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Twyla Tharp's boxes
Everyone has his or her own organizational system. Mine is a box, the kind you can buy at Office Depot for transferring files.
I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance. This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me.
The box documents active research on every project….
There are separate boxes for everything I’ve ever done. If you want a glimpse into how I think and work, you could do worse than to start with my boxes.
The box makes me feel organized, that I have my act together even when I don’t know where I’m going yet.
It also represents a commitment. The simple act of writing a project name on the box means I’ve started work.
The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this even when I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but I know it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constant reminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.
Most important, though, the box means I never have to worry about forgetting. One of the biggest fears for a creative person is that some brilliant idea will get lost because you didn’t write it down and put it in a safe place. I don’t worry about that because I know where to find it. It’s all in the box….
They’re easy to buy, and they’re cheap….They’re one hundred percent functional; they do exactly what I want them to do: hold stuff. I can write on them to identify their contents… I can move them around… When one box fills up, I can easily unfold and construct another. And when I’m done with the box, I can ship it away out of sight, out of mind, so I can move on to the next project, the next box.
Easily acquired. Inexpensive. Perfectly functional. Portable. Identifiable. Disposable. Eternal enough.
Those are my criteria for the perfect storage system. And I’ve found the answer in a simple file box.
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