|| "How artists work, how they ritualize their days with the comforting (mundane) details of their lives: their daily routines, fears, dreams, naps, eating habits, and other prescribed, finely calibrated "subtle maneuvers" that help them use time, summon up willpower, exercise self-discipline and keep themselves afloat with optimism. Artists considering how they work--in letters, diaries, interviews, beguilingly compiled and edited by Mason Currey. Portraits that inspire, amuse, and delight and that reveal the profound fusion of discipline and dissipation through which the artistic temperament is allowed to evolve, recharge, emerge. From Beethoven and Kafka to George Sand, Picasso, Woody Allen and Agatha Christie; from Leo Tolstoy and Henry James to Charles Dickens and John Updike, here are writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, philosophers, caricaturists, comedians, poets, sculptors, and scientists on how they create (and avoid creating) their creations. A Sampling of Daily Rituals Charles Dickens Dickens's eldest son recalled that, "no city clerk was ever more methodical or orderly than he; no humdrum, monotonous, conventional task could ever have been discharged with more punctuality or with more business-like regularity than he gave to the work of his imagination and fancy." Dickens rose at 7:00, had breakfast at 8:00, and was in his study by 9:00. He stayed there until 2:00, taking a brief break for lunch with his family, during which he often seemed to be in a trance, eating mechanically and barely speaking a word before hurrying back to his desk. On an ordinary day he could complete about two thousand words, but during a flight of imagination he sometimes managed twice that amount. Maya Angelou I keep a hotel room in which I do my work--a tiny, mean room with just a bed and, sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards, and a bottle of sherry in the room ..."-- Provided by publisher.