Cover of book Daily Rituals: Women at Work

Daily Rituals: Women at Work

by: Mason Currey

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Daily rituals of women artists and creators over the years. A women-only counterpart to Mason's first book - Daily Rituals
21 Highlights | 21 Notes
  • Location: 81
    The secret was not in any special organization of time; rather, it was in absolute lack of organization. Most men expned the larger part of their time on trying to concentrate and on resting from the effor; between preparation and relaxation there is hardly time left for action. Madame de Staël, always concentrated, never at rest, was endowed with a brain that could, in an instant, adjust itself to whatever demanded her attention.
    • About Germaine de Staël - writer of political and literary essays, 1766-1817
    • this to aspire.
    • Maybe not turnoff to relax - but make the relaxation activity something complementary, something nourishing and contrasting to the other work.
  • Location: 98
    Men hate bossy females. You do not tell a man; you suggest to him. “Darlings, Mother has a problem. I'd love to do this. Can you do it? It sounds kooky, I know. But can you do this for Mother? And, they do it. That way I got more cooperation. I tried to never blow up.
    • Ida Lupino, director.
    • What persona do I project? What is the expected persona? Can I craft a persona which will work for me, which combines the two, or mitigates what is expected of me in an unusual way?
  • Location: 104
    “You must havne a studio no matter what kind of artist you are. A musician who must practice in the living room is at a tremendouse disadvantage. You must gather together in your studio all of your sensibilites and when they are gathered you must not be disturbed. The murdered inspirations and loss of art work due to interruptions and shattered studio atmosphere are unassessable.”
    — Agnes Martin
    • #eq
    • This is one mode - my current mode. What if I don't want to be like this? What if wherever I had my laptop, notebook and pen, headphones and water and drink, attired in comfort - that is my studio / my office. That would be ideal. How to get there?
    • The house, with reminders everywhere of undone, waiting work - work which I don't want to do, but the culture/the conditioning has conditioned me to feeling that it is my work - and I consciously say that it is not, but then feel guilt, and then am mad at myself for feeling guilt -> this is definitely not a conducive environment to create.
  • Location: 105
    “When you're with other people, your mind isn't your own”, she said.
    Note: #eq, Agnes Martin. And this too I find true. I am easily influenced by words, moods, body language and energy of other people around me. It takes a whole lot of mental and physical and emotional energy to even recognize the fact. Mitigating the effects is an effort of a greater magnitude altogher.
  • Location: 122
    And in her personal life, Ziteel does as much as possible to pare down decision-making. One of her longstanding beliefs is that creating a set of rigid personal rules can be a way to break free of external societal rules. … “Each season I wear a ‘uniform’ — usually this is an outfit that feels comfortable and looks good that I'll wear for three months straight,” …
    Note: Andrea Zittel. Great variation of the Steve Jobt forever uniform!
  • Location: 130
    Sontag herself recognized the value of this avidity. “More than ever — and once again — I experience life as a question of levels of energy,” she wrote in her journal in 1970, adding a few paragraphs later: “What I want: energy, energy, energy. Stop wanting nobility, serenity, wisdom &mdash you idiot!”
    • Susan Sontag


    • #to-journal How to better manage my energy?
    • #to-journal. What charges me? (Sleep, exercise, out in nature doing anythin, walks, lazing in bed once in a while, long conversations with friends, alone time lost in creating whatever, silliness of all sorts, eating with a good book in hand, cuddling with my daughter, long drives listening to podcasts and audio books)
    • #to-journal What wastes my energy - feel more spent than I should? (making decisions for groups who I don't really get, deciding on what to cook for the family, planning for groups who are high maintenance, waking up to noise, trying to process many people talking to me at the same time, fighting for my boundaries, doing anything when I'm mentally or physically tired, cutting the emotional feedback loop...)
  • Location: 131
    Partly it was by eschewing some of the traditional obligations of motherhood, such as cooking, which she never pretended was a priority.
    • Susan Sontag.
    • #to-journal. Hard to do - can I consciously list all those things I feel are a traditional obligation of motherhood / womanhood? Can I then mark out the ones I don't want to do? And come up with alternatives?
  • Location: 137
    “No one can paint—write—feel whatever without being vulnerable,” she once said. And, she added, “one has to be very strong to be vulnerable.”
    • Joan Mitchell
    • This is definitely the fear that keeps me from writing more, writing in my journal, putting the writing on the web. Courage and strength.
  • Location: 170
    After spending a day with Bell and Grant, she wrote, “I never saw two people humming with heat and happiness like sunflowers on a hot day more than those two.” They “pour out pure gaiety and pleasure in life,” Woolf continued, “not brilliantly or sparklingly, but freely quietly lumniously.”
    • about Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant
    • Written by Virginia Woolf
    • What's the price to be this?
  • Location: 237
    Carter continued this habit of working in thirty-minute bursts throughout her life; according to her nephew, she “hardly ever read or worked for more than half hour at a time, and then she would visit for a few minutes any of her relations who were staying in her house, in their respective apartments, or go into her garden.”
    • Elizabeth Carter
    • Super interesting.
  • Location: 244
    “First, and last, and all the time, she worked, and worked, and worked, steadily as nature works, without rest, without haste,” Maud writes. “She was never idle, she was never in a hurry.”
    • Julia Ward Howe
    • Never rest, never in a hurry. Work really, on the never in a hurry bit.
  • Location: 245
    To “tone up her mind,” Howe started her day with the most challenging work, reading German philosophy and Greek drama, history and philosophy (after teaching herself Greek at age 50). Then she turned to whatever literary task she was engaged in, “put the iron on the anvil,” and hammered away until lunch, which was preceeded by a twenty-minute nap.
    Note: Julia Ward Howe
  • Location: 246
    “If I am to write, I must have a room to myself, which shall be my room,” Stowe wrote in a letter to her husband in 1841, anticipating Virginia Woolf's call for “a room of one's own” by almost a century.
    • #eq
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Yes, Maybe. See note from page 98.
  • Location: 251
    … starting in 1936, wrote a syndicated newspaper column, “My Day,” which she filed six days a week for nearly twenty-six years, with virtually no interruptions.
    Note: Eleanor Roosevelt. Like a blog.
  • Location: 252
    “There are three ways in which I have been able to solve that problem: first, by achieving an inner calm so that I can work undisturbed by what goes on around me; second, by concentrating on the thing in the hand; third, by arranging a routine pattern for my days that allots certain activities to certain hours, planning in advance for everything that must be done, but at the same time remaining flexible enough to allow for the unexpected.”
    —Eleanor Roosevelt
    • #eq
    • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Location: 276
    “I believe in listening to cycles,” she said in 1977. “I listen by not forcing. If I am in a dead working period, I wait, though those periods are hard to deal with. For the future, I'll see what happens. I'll be content to get started again. If I feel that alive again. If I find myself working with the old intensity again.”
    — Lee Krasner
    • #eq
    • Lee Krasner
    • boom-bust cycles
  • Location: 277
    “I feel sharp, my reading is concentrated and not “escape”.”
    —Grace Hartigan
    • #eq
    • Grace Hartigan
    • I know what this means. I get what it means to read escape.
  • Location: 300
    “I also like to go to one of the cafés that I frequent and write during off-hours between 2 and 4.30 in the afternoon and between 6.30 and 8.00 in the evening. I'll have a glass of wine and Perrier water, and I just sit and write in my jounal for an hour-and-a-half or two hours. That's very good for me to do because that environment is very protected. I am not here at home by myself; so whatever my demons are, they're not going to be able to overwhelm me because I'm alone and vulnerable.”
    —Ntozake Shange
    • #eq
    • Ntozake Shange
    • Cafe as a safe place. Is it yours too? Why don't you go more often?
  • Location: 329
    “The feverish need to get this or that done — what I call the housewife's disease: “I must buy this, ring So-and-so, don't forget this, make a note of that” — had to be subdued to the flat, dull state one needs to write in. Sometimes I achieved it by sleeping for a few minutes, praying that the telephone would be silent. Sleep has always been my friend, my restorer, my quick fix, but it was in those days that I learned the value of a few minutes' submersion in … where? And you emerge untangled, quiet, dark, ready for work.”
    — Doris Lessing
    • #eq
    • Doris Lessing>
    • Whoa! So true. Never seen it so well said. Love the term housewife's disease. Try to remember this tactic.
  • Location: 330
    “These questions are a fumbling instinct towards this crucial point, which is: How do you use your energy? How do you husband it? We all of us have limited amounts of energy, and I am sure the people who are successful have learned, either by instinct or consciously, to use their energies well instead of spilling them about. ”
    — Doris Lessing
    • #eq
    • Doris Lessing>
    • Energy management.
  • Location: 331
    Trial and error, and then when you've found your needs, what feeds you, what is your instinctive rhythm and routine, then cherish it.
    • about Doris Lessing
    • #to-journal What are your findings so far? What are your questions?
    • Getting up early in the morning, at least an hour before, and writing in my journal really really really works.
    • However, this makes me super sleepy, and sleep deprived. Can you find a way to rest in the afternoons? A 30min - 1hr rest which will re-energize you? welness room? nap in the car?
    • Also learn not to get distracted - it really sucks your energy during the workday, and makes you squander your peak hours, and tires you out. What tactics can you use to do this?
  • Book References from Daily Rituals: Women at Work