Because the pursuit of reality may not always result in moments involving unicorns, unexpected kisses or these kinds of gravity-defying milkshakes.


Spotted on a New York telephone pole. You may not want to call the number—but take the message.


Sometimes, a little sidewalk wisdom can start you striding toward a life goal. Could it happen today?
When you're walking down the street in New York City, there are so many messages, many of them negative: Don't honk, don't walk, don't be here now. Thankfully, Killy Kilford—under the aegis of the (fictional) Department of Well Being—has posted signs such as, "You look pretty today," and "Honk less, love more." Best of all, they look so much like official street signs that they really feel like directives. You simply must, according to the law (so it seems) listen to your heart. Or face a ticket.
Love sidewalk

Photo: Amy Shearn

As seen on a sidewalk in Chicago, this should probably be how the word "love" is spelled from this point forward. Because isn't love always about adding, increasing, growing and connecting? (And the incidental birdie footprints only add to the joie de vivre.)
Future sign

Photo: Vivienne McMaster

A café blackboard can advertise so much more than sandwich and coffee specials. This one gives you a lift totally unrelated to the caffeine sold inside. (Need more? Check out photographer Vivienne McMaster's site.)
Don't stop believing sign

Photo: Michelle Shih

A roadblock can move you forward—as this one does, complete with an exclamation point.
You are beautiful

Photo: Karen Walrond

The photographer who goes by the wonderful-to-say name Chookooloonks (really, try to say that out loud without smiling) makes a practice of leaving messages for others in even the least likeliest of places, like on this frosty window.
Martin Creed installation

Photo: Claudia Viggiano

No matter what crappy thing your boss has just emailed to you, no matter how far off track you've veered from your life plan, no matter how huge that pile of laundry has become, in the end, artist Martin Creed wants to remind you that everything is going to be alright. To that end, he's installed his minimalist-in-style, maximalist-in-meaning sign on buildings all around the world. The one above is from the Scottish National Gallery. Next stop: Vancouver. 2014? 2015?

Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is the Ocean from Here.

Next: Happiness graffiti and 8 more photos to brighten your day