Gioachino Rossini, the famous Italian composer of operas like The Barber of Seville loved drinking coffee. But he became aware his body would soon get used to the caffeine, with the happy-drug effects wearing off after prolonged, constant consumption. He found this would happen after about 15 to 20 days of regular coffee intake.
It’s Rossini’s good fortune that this was precisely the time he needed to write an entire opera. Well, that’s according to the French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac, who wrote about Rossini’s coffee habits in Traité des excitants modernes.
In his article ‘Music in the Age of Coffee’, John Rice concludes that Rossini would have written “at least some of his operas in a creative fervor induced by caffeine”. Bless him. He ended up composing 40 operas in total. …
Because the silence of a writer not writing is among the most deafening, here is a 10-minute writing prompt to get started. I’m offering you 4 different, easy ways to go about it.
First of all, set your kitchen timer (or the timer on your phone if you must) for 10 minutes. This is important! The reason to set a timer is explained very well in Pat Pattison’s book ‘Songwriting without boundaries’:
“Soon, during your timed writing, something like this will happen: Your writing will start to roll, diving, plunging, heading directly for the soft pink and blue glow below when, beep! The timer goes off. Just stop. Wherever you are. Stop. Writus interruptus. All day your frustrated writer will grumble, ‘Boy, what I might have said if you hadn’t stopped me.’ …
Moving house in one’s home country or going on holiday evokes homesickness in up to seventy-five per cent of us, research says. Sometimes a mild bout of it may even take us by surprise when only making a short trip to a nearby place!
So moving overseas is definitely a risk factor for homesickness, heiweh, saudades de casa, mal du pays, sıla özlemi. Leaving behind all that is familiar and shaping a new life, a complicated mix of feelings is unleashed.
Apart from the excitement and a sense of adventure, you may feel grief and depression, loneliness and sadness. …
A passion in the life of many keen hikers is Munro-bagging, freely translated as ‘scoring Munro peaks’. This can only be done in Scotland (UK).
It’s an excellent excuse to hike the most beautiful corners of Scotland’s “Highlands and Islands”. Munro-bagging enjoys an ever-increasing popularity. The number of people who have completed all the 282 peaks has tripled over the past two decades. Munro-bagging offers challenges at every level of hiking and climbing.
Anyone who aspires to — one day —planting a flag on the snowy peak of Mount Everest may remain unimpressed by the madness Munro scoring can bring about. Compared to the world’s highest mountain among the Himalayas, Munroes are nothing but mere dwarfs. On the other hand, attempting to improve the world record for Munro-bagging will provide excellent training for ambitious climbers. …
Most people know Dr. Anthony Fauci for his current role in the Coronavirus Task Force under Donald Trump. As the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, he has is the top civil servant when it comes to US health and immunology. He’s about to serve his 7th President.
There’s an equally popular and persistent myth about New Zealand/Aotearoa: that the South Island is more beautiful than the North Island. Perhaps it’s because of the Lord of the Rings movies. Or it could be because many European immigrants initially settled on the South Island in the 1950s and wrote lyrical letters home about the beauty of their new home.
Not that the South Island isn’t beautiful. But the North Island! And especially the area where I live: Northland. It’s where the country best expresses its true nature, culture and atmosphere. And call me biased, but the more northerly you travel, the more beauty you will find. Mind you, a love of the rugged and unspoiled is essential. …
A quick, all-in-one exercise for writing, creativity, flow.
You know you are nature, made of the same stuff as…. well, everything else.
“(…)our human genetic code is constructed by the exact same four neculeotides (complex molecules) as every other for of life on the planet. At the level of our DNA, we are related to the birds, reptiles, amphibians, other mammals, and even the plant life.”
— Jill Bolte Taylor in ‘My Stroke of Insight’.
But it’s one thing to know this and quite another to connect with this reality.
How do you do this when even going for a walk in the park or sitting by the river doesn’t necessarily make you feel that connection strongly enough? …
A colleague writer (not on Medium and not writing in English) just sent me an email to comment on one of my articles he’d read. Just so you know, this was a spontaneous move on his behalf. I hadn’t asked him to critique me! He told me he enjoyed reading the piece but I could have done better — I’d missed out on a couple of aspects to the story, he said.
Instead of feeling grateful he’d spent time to read one of my articles and then contact me with comments, reading his email made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. …
Why does it often seem only the privilege of artistic prodigies, the financially secure or even the homeless and the dropouts, to choose to move through the day according to the rhythm of their own inclination?
We seem to allow such privileges (begrudgingly) to the Steve Jobbses and Picassos or the Lady Gagas and bag ladies of this world— and possibly now also to a bunch of successful writers on this platform or generally internet-savvy entrepreneurs ;)). But do we allow ourselves the same courageous and potentially messy yet wonderful freedom?
I remember from a very young age a feeling of resistance at having to do certain things at certain times. I often still do, and I know those feelings are relevant. Not that I was able to articulate this when I was younger, and no one around me was able to offer further understanding of those feelings. …
According to a recent article by Nick Wignall on this platform, procrastinating on your passions is a sign of low self-esteem. While that’s interesting to know, perhaps even somewhat of a shock, it’s not necessary for resolving the issue, which is also the issue of creative blocks.
What is necessary is to somehow take action, to ‘change the weight’, shift your energy?
I’ve found that using the 4 basic tools set out by Julia Cameron’s in her bestselling 1990s classic ‘The Artist’s Way’ are foolproof.
The first time I took them up was when finding myself without a job, without contacts and without friends and family, in a strange country in the Middle East. I didn’t even speak English very well (the main language in that foreign land besides Arabic) which made me unexpectedly shy. …