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The Creativity Councilor Is In! - CREATIVITY NEWSLETTER


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Posted by Creativity Cafe on July 08, 19100 at 17:49:09:

>Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 08:11:30 -0700 (PDT)
>To: "V.A.R.I.O.U.S. Media"
>From: Maisel
>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 creativitynewsletter-subscribe@egroups.com
>
>***
>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!
>
>***
>WRITING NONFICTION
>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
>messages@bookpassage.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
>details.
>
>***
>SLEEP THINKING
>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 amaisel@sirius.com.
>
>***
>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
>companion.
>
>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
>time?
>
>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
>dreams.
>
>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?"
> "Yes!"
> "What are your two possible responses?"
> David thought for a moment. "To say 'no' to the urge or to say 'yes' to
>the urge."
> 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
>about you?"
> 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?"
> "No."
> "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
>maintains hope."
> "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
>also write?"
> "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
>spinning then?"
> "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.
> "But--"
> "You have the idea. Now master it."
> "But--"
> "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
>creativitynewsletter-subscribe@egroups.com. My E-mail address is
>amaisel@sirius.com.
>
>I welcome your thoughts and comments. Until August!
>
>Eric
>
>
>______________________
>Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
>http://www.ericmaisel.com
>fax (925) 689-0210
>message (925) 689-0210
>
>
>______________________
>Eric Maisel, Ph.D.
>http://www.ericmaisel.com
>fax (925) 689-0210
>message (925) 689-0210
>



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