(This is the first of a series of posts following Tyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit.)
The first chapter is called I Walk into a White Room. Instantly, my in my mind starts playing the old Cream classic and I dream up my fantasy studio: a white room, wood floors , all flooded in light.
The reality is nothing like that. I am scattered all through the house and my painting studio is a corner in our basement, but it doesn’t matter where it is or what it looks like. All I need is a place to work. And that isn’t really what she is talking about.
The white room she is really talking about is the choreographer’s version of a clean white sheet of paper or a blank canvas. Every art form has a version of the white room. We are all looking to make something where nothing was before.
She dicusses routine and ritual of creativity, making the creative process a habit. She presents the question of whether creativity is based on divine inspiration, or daily hard work. I think this is the exact point where she wins me over.
I sit down to work every day. There are days where nothing
happens and I am frustatrated, there are days where I power through what I am doing through sheer force of will, and there are
days where things just flow and things happen effortlessly. The effortless days are the days
Somewhere along the line, I heard the phrase “the most joyful thing to be in the world is a Sunday painter”. This slays out the difference between a working artist and a hobbyist. The hobbyist can wait for the inspiration to come, the professional has to sit and do it regardless.
We all long for that inspiration to come. I honestly do not believe that it would happen to me as often as it does if I wasn't sitting there day after day working on it.
Now, as a bit of a reward, here is Cream playing White Room.