A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...
Posts tagged "routine"
Jul 23, 2014
Paul McCartney and John Lennon writing “I Saw Her Standing There,” 1962
I looked this photo up after reading about it in Joshua Shenk’s Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs:
One late November afternoon in 1962, John Lennon and Paul McCartney got together to write at Paul’s house at 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool. Their ritual was to come around in the afternoon, just the two of them, when Paul’s dad was at work. They would go to the small front room overlooking Jim McCartney’s patch of garden and sit opposite each other. “Like mirrors,” Paul said.
John sat on a chair pulled in from the dining room. He had his Jumbo Gibson acoustic-electric with a sunburst finish. Paul sat on a little table in front of the telly with his foot on the hearth of the coal fireplace. He played a Spanish-style guitar with nylon strings, strung in reverse for a lefty. In a photography shot by Paul’s brother, Michael, they’re both looking down at a notebook on the floor, filled with lyrics…
…Years later, Paul told his brother that he loved his photo of the “I Saw Her Standing There” writing session because it captured how it really was—”the Rodgers and Hammerstein of pop at work.” Writing “eyeball to eyeball,” as John said, they weren’t just frontmen for a rock group; they were composers working in concert.
There’s a Lennon/McCartney excerpt of the book over at the Atlantic.
Photo credit: Mike McCartney, image via britishbeatlemania
Filed under: The Beatles
Jul 15, 2014
EH!? NO! NO! NO! It is not much to compose 12 or 13 cantatas in one year because if you think about it Bach, for example, used to compose one cantata a week. He had to compose the music in time for it to be performed in church on Sunday so if you just consider Bach, you will see that I’m practically unemployed!
Jul 02, 2014
From John Wray’s NYTimes profile:
Cave now lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and twin 14-year-old sons, in a residence that would have seemed, for a number of reasons, inconceivable to the scarecrow-haired punk he was back in Berlin. When I met him this winter, he was renting a modest office a short walk from his house, keeping regular office hours like a bona fide salaryman. (“I used to go six days a week, till I couldn’t stand it anymore,” Cave said with a grin. “Now I go Sundays as well.”)
Apart from a small upright piano off to one side, a microphone stand and a haphazard-looking collection of photos and pages torn from magazines pinned to the wall, the room itself could have passed for the office of a determinedly anachronistic clerk: a good-size desk, a manual typewriter and a well-used bottle of whiteout. His work ethic has long been legendary. While writing one of his best-known songs, “Red Right Hand,” from the 1994 album “Let Love In,” Cave filled an entire notebook with descriptions of the imaginary town the song was set in, including maps and sketches of prominent buildings, virtually none of which made it into the lyrics. “It’s good to have a place to go and just write,” Cave told me in Brighton. “I haven’t always had that luxury.”
Emphasis mine. Photo is a still from Cave’s new documentary, 20,000 Days On Earth.
Filed under: Nick Cave
May 28, 2014
RIP Maya Angelou. From her Time obit:
…she rose at 4 or 5 every morning and went to a bare room at a nearby motel to work, alone with a stack of legal pads, a Bible, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a bottle of sherry.
Here’s an excerpt from Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals:
I usually get up at about 5:30, and I’m ready to have coffee by 6, usually with my husband. He goes off to his work around 6:30, and I go off to mine. I keep a hotel room in which I do my work—a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room. I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous. I edit while I’m working. When I come home at 2, I read over what I’ve written that day, and then try to put it out of my mind. I shower, prepare dinner, so that when my husband comes home, I’m not totally absorbed in my work. We have a semblance of a normal life. We have a drink together and have dinner. Maybe after dinner I’ll read to him what I’ve written that day. He doesn’t comment. I don’t invite comments from anyone but my editor, but hearing it aloud is good. Sometimes I hear the dissonance; then I try to straighten it out in the morning.
And a little more from the Paris Review:
I have kept a hotel room in every town I’ve ever lived in. I rent a hotel room for a few months, leave my home at six, and try to be at work by six-thirty. To write, I lie across the bed, so that this elbow is absolutely encrusted at the end, just so rough with callouses. I never allow the hotel people to change the bed, because I never sleep there. I stay until twelve-thirty or one-thirty in the afternoon, and then I go home and try to breathe; I look at the work around five; I have an orderly dinner—proper, quiet, lovely dinner; and then I go back to work the next morning. Sometimes in hotels I’ll go into the room and there’ll be a note on the floor which says, Dear Miss Angelou, let us change the sheets. We think they are moldy. But I only allow them to come in and empty wastebaskets. I insist that all things are taken off the walls. I don’t want anything in there. I go into the room and I feel as if all my beliefs are suspended. Nothing holds me to anything.
Jan 21, 2014
Le Corbusier’s split personality
Fun fact: the architect Le Corbusier spent his mornings painting in his apartment, and then in the afternoons, he’d go to his office and practice architecture. He said, “Painting every morning is what allows me to be lucid every afternoon.” But even though his work as a painter fed his work as an architect, he took great care to keep the identities separate. He signed all his paintings with his birth name, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. Supposedly, a journalist once knocked on his apartment door during painting hours and asked for Le Corbusier. LC looked him right in the eye and said, “I’m sorry, he’s not in.”
Jan 13, 2014
I write weird stories. I don’t know why I like weirdness so much. Myself, I’m a very realistic person. I don’t trust anything New Age — or reincarnation, dreams, Tarot, horoscopes. I don’t trust anything like that at all. I wake up at 6 in the morning and go to bed at 10, jogging every day and swimming, eating healthy food. I’m very realistic. But when I write, I write weird.
Jan 12, 2014
My hangovers are scheduled a year in advance.
Jan 05, 2014
It’s so dumb it doesn’t even seem to be worth talking about. If you’re a runner and you want to be a better runner, you say, well, I’ll run every day and mark an X on the calendar every day I run. I can’t believe this was useful information to anybody! “Really? There are people who think, ‘I’ll just sit around and do absolutely nothing, and somehow the work will get done’?
Dec 29, 2013
Something small, every day
I wrote a little something for today’s newsletter about how I work:
Every day, no matter what, I make a poem and post it online. Most days they’re mediocre, some days they’re great, and some days they’re awful. (Jerry Garcia: “You go diving for pearls every night but sometimes you end up with clams.”) But it doesn’t matter to me whether the day’s poem was good or not, what matters is that it got done. I did the work. I didn’t break the chain. If I have a shitty day, I go to sleep and know that tomorrow I get to take another whack at it.
Read it here.
Subscribe to my newsletter and get new art, writing, and interesting links delivered to your inbox every week.