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April 06, 2008


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Patricia Ryan Madson

Few things thrill an author more than to know that their writing "hits the mark" for a reader. Thank you SO much for writing about my book, Improv Wisdom. I can't think of a more flattering comment than to compare the book with a walk in a traditional Chinese garden. This is a rich sentiment and means a lot to me.
Warm thanks for your kindness in spreading the word about the book. May all of your improvisations be filled with happy moments.
Best regards,
Patricia Ryan Madson

Ying Tan

It is very nice to hear from you, Patricia. Your book is much liked and appreciated among your readers. I remember I first encountered your book in the library, checked it out, read a few pages and got hooked. After finished reading and writing about it, I had to go out and buy a copy for myself.

I started writing earlier this year for friends who don't have time to read but love to be challenged by new ideas. Other than the review I posted on this website, I sent out a little paragraph to summarize one big idea I learned from the book. I enclose the piece for your book at the end of this comment.

That idea of yours was shocking to me. It's so important and it has changed my outlook and perspective about life. I wish I could write better to express my gratitude to you.

Your book has the support of your entire life experience. You have much to tell us. I hope you will write more, about theatre, about improvisation, and about life in general.

Best wishes,

Do you always have a script for everything you do? When was the last time you had to improvise? For a meeting at work? For cooking a dinner? Patricia Ryan Madson asserted in her book improv wisdom that planning and improvising are both essential for a successful life. Feeling comfortable to jump in and pay full attention to what is happening moment by moment and not to be distracted by what has happened and what might happen could be one of the most important skills we need. Improvisation is a way of discovery. We perceive reality differently and we evaluate ideas better when we are inside the problem. However, we often want to be so certain about the outcome before we act or support an idea. We tend to filter out immediately the initial thought with our preferences and experiences. “Say yes” is the first big rule in improvisation. Here is Madson’s big idea: Substitute “yes and” for “yes but”. Instead of being argumentative and find faults, we can share control and notice what is right. First agree and accept what is presented to us, then add or develop the idea in a positive direction.

Patricia Ryan Madson

Once again, Ying, you bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for your encouragement to keep writing. I often have the thought that Improv Wisdom includes all that I know which may be useful. Perhaps I can find more to share. My prayer is to be helpful. Your "big idea" that came from reading strikes me as a very powerful one. How wonderful that you found the book in a library. Hooray for libraries. And, hooray for YOU, Ying Tan.
Warm and hearty thanks,

Ying Tan

Patricia, personally I'd love to read more of your stories,such as how you decided to pursue what you are doing as a profession,who influenced you along the way, big or small, what the rewarding and frustrating parts of your professional life, how you learned the lessons you shared in your book, etc. One way of being helpful is to show the hard-earned wisdom, the end result, another way is to show the process. What is most personal in your own growth can be the most universal for many of us.

Your observation that yes without and is a form of aggression really hit me hard. You helped me understand a lot about myself. I often wonder how you get that kind of insights about people. I am sure you must have many more observations and insights like this.

On a side note, I love to spread ideas that had profound influence on me. If you'd like to be on my Big idea distribution list, please send me your email address to yingtan01@gmail.com.

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