Twyla Tharp, choreographer, dancer, and writer, is one of my heroines, right up there with Toni Morrison, Georgia O’Keefe, Mary Oliver, Gloria Steinem. She has created and produced more than 130 dances with her own company, as well as with the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, and the London Royal Ballet. Today, I had the good fortune of seeing two new works for her 50th Anniversary Tour which culminates tomorrow at Lincoln Center. The 12 Tharp dancers were exuberant, athletic, graceful, and clearly overjoyed to be on that stage. The audience was wild with enthusiasm. It could not have been a better closing in honor of 50 years of incredible creativity, perseverance, and sweat.

Tharp is also a wonderfully candid and insightful writer and has documented aspects of her process in developing, rehearsing, and performing these new pieces for a column in the New York Times. Every essay a gem. Her book, The Creative Habit, is one of the best books on creativity I have ever read. Fundamentally, the biggest take away from that book was that “discipline is essential to the flourishing of one’s creativity.” And routine. Creating the routines that signal your brain to prepare for the creative juices to flow.

Here is a simple one from Toni Morrison::

I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark — it must be dark — and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come. …Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.

Love that. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. Yes!