Monday, May 13, 2013

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work - Giveaway! CLOSED!

If you're like us, you're a creative person, trying to squeeze too much into every day.  And, let's face it, it's nearly impossible to just sit down and start working (for us at least).  So, naturally, we form habits and routines to help get us ready to work, get us ready to play, and eventually get us ready to sleep.

Ever wondered how the most creative and talented people work?  How many times they need to walk around the block before they could sit down to write?  Well, Mr. Mason Currey has some incites for you - a glimpse into the work-enabling routines of some of the greatest minds this world has known.  From Pablo Picasso, to Truman Capote, to Mozart, to Albert Einstein - you can now get a peek into their private and intimate lives in the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

One of our favorites from the book was the ritual of Nikola Tesla - who seemed particularly fussy and particular bout what, and how, he ate.

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

As a young apprentice in Thomas Edison's New York office, Tesla regularly worked from 10:30 in the morning until 5:00 the following morning. ("I've had many hard-working assistants, but you take the cake," Edison told him.) Later, after he started his own company, Tesla arrived at the office at noon. Immediately, his secretary would draw the blinds; Tesla worked best in the dark and would raise the blinds again only in the event of a lightening storm, which he liked to watch flashing above the cityscape from his black mohair sofa. He typically worked at the office until midnight, with a break at 8:00 for dinner in the Palm Room of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

These dinners were carefully scripted affairs. Tesla ate alone, and phoned in his instructions for the meal in advance. Upon arriving, he was shown to his regular table, where eighteen clean linen napkins would be stacked at his place. As he waited for his meal, he would polish the already gleaming silver and crystal with these squares of linen, gradually amassing a heap of discarded napkins on the table. And when his dishes arrived—served to him not be a waiter but by the maître d’hôtel himself—Telsa would mentally calculate their cubic contents before eating, a strange compulsion he had developed in his childhood and without which he could never enjoy his food.

The caption speaks for itself.

Excerpted from Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. Copyright © 2013 by Mason Currey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

I love this book, not only does it remind me that we only have so many productive hours during the day, but that we must do other things to enrich our creative passions (read, don't be so hard on thyself for taking a walk in the sunshine).  Which reminds me, I should go outside, it's gorgeous out there.

Today we're giving away two, copies of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by our dear friend Mason Currey!

: : : THE GIVEAWAY : : :

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
by Mason Currey
Two Signed Copies - Two Lucky Winners!

: : : HOW TO ENTER : : :

1. Leave a comment on the post answering: Your Daily Ritual (keep it clean, folks)

2. *Extra entry* Tweet #DailyRituals @xxGastronomista and @MasonCurrey

3. *Extra entry* “follow” @xxGastronomista on Twitter and/or “like” us on Facebook.

The contest closes in one week (12 pm EST). Winner will be selected on Monday, May 20th, and will be emailed that day.

Good luck, and many thanks to Daily Rituals: How Artists Work author, Mason Currey!!

"Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are"
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

We couldn't agree more.



  1. Two cups of tea every morning and 5 sun salutations.

  2. I have to have coffee when I first write in the morning.

  3. Wow. Tesla's rituals: Fascinating. Mine? Maybe not so fascinating but this one in particular serves me well: Reading poetry for an hour in bed before rising, even when this means setting my alarm an hour earlier to do this ... though I rarely have to set an alarm anymore. May waking time is a habit unto itself. In my twenties and thirties, I used to set my alarm to NPR and rise after listening to a few minutes of news. That left me frantic, trying to catch up, before even starting my own day. I save that for later now. The poets offer something like birdsong, a call, some music for that semi-lucid state, between the dreaming and sleep, and the fully awake and aware. The language seeps in and takes hold, inspiring my own verse as well as anchoring me to theirs. I particularly love their words in old, dog-earred, well-read and loved editions that I keep on a special bookcase within reach of my bed, though I sometimes start by listening to poems read on audio apps on my iPhone. Spending the first hour of my day with William Stafford, Raymond Carver, Rainer Maria Rilke, John Donne, Li-Young Lee, Lisel Mueller, Wislawa Szyborska, Anna Akhmatova, Gerard Manley Hopkins William Wordsworth, and others changes me, gives voice to my deepest feelings, roots me in ideas that matter, lifts my thoughts from things shallow. An hour with the poets also sears the cadence of beautiful speech into me, readying me to write or work in conference, or prepare a meal, or all the ordinary things; enabling me to see the greatness of small moments, the magnificence of single acts. The poets: Good company.

  4. A very soothing shower is my favorite ritual.

  5. Tea in my favorite cup every morning!

  6. Elizabeth BevinsMay 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Two cups of coffee in Alice in Wonderland mug while reading a book is my morning ritual.

  7. Wake up, brush teeth, take meds, watch The Price is Right, check e-mail, Facebook, go out for coffee & a bagel.....come home, check e-mail, Facebook....& read at night.

  8. Jody Hunsaker HallerMay 13, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    My daily ritual is watering the garden in the morning with my wee pup running circles around me in the yard. With coffee. This looks like a great book!

  9. A cup of green tea after a glass of water.

  10. Flooding my bedroom with sunlight by raising all the shades and sitting on my balcony drinkng blueberry green tea bundled in a sweater or jacket to keep me warm on colder days. Read beautiful words wherever I can find them and write my own beautiful words wheneverI am inspired

  11. Jessica LeibowitzMay 14, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    My bike commute to work.

  12. When I was younger, I used to flicker the light switch three times before going to school... I used to say the same phrase in my head a couple times throughout the day, I used to have ocd, but now at every hour there's a repeating number, I text my brother and my dad to make a wish.

  13. Checking things repeatedly: ex. making sure the doors locked/windows closed, etc.

  14. I always have my morning yoga and a nice cup of tea after.

  15. liked you guys on facebook as Monica Meza!

  16. the kind of material in this book is why i'm so addicted to paris review interview -- because the authors usually describe some part of their daily ritual. it's intriguing to me how we strive to position ourselves so that we're ripe for creativity and creation. as for my own ritual: on days i'm in the office, i always write & read on the train to the office. local jazz or classical radio is imperative while i work. on the train ride home i read some kind of long-form journalism. i listen to an interview (fresh air or long form) or podcast while cooking dinner. must read for at least 10 minutes to help ease myself into slumber. on days i work from home, it's tea, writing, and radio all morning long.

  17. Liked on facebook

  18. Miss Emma EmersonMay 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Congratulations to Susan and Natalie! You've won our giveaway! We hope you love the book as much as we do!


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