I have been reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life recently. In it she asks 33 Questions which are designed to help artists connect with their DNA. I remember working through a similar list in the late Julia Casterton’s Creative Writing: A Practical Guide more than 25 years ago. It has done me a lot of good to reconnect with the Big Questions of Life, Art and Art-Making. I present some of my recent early-morning-pages-answers below. If you are stuck in a creative rut just now or not inspired by anything that you are making, these questions might be a really good place to help get your juices flowing once again.
Q: Which artists do you admire most?
A: Poet T, Poet U, Poet V, Poet W, Poet X, Poet Y, Poet Z.
Q: Why are they your role models?
A: Because they absolutely tell the truth in their art. Because they serve the art-form they love with passion, dignity, respect, skill and generosity. Because they serve the art-form not for themselves but for the sake of the art-form. Each of them knows they are in the service of something bigger.
Q: What do you and your role models have in common?
A: I am not worthy so much as to untie their shoelaces. But I do see poetry as a big picture, as something to serve, as vocation, as first love. Each of these poets has been a big influence in helping me see this. Plus they operate without ego. I think they know who they are.
[Of the mighty dead, I am influenced and inspired by … How long have you got? I think that might be another blog post.]
Interesting but do you really think that these questions do influence an artist’s creativity and ideas?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for your kind comment. No, I don’t think these questions are an influence in themselves. But what they do help to do is expose the territory that you stand on, or to mix metaphors, the creative DNA that makes you who you are as another blogger has put it. And to me that is a valuable and worthwhile exercise. It sends me back to first principles and helps me to combat fears that I really should be like X or Y poet. With best wishes and thanks, Anthony
It is always fruitful to be in a self inquiry and analysis. It gives depth and identity. I can see what you mean. Thank you for your post and your reply