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Welcome to Pursuit of Spark!  Join us for conversations about creative approaches to the challenges, possibilities, and pleasures of everyday life and work.

Thanks to Dick Nodell and Stephanie Lyness, we have much to share with you over the next few months in Work Mysteries and American Gumbo.  If you have a question for Dick or Steph, send it to us at info (at)  We would love to have you join the conversation!

If you're in New York City, please join me at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for Spark Conversations.   You can find out more about this new series here.

We look forward to hearing from you!




Four Lessons in Creativity
Get the Book

Spark: How Creativity Works has stories from artists, musicians, writers, and directors about where they find their spark.  It's also available as an audio book.

hidden stuff
Photo by Pavlina Perry

Julie Burstein


I love creating things, whether I'm designing a radio show, writing a book, throwing a tea cup on the potter's wheel, or cooking dinner for my family (well, most of the time for the last one). In 2012 I spoke at the TED Conference, which was a thrill. My first book, Spark: How Creativity Works, is published by Harper and is also available as an audio book.

I love speaking about creativity and about how to find powerful stories, and often give talks and workshops at colleges, companies, museums, and conferences.  If you are interested in having me speak to your group, please contact me at jb (at)

I also love gathering interesting people together for great conversations, and selfishly that's a big reason I've created Pursuit of Spark.  I'm so grateful to the talented people who are part of this pursuit -- you can find out more about them below.  

Photo by Joy Yagid

Dick Nodell

Work Mysteries

Without meaning to, my life’s study turned out to be about leadership. Leading my life, co-leading in intimate relationships and partnerships, and leading in groups, organizations and institutions are all my passion. And though there are an enormous number of books about leadership- I’ve even written one- leading can’t be learned by reading. Each of us has to figure it out on our own. Yet there are ways of thinking and behaving that make leading more effective and rewarding. Discovering those things is what moves me.

Patricia Videgain

Body Haiku

When I moved to the US in 2001 from Santiago, the place where I felt I fit right in was in my yoga class. The language was different but the poses were the same, the props were the same. I could come to that one place and feel at home.  As a teacher, what I hope to do is help open up the capacity to use your imagination to get into your body, and to really feel the possibilities for movement, for articulation and for integration, that you might not otherwise. With Body Haiku, we can create a repertoire of positive experiences that can extend beyond the surface, that can give us first hand experience of ourselves at many levels, using movement and our physical bodies as starting point and poetry as background.

Photo by Joy Yagid

Diane Thomson

Creative Organizing

My friend Sylvia had an ability to help people learn who they should become, and she suggested I should become a professional organizer. We took care of each other’s kids, and she knew I had been a dance therapist and was thinking about what to do when my son got a little older.


When I work with a client, I'm always excited to reach that divide, moving from chaos to order.  My clients may not believe we can get there, but I know we can do it together, and that they can learn how to do it themselves.   There’s so much media promoting the idea that there’s a goal to organizing and when we get there we’re done!  That’s not realistic because we keep on living, taking things out and putting things away. Organizing is an ongoing process, it’s about being conscious and in the moment because when you can reflect on your current situation, you can problem solve, asking yourself, “What do I need to do to bring this back into balance?”


Photo by Joy Yagid

Stephanie Lyness

American Gumbo

As a chef, food writer, and critic, the most fun part of my work has been the discovery of the stories behind the food. My friend Nick Spitzer, radio host of American Routes and scholar of Louisiana culture, has described rural south Louisiana as a cultural gumbo; each of the different ingredients is identifiable but at the same time magically blended, affecting each other and creating something new and distinctive. I love ferreting out those ingredients that give meaning to our lives. Sharing each other’s food and listening to their stories gives us a way to savor our vibrant American gumbo.

Joy Yagid


I love that, in a picture, you can capture a moment in time.  I love the ability to capture something uncommon in everyday objects.  It's all about puzzles and patterns.  You can look at a hurricane and look at a galaxy, we just need to step far enough back to connect them.  

Photo by Joy Yagid

Jo Bradney

Web Designer

When I arrived in the States from the Isle of Wight, I wanted to get a real job once I got off the wife visa, so I began taking classes in web design and learned how to draw. My first websites were a way of sharing my drawings with family and friends back home (in a pre-Facebook world) and the two skills grew together.
I love the mixture of chaos and order when designing a website, you have only so much control and then you have to let it go.
Similarly the paintings are only mine until they go out into the world. It is the viewer who ultimately determines the meaning and significance of the everyday objects I paint.

Sarah Popov

Meet the Intern

Awhile ago I watched a documentary on plastic – and it’s changed my life. I’m passionate about plastic. I hope that someday I can help create a world where packing peanuts and water bottles don’t find their respective ways into the ocean and being sustainable is as regular as checking your email every morning. But for now, I’m tackling other creative projects – webdesign, flintknapping, and guiding tours among them. Oh, and updating the Pursuit of Spark podcast too!





Drummer/producer Jack Freudenheim (46bliss) and guitarist/producer Emile Menasché fuse influences from Africa and the Middle East, Celtic music, bluesy Americana, jazz and pop in this set of original compositions recorded live with Freudenheim on cajon (box drum) and Menasché on six- and 12-string guitars. Their CD is called Side One, and you'll hear samples from it on Pursuit of Spark podcasts.