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Story Archives

Filtering by Tag: 2015-09-04


Dan Crane

By Dan Crane

A few years ago, I had lunch with the guy who created MacGyver. No, he didn’t teach me how to defuse a bomb with a stick of bubblegum and a paperclip. He did, however, teach me something interesting about creativity and energy.

“Whenever I have a script to write,” he told me, “I’ll write a question on my whiteboard. For example: 'What happens in Act Three?' Or, 'How would MacGyver escape having to have lunch with this young man?'” 

I didn't know what to say to that. I said nothing.

“After that,” he said, “I’ll go build a model airplane.”

It might not surprise you to learn that the guy who created MacGyver builds fleets of model airplanes; but it might surprise you that he does it instead of writing scripts. Let me repeat: INSTEAD OF WRITING SCRIPTS.

He explained: The mind, he proclaimed, does its best creative work while at rest. Posing a question, then going away to do something else, was a way to level off, rest the mind, and let the subconscious take over. Basically, it’s like meditation—with the help of model airplane glue.

“It’s why people say they do their best thinking in the shower,” he said.

After our lunch, I went out and bought a model airplane. One day, I swear I’ll get around to building it.


Is there enough play in your work?

Is balance always about a thing and its opposite, or do side steps count?


Dan Crane is a journalist, author, comedian, host, musician, and retired competitive air-guitarist. He is the author of “To Air is Human: One Man’s Quest to Become the World’s Greatest Air Guitarist.”


Alicia Van Couvering

By Alicia Van Couvering

I used to believe that honesty was all that mattered. Deep, raw, uncut vulnerability was the key to a fearless life, and should be encouraged in every interaction. So I let my tendency to overshare run wild. I never tried to impress anyone by buttoning up and staying composed; I only wanted to know them, and to make sure they knew me. I admitted my worst mistakes; I had no secrets; I had no strategy. It allowed me to skip the line of polite conversation and get right to the intimacy I craved. Executives would cry about their divorces at lunch; new friends would reveal it all. It was scary sometimes—I would leave a meeting shaken, unable to remember what I’d even said. What had possessed me to give it all away, as if the moment was holding me up at knife point, demanding that I lay everything on the table? Mostly I patted myself on the back: I was so vulnerable.

Here is what I’ve learned: Oversharing is not vulnerability. It breaks the ice violently. Real vulnerability, done right, is a gift to someone else: here, I gave you this, now you can give me something back, if you want to. Sharing yourself is only the first part of true vulnerability; standing back is the rest of it.


Is a life of balance an attainable goal?

How would I even know I led a balanced life last week?


Alicia Van Couvering is a movie producer whose films include Tiny Furniture, Drinking Buddies, and Junebug.