Sunday, September 20, 2009


A most valuable book for actors and for all people who make a living using their creativity, I've read Eric Maisel's book STAYING SANE IN THE ARTS, A Guide For Creative And Performing Artists a dozen times or more since I first discovered it in 1992.

Quotes from Maisel's introduction:

"I am a psychotherapist, novelist, and artists' advocate...In working with artists I realized that the psychological and practical challenges I have personally faced in my own career as a fiction writer were identical to the ones with which my clients were wrestling...I saw how these same challenges operated in the lives of nearly all famous artists--the Beethovens, Picassos, Virginia Woolfs, Nijinskys, Jackson Pollocks--and no less dramatically in the lives of contemporary artists whose names are not household words."

The topics Maisel covers with rich insight include why the artistic personality is prone to moodiness and depression, and what one can do to remain balanced; how artists become subject to a multitude of blocks, and what to do to avoid or overcome them; how artists can better understand the world of business; perils of isolation; challenges of work and relationships and more.

The first time I swallowed this book, literally in one sitting, I made notes and comparisons and quickly went back to absorb more. Sharply and directly written, I remember that I called Eric Maisel on the phone to discuss some of his points, and was delighted that he took my call and we had a delightful conversation.

Maisel continues to write, lecture and counsel. His website is

Ask for STAYING SANE IN THE ARTS at your library. New and used copies are available on Amazon. Highly recommended.

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