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Re: The Creativity Councilor Is In! - CREATIVITY NEWSLETTER

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Posted by Gladys Brawer on October 31, 19100 at 10:22:42:

In Reply to: The Creativity Councilor Is In! - CREATIVITY NEWSLETTER 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
: >
: ># 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
: >
: >***
: >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
: >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.
: >
: >***
: >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.
: >
: >***
: >
: >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.
: >
: >***
: >
: >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.
: >
: >***
: >
: >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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