Improvised Life » principles / rules for living If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:48:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 May the Mistakes I Make Light the Way Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:02:31 +0000

We were really struck by this sign we found on Hedviggen. Burning bridges is a pretty intense thing to do, and it made us think hard about that idea, of being able NEVER to go back because of a bridge we’ve burned.

We do believe that in just about any action, there are always possibilities for redemption, (more…)

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Trees and Ideas (Why Not Plant One?) Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:50:00 +0000

About the time we saw this sign at Hedviggen, we stumbled on an image of a tree growing at an extreme angle by Jaci Berkopec, in the School of Visual Arts’ annual student photography portfolio. (more…)

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Motivational Passwords Are Your Daily Digital Mantra Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:21:19 +0000

Sally Schneider via Thich Nhat Hanh.

We often think of computer passwords as utilitarian, if we even think of them at all; they’re ugly, unwieldy little burdens that exist only to keep our information safe. Mauricio Estrella decided to shift his thinking and use his passwords as a message to himself that he must think about every day. (more…)

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‘To Come Home to Yourself’, John O’Donohue’s Blessing Mon, 07 Jul 2014 08:17:40 +0000

We learned of Irish poet John O’Donohue when reader Mary Kelly sent us his powerful words in response to our post about Human Error Messages. She wrote:

John O’Donohue, who wrote Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom and who celebrated our wildness and crazy strength, often has words that dissolve hardness inside me – I read this yesterday and it made me feel soft and new . . .

The blessing/poem/prayer is called To Come Home to Yourself.  A reminder we can use daily.



Thank you Mary Kelly and for your own very descriptive word: “celebrate our wildness and crazy strength” (more...)]]> 1 Seth Godin: Is it Meaningful? Tue, 01 Jul 2014 23:18:59 +0000

Seth Godin recently reposted In Search of Meaningful, an article he wrote six years ago when the New York Times first instituted their paywall. It’s about what kind of digital content is truly valuable and worth paying for.

He asked three questions to self-test the value of the content you/we are producing or are reading: (more…)

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Emergency Medicine: Love, in It’s Many Forms, Heals Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:18:19 +0000

This past week, after we accompanied a dear friend through a dire emergency in the hospital,  we witnessed the many ways that friends and strangers “lent a hand” with what seemed like an overwhelming amount to handle. Neighbors put groceries in our fridge, friends brought dinner to the hospital, some, like Maria Robledo, sent us images that shifted our, and our friend’s, view in an instant. (more…)

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Trees and Plants Breaking Through the Floor…Wabi-Sabi? Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:03:30 +0000

Schaeffer Residence/Joe Fletcher

We found this image in Ranch Houses: Living the California Dream. It’s from Park McDonald’s renovation of the Schaeffer Residence, designed in 1948 by John Lautner, a highly influential architects of the 20th century. We love the trees that appear to be unexpectedly cracking through the deck, a lovely bit of wabi-sabi, that “breaks” the perfect design. Perhaps it’s our recent reading of Leonard Koren’s classic, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers that makes us view the trees through this lens. This little book has been greatly influencing our thinking. (more…)

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Use the Difficulty (Michael Caine) Wed, 25 Jun 2014 08:17:53 +0000

(Video link HERE.) I was bogged down today in a creative funk, head-buttingly blocked, wandering in a dark wood, wrestling with a component for a necklace that is carved from clear, rock crystal so that it seemed, well… simply invisible. How do you showcase something invisible?

I recalled something I’d read in an interview long ago with actor Michael Caine: (more…)

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A Reminder to Always Look UP Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:52:18 +0000

Ellen Silverman

In the midst of our recent hospital siege, we received a number of very cool emails from friends and readers. This one from Ellen Silverman:

So often we forget to look up, especially in a congested public space. This afternoon as we were saying goodbye to Luca in terminal 4 at JFK, Josh happened to look up as we were watching Luca walk to the gate and was met with the glorious site of this Calder mobile. A reminder to always look up!  



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Steinberg, Shrigley and Shonda Rhimes on the Creative Process Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:46:38 +0000

Saul Steinberg/The New Yorker

Saul Steinberg drew his imaginings of what goes on in a person’s daydreams, and David Shrigley made a list* of the kinds of things that can come from that: (more…)

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Mister Rogers for Adults: Life Has No Laugh Track Wed, 18 Jun 2014 08:33:10 +0000

(Video link here.) We didn’t “get” Mister Rogers until we were introduced to Paul Zelevansky, an artist, writer and teacher who created the YouTube series “Mister Rogers for Adults”, provocative 60-second shorts made up of video clips from Rogers’ shows and interviews. Zelevansky challenges the assumptions that Mister Rogers was a sweet, milquetoast cornball. In Zelavansky’s view, Rogers’ approach, philosophy and strategic use of television was — and remains — radical in nature. (His words about love threw Joan Rivers for a loop.) (more…)

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Daybooks with Custom Covers to Mark Where You Are or Are Going Mon, 16 Jun 2014 08:41:10 +0000

Marella Consolini

Marella Consolini, former Chief Operating Officer of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, is one of the many very interesting Improvised Life readers we’ve come to know and be amazed by. Somehow years ago, an email exchange started and continued until we feel like she is an old friend, who we happen to have never met in person.

In a recent email, Marella sent images of the day books she embellishes yearly with images; the current one, above, features Yves Klein’s famous leap to mark a year of questions, transitions and new challenges: (more…)

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How Poetry Comes to Me (Gary Snyder) Mon, 09 Jun 2014 23:00:01 +0000

Gary Snyder

When inspiration comes: you have to go to meet it…


From one of our favorite, endlessly-yielding books: The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations. Open it anywhere to find a nugget.




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Jim Henson on Making Art Make Money (Money as Energy) Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:00:19 +0000

Shaan Syed/Ana Cristea Gallery

We love puppet artist Jim Henson’s view of money, which we read about in an excerpt of Liz Stevens’  Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career:

Henson viewed money as energy, the energy that makes concrete things happen out of worthy ideas. (more…)

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