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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pay Attention

I'm not one for reading self-help books, but a writer friend recommended Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson [158 MAD]. I assumed, since its subject was improvisation, that the book would provide me with ways of making my writing more spontaneous. Boy, was I wrong! This book is a way of living a life. Improv Wisdom outlines 13 maxims. Here are two examples:

The First Maxim: Say Yes
This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else's dream. Say "yes"; "right"; "sure"; "I will"; "okay"; "of course"; "YES!" Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure.

The Sixth Maxim: Pay Attention
How are your powers of observation? How much do you notice and remember? This skill is at the heart of all improvising. What we notice becomes our world. So observe what is going on around you. Open your eyes, and notice the detail. See what is actually happening. Pay attention to everything.

Most of what the author presents, if followed, would result in a life well-lived. Take a look at Improv Wisdom. It's short, at 159 pages, and will take you no time at all to read through.

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