A sequel, and a corrective: In the first Daily Rituals, I featured far more men than women; in this second volume, I correct the imbalance with profiles of the day-to-day working lives of 143 women writers, artists, and performers, including:
Octavia Butler, who wrote every day no matter what. “Screw inspiration,” she said.
Isak Dinesen, who subsisted on oysters and champagne but also amphetamines, which gave her the overdrive she required.
The American sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who believed female artists should never marry and thus “waged an eternal feud with the consolidating knot.”
Martha Graham, who eschewed socializing in favor of long hours alone in her studio: “Talk is a privilege and one must deny oneself that privilege.”
Lillian Hellman, who chain-smoked three packs of cigarettes and drank twenty cups of coffee a day (after milking the cow and cleaning the barn on her Hardscrabble Farm), and who carried projects forward on successive currents of “elation, depression, hope.”
. . . and 138 others on their daily routines, superstitions, fears, eating (and drinking) habits, and other finely—and not so finely— calibrated rituals.
“This outstanding compendium of women artists at work is an admirably succinct portrait of some distinctly uncommon lives. It is also consistently entertaining and full of insights.” —Meryle Secrest
“Frissons of discovery, outrage, and wonder are prompted by Currey’s brief yet robust biographies illuminating the discipline and imagination summoned by these artists to overcome dire obstacles. . . . The spectrum of creativity is radiant, and each artist’s rituals of concentration and balancing act between art and life are revelatory and awe-inspiring.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist
“In Currey’s previous Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, only 27 of the 161 profiles were of women; as a corrective in this fascinating sequel, Currey explains, he offers 143 vibrant depictions of the routines of creative women. . . . Currey’s encyclopedic tour respectfully and entertainingly addresses Colette’s question about George Sand: ‘How the devil did she manage?’” —Publisher’s Weekly
“There are many pearls of creative wisdom strung throughout Daily Rituals. . . . The overriding lesson one takes away from this charming book is that the path to achievement is as specific to each artist as her art is unique to her vision.” –BookPage
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