>your book completed.
>I can also work with you individually on your book proposal. E-mail me for
>In December of this year I will have a new book coming out called Sleep
>Thinking: The Revolutionary Program That Helps You Solve Problems, Reduce
>Stress, and Increase Creativity While You Sleep. My daughter Natalya, who
>just finished her freshman year at Berkeley, helped me write this book, and
>her name appears on the cover. Very exciting! I am always looking for
>sleep thinking stories (I already have the sequel in mind!), so if you've
>ever solved a problem or done creative work in your sleep, I hope you'll
>share your story with me. You can E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
>NEWS AND NOTES
>I just completed a round of 25 radio interviews (conducted by phone) for a
>book of mine that appeared May, 2000, called 20 Communication Tips for
>Families. Here are five tips for those of you who may do radio interviews
>in support of your creative work:
>1. Be at the phone a half-hour early, if you can. The time you are told
>that a host will call can be off by that much or more. (By the same token,
>the call can be very late.)
>2. Make sure you know if the host is calling you or if you are supposed to
>call in. This sounds obvious but it's actually easy to forget.
>3. Wait for the host to finish his or her thought. Sometimes a host will
>go in three directions before getting to the actual question. Remain
>patient and calm.
>4. Go with the flow. You should have your crib notes in front of you, but
>you will probably have to tailor your "pat responses" to the angle the
>host is playing.
>5. Don't hang up after the host has said goodbye. Often the producer or
>the host will come back on the line to thank you. That's your chance to
>thank them and suggest that they have you back.
>I want to thank Susan Taylor Brown for her great work on my web site. If
>you're looking to build your personal site, check out my site and you'll
>find her E-mail address at the bottom of the home page.
>I just finished giving my first teleclass (phone class), based on one of my
>books called Deep Writing. It was a seven-week class, one hour each week,
>and most of the participants were writers from the South (I think 4 or 5
>were from Georgia). It was very interesting and a good experience; if
>you've been toying with the idea of taking (or giving) a teleclass, I
>recommend it. The phone turns out to be quite an intimate venue, and I
>will certainly offer more teleclasses in the future.
>I thought that I would recommend one web site in each issue. For this
>inaugural issue, I'm recommending Ed Hook's site, http://www.edhooks.com.
>Ed Hooks is a Bay Area actor and acting teaching whose free monthly online
>newsletter has a craft section that should interest anyone interested in
>creativity. Take a look!
>I thought that I would err on the side of too much content, rather than too
>little, in this newsletter. This is one of my habits: in the first workshop
>I ever gave, about fifteen years ago, I tried to cram a weekend's worth of
>information into an hour presentation. But I am continuing that (bad) habit
>here! Following are two long pieces that I hope you find useful. One is
>an excerpt from The Creativity Book about making time for creativity. The
>second is a creativity coaching tale about artist's discipline. I hope you
>enjoy them. If you want to pass them along to others, feel free to do so,
>but please pass along the whole newsletter, so that recipients can have the
>chance to subscribe.
>CREATIVITY LESSON: MAKING TIME FOR CREATIVE WORK
>In a prose piece that is one of the seminal works of existential
>literature, the poet Rilke describes a man who gets it into his head to
>calculate how many seconds he has left to live. Once he makes this
>calculation and begins to obsess about the relentless nature of time, which
>will not stop and which he can now viscerally feel passing, he experiences
>time in a new, horrible way. Each passing second brings him closer to his
>inevitable death; and since a second is too short a span in which to get
>anything done, he does nothing but manage to make death his constant
>This piece, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, is about the
>psychological experience of time, about how the mind can make of time
>anything it will. When we are waiting for the pot to boil or a boring
>meeting to end, time takes forever. Those few minutes drag on so long that
>we feel we could write War and Peace and have time left over. But at other
>times, when we are actually writing War and Peace, time flies by. We sit
>down, vanish in our work, look up, and two hours have passed. How can a
>minute of meeting time feel infinitely longer than an hour of novel-writing
>As a therapist, I've acquired a feel for fifty minutes. It may not sound
>like much time, but a great deal can be accomplished in fifty minutes. In
>a session with a client, we could learn a great deal of importance about
>his childhood. We could map a detailed plan for next year that readies him
>to write his symphony. Fifty minutes is an extraordinary amount of time,
>if it is used well. This is what an everyday creative person wishes and
>demands at least some of her time to feel like.
>Time is THE issue, because it stands for so much. There is the matter of
>having too little time, because of all the time your job eats up. There is
>the equally profound matter of feeling too drained and brain dead to get
>your creative work done in the time remaining after work. Even more
>important is not feeling up to creating and blaming time for what is really
>motivational malaise. Time can be the enemy and time can be the scapegoat.
>People who want to create and who also work a day job get up earlier than
>other people. They make time. People who do not want to create, even if
>they have luxurious amounts of time on their hands, have "no time" for
>their composing, writing, or painting. We can carve time out of thin air
>or we can fill up even infinite stretches of time with nothingness. These
>are our choices. You can make a quarter hour appear if that's really your
>heart's desire; wanting it to appear is
>proof that you're becoming an everyday creative person.
>Exercise. Make an Hour
>If you don't have one already, buy a kitchen timer, one of those wind-up
>timers that can go for up to an hour, that click loudly as they wind down,
>and that bing when the designated time is up.
>Wind it up and put it next to you. Sit. You will find the experience
>intolerable because of the loud ticking. This is how it feels to become
>too conscious of seconds. Now put the kitchen timer in another room, one
>close enough that you can hear the ultimate bing but not so close that you
>can hear the moment-to-moment ticking.
>Today, set the timer for twenty minutes. Do absolutely nothing.Twiddle
>your thumbs. Do not read a magazine. Do not start the laundry. Just grow
>restless. What a long time twenty minutes can be! Wait for the blessed
>bing. Then get on with your life.
>Tomorrow, set the timer for forty minutes. Sit. Stare into space. Again
>do nothing. Don't meditate. No yoga. Do absolutely nothing. Aren't
>forty minutes an eternity?
>The day after tomorrow, set the timer for an hour. But this time do not do
>nothing. Do something. If you have a creative project in mind, work on
>that. If you haven't chosen a creative project yet, spend the hour engaged
>with your possibilities. Sketch the house you might build. Start a plan
>for your home business. Outline your book. Get acquainted with your
>Wasn't that a different, better experience? An hour is an incredible amount
>of time, incredibly oppressive if you're avoiding your chosen work,
>incredibly spacious if you're using yourself well. One of your jobs is to
>make at least one good hour magically appear every single day, as early
>each day as possible.
>Creativity Teaching Tale: The Writer Who Craved Discipline
> One day a young writer named David, pained that he had not completed a
>single one of the twenty stories he had begun in the past year-and-a-half,
>came to see Ari, a creativity coach who lived in the desert.
> "I am so undisciplined!" David blurted out as soon as he was seated.
>"What is discipline?"
> Ari stared at the young man without smiling. Then he replied, "For an
>artist, the word 'discipline' has a special meaning." He fixed David with
>his gaze. "Let's say that the urge to write about something welled up in
>your soul. You understand that feeling?"
> "What are your two possible responses?"
> David thought for a moment. "To say 'no' to the urge or to say 'yes' to
> Ari nodded. "If you said 'no' to the urge, maybe you would go out and
>exercise. Maybe every time you said no to your creativity, you would
>exercise, one time jogging, another time lifting weights, and so forth. If
>you did that all the time you might get very fit. What might people say
> David pondered the question. "Well, I think that people would say ...
>that I was very disciplined!"
> "Exactly. But would you be writing or completing your stories?"
> "Would you be a creator or something else?"
> "Something else."
> "For a creator, discipline means creating regularly. It can have no
>other meaning. Being disciplined in some other way, like doing yoga every
>morning or doing superb work at your day job, is not only not an artist's
>discipline but it may even be a person's avoidance of his artist's nature.
>So, you ask, what is discipline? For an artist, it is artist's discipline
>and no other kind of discipline, not even the very important discipline of
>the alcoholic artist who maintains sobriety or the depressed artist who
> "I understand!" David pulled on his short brown beard. "But how can I
>acquire artist's discipline?"
> "Imagine that you've been placed on a spinning beach ball and that you
>can just maintain your balance. It takes every ounce of effort to keep
>yourself upright, every ounce of mental and physical dexterity. Could you
> "No. Not as you described it."
> "No, you couldn't. What would artist's discipline mean in that context?"
> David thought for some time. He imagined that if he got very skilled at
>riding the beach ball, maybe he would then possess the wherewithal to also
>write. He could picture a great acrobat twirling on the beach ball and
>also drinking lemonade and writing War and Peace. That image was very
>seductive. The great acrobat's mastery was very impressive and also looked
>easy, effortless. Why couldn't he learn to handle life, no matter how
>chaotic and demanding it might be, and also write? But in the pit of his
>stomach he understood what riding on that ball would feel like. It would
>never be possible to write, not so long as he had to maintain his balance.
> "I would have to fall off the ball first," he murmured.
> "Or hop off!" Ari laughed. "Yes. On and off, on and off, one minute in
>the whirlwind of spinning life and the next minute in the deep quiet of not
>riding the ball. The first step is hopping off the spinning ball. Then
>you will meet you, in stillness, in all your nakedness, without that
>balancing act to distract you or occupy your thoughts. What will be
> "My stomach!" David blurted out.
> "Exactly. Then and only then will you get to create. Then you will
>find yourself in the very best anxiety, in real quiet, married to your own
>thoughts. Then you will write and finish things."
> David nodded. He knew what Ari meant. But he didn't know how to
>acquire that discipline.
> "Go now," Ari said before David could ask his next question.
> "You have the idea. Now master it."
> "Go now."
> David got up reluctantly. A few seconds later he found himself back in
>the tumult of the Bazaar. Just as he emerged from the shop, a shaft of
>mid-afternoon desert sunshine completely blinded him.
>STAY IN TOUCH
>If there have been any formatting problems with this newsletter or other
>problems of that sort, do let me know. This is new to me! Please be
>patient and forgiving!
>The best way to be in touch and to stay in touch is through this newsletter
>and via E-mail. To subscribe to the newsletter, send an E-mail to
>email@example.com. My E-mail address is
>I welcome your thoughts and comments. Until August!
>Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
>fax (925) 689-0210
>message (925) 689-0210
>Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
>fax (925) 689-0210
>message (925) 689-0210
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