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'That word, "vacation," makes me sweat.' Coco Chanel on taking a break
'You must do it irregardless, or it will eat its way out of you.' Zora Neale Hurston on writing
'One has to choose between the Life and the Project.' Susan Sontag on choosing art
Barbara Hepworth sculpted outdoors and Janet Frame wore earmuffs as she worked to block out noise. Kate Chopin wrote with her six children ‘swarming around her’ whereas the artist Rosa Bonheur filled her bedroom with the sixty birds that inspired her work. Louisa May Alcott wrote so vigorously – skipping sleep and meals – that she had to learn to write with her left hand to give her cramped right hand a break.
From Isak Dinesen subsisting on oysters, champagne and amphetamines, to Isabel Allende's insistence that she begins each new book on 8 January, here are the working routines of over 140 brilliant female painters, composers, sculptors, writers, filmmakers and performers.
Filled with details of the large and small choices these women made, Daily Rituals Women at Work is a source of fascination and inspiration.
'An admirably succinct portrait of some distinctly uncommon lives' - Meryle Secrest
In Currey's previous Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, only 27 of the 161 profiles were of women; as a corrective in this fascinating sequel, Currey explains, he offers 143 vibrant depictions of the routines of creative women, living and dead, drawn from letters and diaries. Photographer Margaret Bourke-White was a morning person ("The world is all fresh and new then"); actress Tallulah Bankhead prayed on opening nights ("Dear God, don't let me make a fool of myself"); artist Alice Neel was a "lifelong shoplifter"; Margaret Mitchell depended on Johnnie Walker, Frida Kahlo on Demerol. Currey quotes women on their men, from the helpful (George Eliot's and Elizabeth Bishop's Georges) to the hindering (choreographer Agnes de Mille's unfaithful husband); on their women (Rosa Bonheur's and Romaine Brooks's Natalies); and their children (Ruth Asawa, six; Anne Bradstreet, eight; writers Eudora Welty and Virginia Woolf, none). He includes writers (Harriet Jacobs), sculptors (Harriet Hosmer, Niki de Saint Phalle), filmmakers , composers (Charlotte Bray, Julia Wolfe), journalists (Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Thompson), and video artists (Joan Jonas). He covers women who succeeded young (writer Fran oise Sagan, 18) and old (artist Alma Thomas, 80). Currey's encyclopedic tour respectfully and entertainingly addresses Colette's question about George Sand: "How the devil did she manage?")\n