In this week’s newsletter: forgetting how to write, spotting a comet, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
Cosmic nonses

Hey y’all,

Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. Feels like there’s been some major cosmic nonsense lately. I forgot how to write again. Having trouble reading. In any other year, this would be a sweaty, foolish season to try to Work, but this year it seems downright insane. (“Welcome the summer muse, or plan your fall.”) Trying to have things to look forward to, no matter how small, whether it’s a splash in the kiddie pool or an afternoon bowl of Cap’n Crunch. (Just keep going, right?)
  2. How to spot comet NEOWISE, before it disappears for another six thousand years. (I saw it, faintly, through my binoculars, even with all the light pollution around here.)
  3. The case for artistic genius. (On the whole, I believe the concept of genius is unhelpful or downright destructive for most people and would be better replaced with Brian Eno’s concept of “scenius.”)
  4. The handwritten first draft of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.
  5. Last year, after seeing a show of the pansy-obsessed Joe Brainard, I started making my Pansy Luchadores. Then a reader alerted me to these Pansy Sailors from a 127-year-old floral guide. Just this week, I was reading a book of John Ashbery’s collages, and what did I find in a collage he dedicated to his friend Joe Brainard? The Pansy Sailor!
  6. For the absent-minded: I kept losing my pocket notebook, so my wife bought me this Tile thingie to stick in the back. It’s working! (But now I kind of miss the lost notebook tweets? They always helped me find it!) 
  7. Poem: Emily Dickinson’s “Knows how to forget!
  8. This week I did manage to read composer R. Murray Schafer’s Ear Cleaning: Notes for an Experimental Music Course, which, along with a few of his other early books, is available as a PDF from the wonderful website Monoskop. (Some music to my ears: local Austin legend Thor Harris has started a band with his next door neighbor Antonio and they sound great.)
  9. RIP civil rights legend John Lewis. (Now would be a great time to read The March Trilogy.)
  10. RIP designer and photographer Jan Steward. (Here’s how she wrote one of my favorite books about making art.) 
Thanks for reading. This newsletter is free, but not cheap. To show your support, forward it to someone who’d like it or buy some of my books.

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PS. ¡Sigue adelante! (Photo: @uxfriends_podcast)
Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like An Artist and other books.

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