Pearls from artists* # 579

October 4, 2023

New York, NY

*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

An empirical fact about our lives is that we do not and cannot know what will happen a day or a moment in advance. The unexpected awaits us at every turn and every breath. The future is a vast perpetually regenerated mystery and the more we live and know, the greater the mystery. When we drop the blinders of our preconceptions, we are virtually propelled by every circumstance into the present time and the present mind: the moment, the whole moment, and nothing but the moment. This is a state of mind taught and strengthened by improvisation, a state of mind in which the here and now is not some trendy idea but a matter of life and death, upon which we can learn to reliably depend. We can depend on the world being a perpetual surprise in general motion and a perpetual invitation to create.

Stephen Nachmanovitch in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

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