Improvised Life » quotes If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:24:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ramp Season: Odes, Festivals and Recipes Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:31:38 +0000

Every April, I start thinking about ramps, the first wild food to peek through the cold ground in early Spring, and the focus of equally wild festivals throughout the Appalachian mountains. For decades, I’d travel down to West Virginia to the Helvetia Ramp Supper to get a transformative blast of ramps, both raw and cooked. Here is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard of that first bite, by David Voodoon Noble, also known as The Ramp Moses: (more…)

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2 Ways to Listen that Will Change Your Life Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:03:10 +0000

From Seth Godin:

You can listen to what people say, sure.

But you will be far more effective if (more…)

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Hanna Eshel’s Dream Loft with Sculpture Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:13:48 +0000

The truly inspiring, we-want-to-see-MORE piece in the recent New York Times Style Magazine is A Love Eternal, a short piece about artist Hanna Eshel and her Noho New York loft full of windows, light, and her elemental sculptures. What a vibe and look, from the patched floor to the 70′s style tracklights, plinths with artworks, ongoing projects, plants, sculptural plywood stools, white everywhere,  even the simple elevated loft bed, which here manages not to be a cliche. (more…)

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Dept of Impermanence: Finding the Possibility in Broken Thu, 10 Apr 2014 22:00:07 +0000

Maria Robledo

Maria Robledo sent us this portrait of a pitcher she made recently in her new explorations working with clay. When we asked her about it, her email read like a poem: (more…)

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Creativity Strategy: Tear the Idea Apart (Video) Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:09:48 +0000 This video called Crazy furniture reminded us that EXPLODING an idea — dismantling it and reconfiguring it in various ways — can really help to refresh the creative process. And it's an especially good practice for re-envisioning a space.]]> 0 The Bubbleologist: A Short Film about Bubbles and Life Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:52:19 +0000

Cara de Silva alerted us this lovely short film about Bubbleologist Samsam Bubbleman who uses only two ingredients —soap and water — to make magic:

How I love this.
At about 3.30 or so it becomes almost metaphysical.
What a radiant man. And born improviser.

Click here to watch. If you can’t watch it all at once, we recommend either viewing snippets throught the day, or cutting to the chase at (more…)

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Everyone You Will Ever Meet Knows Something You Don’t Tue, 18 Mar 2014 23:00:26 +0000


One of our favorite things are signs on walls: reminders that call us back to something really useful, true, mind shifting. We love that a church is posting quotes from unexpected sources, like this one from Bill Nye that resonates in unexpected ways.]]> 0
Embracing our Mortality to LIVE MAKE GROW Tue, 18 Mar 2014 08:12:39 +0000

Sally Schneider

In a recent New York Times, 36-year-old Paul Kalanithi wrote How Long Have I Got Left about his diagnosis of terminal cancer, and coming to terms with his doctor’s inability to tell him how much time he had left: The reason doctors don’t give patients specific prognoses is not merely because they cannot..[but because] ...the range of what is reasonably possible is so wide….Yes, you will die. But one wants a full pound of certainty, and that is not on offer.

Kalanithi eloquently addresses how he learned to live aware of but NOT knowing, with the gravest of uncertainties: (more…)

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More on the Meaning of Olé, from Elizabeth Gilbert Mon, 17 Mar 2014 08:31:50 +0000

Esteban Perez Abion

After we wrote about the meaning of the murmers and shouts of Olé we heard at a stunning Estrella Morente concert,  reader Hannah alerted us to Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk ,”Your Elusive Creative Genius”, in which she speaks about the origins of Olé, and why the “Olé’s” we heard sounded like “Alé”. We excerpted a clip from the longer talk, with a quote, below. Beautiful: (more…)

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The Lifespan of Mountains Mirrors our Own Wed, 12 Mar 2014 08:22:22 +0000

(Video link HERE.) This beauty of a film by Temujin Doran is about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. While it might seem to be about physical geography and geology, it is about way more than that:


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The Practice of Waiting is Part of Making Thu, 06 Mar 2014 09:06:43 +0000


Over the years, we’ve learned to embrace the practice of waiting — patiently — knowing that things will change and become unstuck, or simply are moving by another timing, that is not the one WE WANT. Sometimes, there is nothing else to do but wait.

Waiting is part of the many steps of making: a non-action that can very important action. But ‘non-action’ can be difficult to describe, since ‘doing nothing’ can be a time of hidden fermentation and unexpected ideas. So we looked up WAIT. In the definitions, we found words (in bold) that made a little poem: (more…)

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James Brown’s Wakeup Call: Get Up and Do Your Thing Mon, 03 Mar 2014 09:22:23 +0000


The magnificient James Brown’s soulful groovin’ mantra,


seems like the perfect way to get going on a Monday (or any) morning… (more…)

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The Evolution of a Snowflake Is Like…Our Own Thu, 27 Feb 2014 09:27:06 +0000

(Video link HERE.)  This wondrous video made us look up “How Are Snowflakes Formed?”, a question that we realize we’ve never known the answer to. We found that the answers curiously echo the creative process and individual growth: (more…)

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The Thrilling Adventure of Familiar Frontiers Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:42:33 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Mickey Smith is a surf photographer from Cornwall, England whose six minute video of wave riding in the ominous North Sea is a stunning, nail biting, vicarious experience for urbanistas and land-locked couch potatoes. But diving beyond the hair-raising visuals, listening to Smith’s philosophy of life is what makes this clip intriguing.

Smith says, “I never set out to be anything particular, only to live creatively and post the scope of my experience through adventure and passion… (more…)

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