keith haring’s subway epiphany

Recently, we stumbled on a slideshow of the brilliant drawings artist Keith Haring made on New York Subway walls during the 1980’s.  To take the subway in New York was to be constantly surprised by the energetic, white chalk-on-black, hand-drawn visions where advertising should have been. But what inspires us most is reading Haring’s story…

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bruce mau’s incomplete manifesto for growth

Anne Johnson alerted us to the extraordinary ‘Incomplete Manifesto for Growth that legendary designer and visionary Bruce Mau wrote in 1998: 43 powerful principles and practices. We’ve bolded our favorites: Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You…

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mastery of anything is about practice + overcoming ‘can’t’

David Saltman over at The Houdini File spotted this image on The Art of Kung Fu’ facebook with the comment: Whenever you say “I can’t do it”, think of this photo. All martial arts, including tai chi, are about practice…a lifetime of practice to gain mastery… …And mastery of ANYTHING is about practice, perservering in the…

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the power of failure, doubt and stumbling

We recently ran a New Yorker cartoon showing Noah’s Ark filled with only giraffes. The suggested caption was “Mistakes were made.” Now The New Yorker has compounded its mistakes with Malcolm Gladwell’s latest piece The Gift of Doubt. It totally convinces us that in order to find the right path, you often have to take the…

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how christoph niemann’s app failure was a big success

When the wise, inventive, not-terribly-technological Christoph Niemann tried to create an app, it became pretty “interesting. He documented the process in the New Yorker recently and in doing so, a wonderful distillation of the creative process and struggle: I explored countless (but crucial) dead ends, and it all came down to the most important struggle…

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3 improvs: pilgrimage, kickstarter win, poetry practice

We are constantly knocked out by the wonderful endeavors our readers are involved in, committed to, CREATED out of nothing, improvised. Here are a few from the past week: David Downie and Alison Harris set out from their home in Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees, the French portion of El Camino de…

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Sister Corita Kent’s Enduring Rules for Making + Her Art

When we were first planning ‘the improvised life’, we were inspired by this now-famous set of rules by Sister Corita Kent, artist and renown educator. They speak directly to the process of creating…ANYTHING. Here are our favorite essential rules: Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while. Consider everything as…

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‘my dinner with andre’ on the meaning of life + coffee

(Video link here.)  One of our favorite films has long been My Dinner with Andre, which is, on the surface, a conversation between two friends during dinner in a French restaurant in New York City. Andre Gregory vividly describes his revelatory, new-ageish, risk-taking experiences in experimental theatre while his modest less-adventurous friend Wally Shawn listens and…

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the tenacity of spring (and us)

March, 2013. A sugar snap pea vine uncurls to grasp a rusted garden fence. So tentative and fragile, it’s hard to imagine that by the end of April the fence will be all but obliterated in a tenacity of leaves, blossoms and pods.   Kay Ryan, the sixteenth Poet Laureate of the United States, sums up what it…

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