The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Not another self-help book? Well, yes, and highly recommended by none other than Merlin Mann.

Twyla Tharp is an American choreographer who has created more than 130 dances, either for her own company, or for theatres and ballet companies around the world. The world of professional dancers is not a sphere that I’ve ever wanted to enter. Personally I hate dancing, I’m white therefore I have no rhythm, I’m from England therefore I’m very reserved. So why read a book by a dancer? This is where the whole self-help, wanting to improve myself, thing comes in.

To be honest reading this book isn’t going to give you creativity to excess. You won’t suddenly start writing like a great novelist or start painting like a great master. But you’ll be able to notice the dark corners where inspiration and creativity hide, and maybe bring them out into the light once in a while.

For some, unknown, reason I did expect to get more from this book. I can’t quite think why because I am, as a developer, very technical and not creative at all. Possibly I should read it again, looking more into how to take some of the ideas and putting them in the context of software development.

If you are a person who has creative endeavours, then you may get more from it than I did.

One thing that did make me think… the work of a writer is held on paper, or, in this day and age, in electronic form. A painter’s work is held on canvas, a photographers work, again paper or electronic, but how can a dance be recorded? Before video cameras how were these things recorded? If you have 10 or 15 people leaping around a stage how do they know where to run and when to leap? Is there some kind of notation, like music, some kind of shorthand for it. If a company wanted to stage one of Twyla’s early works how would she tell the dancers what to do? From memory?

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, 03 March 2009
  • Tagged with book review