Daily Rituals: Women at Work

Daily Rituals: Women at Work Review


More of Mason Currey's irresistible Daily Rituals, this time exploring the daily obstacles and rituals of women who are artists--painters, composers, sculptors, scientists, filmmakers, and performers. We see how these brilliant minds get to work, the choices they have to make: rebuffing convention, stealing (or secreting away) time from the pull of husbands, wives, children, obligations, in order to create their creations.


From those who are the masters of their craft (Eudora Welty, Lynn Fontanne, Penelope Fitzgerald, Marie Curie) to those who were recognized in a burst of acclaim (Lorraine Hansberry, Zadie Smith) . . . from Clara Schumann and Shirley Jackson, carving out small amounts of time from family life, to Isadora Duncan and Agnes Martin, rejecting the demands of domesticity, Currey shows us the large and small (and abiding) choices these women made--and continue to make--for their art: Isak Dinesen, "I promised the Devil my soul, and in return he promised me that everything I was going to experience would be turned into tales," Dinesen subsisting on oysters and Champagne but also amphetamines, which gave her the overdrive she required . . . And the rituals (daily and otherwise) that guide these artists: Isabel Allende starting a new book only on January 8th . . . Hilary Mantel taking a shower to combat writers' block ("I am the cleanest person I know") . . . Tallulah Bankhead coping with her three phobias (hating to go to bed, hating to get up, and hating to be alone), which, could she "mute them," would make her life "as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water" . . . Lillian Hellman chain-smoking three packs of cigarettes and drinking twenty cups of coffee a day--and, after milking the cow and cleaning the barn, writing out of "elation, depression, hope" ("That is the exact order. Hope sets in toward nightfall. That's when you tell yourself that you're going to be better the next time, so help you God.") . . . Diane Arbus, doing what "gnaws at" her . . . Colette, locked in her writing room by her first husband, Henry Gauthier-Villars (nom de plume: Willy) and not being "let out" until completing her daily quota (she wrote five pages a day and threw away the fifth). Colette later said, "A prison is one of the best workshops" . . . Jessye Norman disdaining routines or rituals of any kind, seeing them as "a crutch" . . . and Octavia Butler writing every day no matter what ("screw inspiration").
Germaine de Sta�l . . . Elizabeth Barrett Browning . . . George Eliot . . . Edith Wharton . . . Virginia Woolf . . . Edna Ferber . . . Doris Lessing . . . Pina Bausch . . . Frida Kahlo . . . Marguerite Duras . . . Helen Frankenthaler . . . Patti Smith, and 131 more--on their daily routines, superstitions, fears, eating (and drinking) habits, and other finely (and not so finely) calibrated rituals that help summon up willpower and self-discipline, keeping themselves afloat with optimism and fight, as they create (and avoid creating) their creations.

Title:Daily Rituals: Women at Work
Edition Language:English

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    Daily Rituals: Women at Work Reviews

  • Kristen

    These little snippets are like crack to my soul. ...

  • Anna (lion_reads)

    This book had me compulsively reading the daily rituals of all these women — writers, artists, performers, dancers. I don't know what it is, but I find how people work absolutely fascinating. I also...

  • teresa

    What it covers in breadth of many different women artists it loses in anything other than a cursory overview of how each artist approaches work. I find the subject fascinating but yet I found myself b...

  • Karen

    Full Disclosure: I received an ARC (Advanced Release Copy) of this book.Mason Currey has written an interesting book full of vignettes on creative women. The book covered painters, sculptors, composer...

  • Audrianna Thompson

    I was raised by my mother, a creative soul and artist, and she was raised by her mother who is another creative soul and artist. While the three of us (and my younger sisters) share creative blood tha...

  • Hannah Notess

    Oof, so ... it's tough. I'm glad this book exists (admittedly, as a corrective to the writer's earlier book). Did I get what I needed and wanted from it? Absolutely not. Lots of interesting vignettes....

  • Kathleen

    In the essay "The Importance of Unread Books" Kevin Mims discusses 3 types of books in a person's collection: (1) books one has read and kept (2) books kept and unread for long periods of time---the J...

  • Sheila Guevin

    I loved this book.It is a snapshot look at 143 female artists, writers, photographers, actors and how they lived and created within their average day.The organization is by odd things like those that ...

  • Sarah Olson

    This book is beautiful in every way! A wonderful collection you'll want to keep on your desk or bedside table for daily reading. The organization allows you to open anywhere and read a few sections at...

  • Tucki Bailey

    Inspiring ...