Book cover 

 

Free Play:
Improvisation
in Life and Art 

 

 

“The mother of all improvisation books”
- Jeffrey Agrell, University of Iowa

“This is an unusually intense, packed, thought-through book on the most difficult subject in the world: mystic creativity. If you want to be intellectually informed about how people actually create things, then you should read it at least once.”

- Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“When I first heard Stephen Nachmanovitch in San Francisco and when he later visited my school in England, I was captivated by his being, as were all others. Now having read Free Play, I understand his approach more deeply. Would that Free Play found its way into every school, office, hospital, and factory. It is a most exciting book and a most important one.”

- Yehudi Menuhin, violinist

“Stephen Nachmanovitch has produced a celebration of human uniqueness. In so doing, he helps us to make better use of our resources of playfulness, ingenuity, and creativity in general. What it amounts to is a guide for getting the most out of whatever is possible.”

- Norman Cousins, author of The Anatomy of an Illness

“You are called to an important meeting, the subject of which you are not told. It is of utmost importance that you ‘Be Yourself.’ The meeting starts immediately and your clothes are in the laundry and you have no time to wash up or shave. Is this a ‘serious’ situation? Then so is improvisation. Nachmanovitch tells it like it is in the most important book on improvisation I’ve yet seen.”

- Keith Jarrett, pianist

“Stephen Nachmanovitch’s prose is really poetry. Every page has a fresh thought, a bracing new way of looking at the familiar, a penetrating insight or a wise bit of advice. And reading it is so thoroughly enjoyable!”

- Willis Harman, regent, University of California

“This book is important not only because it delves into the creative process, but also because Nachmanovitch creates the opportunity for the reader to get in touch with his/her own creative possibilities and abilities. This is an essential book for everyone.”

- Harvard Educational Review

“The kit of tools Nachmanovitch lays before us are high-level generalizations, and could be applied equally well to just about any discipline from cooking to stand-up comedy. His intent is clearly unitary. He circles like a falcon around the inexpressible. His text is the finger in the haiku, pointing at the moon.”

- Keyboard Magazine

“Free Play is a superb guide for anyone who aspires to create, whatever the medium.”

- New Woman


This book is about ...

... the inner sources of spontaneous creation. It is about where art in the widest sense comes from. It is about why we create and what we learn when we do. It is about the flow of unhindered creative energy: the joy of making art in all its varied forms.

Free Play is directed toward people in any field who want to contact, honor, and strengthen their own creative powers. It integrates material from a wide variety of sources among the arts, sciences, and spiritual traditions of humanity. Filled with unusual quotes, amusing and illuminating anecdotes, and original metaphors, it reveals how inspiration arises within us, how that inspiration may be blocked, derailed or obscured by certain unavoidable facts of life, and how finally it can be liberated - how we can be liberated - to speak or sing, write or paint, dance or play, with our own authentic voice.

The whole enterprise of improvisation in life and art, of recovering free play and awakening creativity, is about being true to ourselves and our visions. It brings us into direct, active contact with boundless creative energies that we may not even know we had.


$14.95 paper, Published by Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin - www.penguin.com
Order from your favorite independent bookstore today: ISBN number 0-87477-631-7 
If you wish to order the book directly from the Web, you can get it here from Amazon.com, and in translations into other languages.

Free Play has been translated into German, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Swedish, and new for 2013: Italian, Japanese aand Greek


Here’s an excerpt . . . Oxherding picture: flute

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