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Today, the MacArthur Fellows were announced, known casually as the "genius" grants, since the winners are recognized for their unparalleled creativity in a variety fields, from medicine to musical composition to law to (this year) silversmithing. Each receives $500,000 to continue doing what they love to do—breaking boundaries.
Our favorite of this year's award honorees is the poet Kay Ryan, who explains in this short video that "only through the manipulation of language...was I able to reach the most interesting places in my mind."
Her happiness at wining the grant at age 65 is lovely, but note that midway through her talk, she mentions that "I'm always just beginning." She is speaking of how she approaches a new piece of writing and how her past writing can't or won't help her in the creation process. But taken out of context (why not?) the line makes a great motto for all of us, if not a poem in and of itself. Consider what your day would be like, if you woke up in the morning and said to yourself, "I'm only just beginning." On tough days, try putting an exclamation point at the end.
7 ways to spark your creativity
Inspirations from a few of the world's most creative people
Yes. Domenica Catelli's Pumpkin-Chia Seed Muffins are rich and cakey, with a hearty pumpkin flavor but no butter or sugar. Instead, the recipe calls for high-quality extra-virgin olive oil (I used Whole Foods' 365 Organic Arbequina olive oil, which is fruity and a little peppery) and either maple syrup or agave nectar (I used agave). Other perks: Whole wheat flour and ground, omega-3 fatty acid-rich chia seeds, whose mild nutty flavor is almost undetectable here, thanks to other flavorful ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. (Chia seeds also show up in Lisa Oz's lentils-and-rice dish.) And an entire 16-ounce can of organic pumpkin gives them a deep orange color (using fresh pumpkin probably wouldn't make a difference, taste-wise, since the canned version is more consistent and fresh can vary.)
If I could only find a way to justify eating this other fall classic with my morning coffee.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #30: 3 smart ideas for expanding your social circle.
You moved, you switched jobs, you lost your best pal to a new romance. Now what? Rachel Bertsche, author of MWF Seeking BFF, on how to solidify a new friendship:
Don't play hard to get.
You might need to make the first move, and the second, and the third. People are busy in their routines. If you wait for reciprocity, you could be waiting forever.
Skip the dissertation-length explanation of why you've got time to burn. A simple "I'd love to get together sometime; are you available for lunch or coffee this week?" should do the trick.
"Friending" is not befriending.
It's easy to get caught up in a virtual friendship, but monitoring her Facebook is not a real relationship. If she posts, "like" it—then meet IRL (in real life).
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Celebrate being who you are—honestly. Read this woman's account of how her life will change today, the first day of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell
Summer is coming (weep, bawl) to an official end. Mark your calendar for this Friday, the Autumn equinox, and use this handy guide to learn how to calculate the exact time it happens in your time zone and what in the heck, scientifically, it is.
Honor this Thursday, Dear Diary day, by revisiting your private notebook. How to reinvigorate your journal writing with 3 essential, attitude-changing questions.
Look back on all those bands whose songs you love but whose names you can't remember (the Divinyls? The Chords?) this Sunday, also known as National One Hit Wonder day. How to scan the top 100 One Hit Wonder songs of all time, or search for your favorite songs by decade (check out the 1980s!).
Coming to terms with painful situations can have a power that verges on miraculous. We've all heard the classic tale of, say, the woman who gets pregnant (after years of trying) once she reunites with her estranged family or the sick mother who gets better after a visit from her long-lost son. The Washington Post's story last Thursday about 9/11 widower Floyd Rasmussen begins like such story. After his first wife, Rhonda, died in the attack on the Pentagon, Rasmussen moved out west and started his life over by marrying another woman (the frank, insightful tale of how these two faced the losses in his past is itself reason enough to read the article immediately). Unfortunately, he also developed renal failure, which made travel not only difficult but perhaps fatal.
Regardless of the danger, he refused to skip the tenth anniversary event in Washington DC. He flew across the country, attended the ceremonies, and even met with President Obama to talk about what had happened that day, including the fact that he had only been two floors away from Rhonda and yet had escaped the wreckage unharmed. On the plane back home Rasmussen had trouble breathing, and, a few days later, passed away—but not before talking with his mother, other family and friends, to whom he declared that "he no longer felt any need for vengeance, no longer felt hatred for the men who had blown a hole in his life."
In the traditional miracle, he would have arrived home and found his condition cured. But that doesn't make his experience any less amazing. The forgiving of the unforgivable still qualifies as a marvel in my book—perhaps the kind most worth remembering and repeating, since we all can try to make that particular kind of magic happen in our own lives.
Making peace with yourself—no matter what
How to say good-bye
The world is full of loyalists: Mac users versus PC users, hybrid drivers versus SUV drivers, fliers who check luggage versus fliers who carry on. To this venerable list of life debates, I'd like to add: lipstick wearers versus lip gloss wearers. Lipstick, the lip glossers claim, is too dry to go on smoothly and looks too loud and bright. My all-time favorite complaint, uttered by an old college friend: "It feels like nail polish on my mouth."
Which is why I put this lipstick to the test, handing out tubes to a few colleagues at O—all of whom were die-hard gloss fans or didn't wear lip color at all. After one day, they were hooked. The reason? The sheer formula went on like a moisturizing balm, while the micro-mirror pigments added some shine, but it didn't make anyone feel gaudy or overdressed. At last, some middle ground....when it comes to lips, at least.
"You don't step out of the stream of your life to do your work." Lessons on writing -- and life -- from best-seller Ann Patchett.
One chore made easier! Escape the PBJ rut and pack delicious lunches for the whole family (even you).
The Life Lifter: 46 moms shave their heads for kids with cancer. "When tragedy strikes, you have a choice, you can either let it defeat you or you can take action."
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we've got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #29: Bold lipcolor transforms your look in a single instant.
A sheer peach gloss is lovely, and a soft pink stain has its place. But for an under-a-minute total transformation, you can't beat a bold, bright lipcolor. Here's how makeup artist Denise Markey says anyone (including you) can pull off a poppy red or fuchsia mouth: Use a brush to apply lipstick in the center of the lips. With your finger, tap the color out to the corners of your mouth. This ensures that the color isn't opaque, which can make it too intense and likely to migrate beyond the edges of your lips. Limit the rest of your beauty routine to tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a sheer cream blush.