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.]