Every week, Suleika Jaouad, journalist and creator of The Isolation Journal newsletter and instagram, “a newsletter for people seeking to transform life’s interruptions into creative grist”, asks someone she knows to give a prompt for readers to think or write about.

This week’s prompt in particular hit home. Jaouad, on an extended day in hospital getting her second bone marrow transplant to fight a recurrence of leukemia, wrote a moving list of love she has “summoned, expressed, received” as she reflects on finitude and impermanence*. Carmen Radley references the idea she once heard that “nature is a substance called love” to guide the prompt she offers:

“How do I love?” writes Radley. “I will count the ways. Beginning with an evening walk in mid-July, bowled over by a live oak in slant golden light.”

It’s a mighty and balancing question to consider periodically. And I t wonderfully expands our notion of Valentine’s Day, which is most often defined by romantic love. What a celebration it becomes through Radley’s lens. As does the radicchio bouquet that Natoora, an app-based provider of sustainably-sourced foods, proposed as an alternative to hot house roses. It would be a lovely offering anytime of year and reminded us of herb and other vegetable bouquests we’ve written about on Improvised Life.

Create an inventory of your loves—whoever breaks you open, whatever animates your life.

*Read Jaouad’s and Hadley’s responses to the prompt here.

Thanks Harriet!

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