In my internet wanderings, I came across the website Brain Pickings, operated by Brooklynite Maria Popova, a self-described “hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large.” She writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, and she’s created a wonderful warehouse for those interested in creativity.
For instance, I came across her article “The Daily Routines of Famous Writers.” I’ve read these kinds of things before. Still, I found it interesting because of the writers chosen. For example, Jack Kerouac’s description of his writing ritual:
I had a ritual once of lighting a candle and writing by its light and blowing it out when I was done for the night … also kneeling and praying before starting (I got that from a French movie about George Frideric Handel) … but now I simply hate to write.
Fortunately, Brain Pickings offers much more than this. There’s a variety of articles on creativity–e.g., “Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook,” “How to Build a Universe: Philip K. Dick on Reality, Media Manipulation, and Human Heroism,” and “Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life.”
There’s also a variety of articles from such writers as Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, and Malcolm Gladwell.
What really grabbed me were the recordings of the writers. There are some standards that are easy enough to find, such as Sylvia Plath and Billy Collins. But there were a few that I was amazed at. Ever wondered what James Joyce sounded like? F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leo Tolstoy, Walt Whitman! It’s here. And so much more.