In this week’s newsletter: the genius of Lynda Barry, advice from William Blake, desert island discs, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
Lynda Barry reading at Oberlin

Hey y’all,

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

  1. For years, I’ve been saying nobody deserves a MacArthur “Genius” Grant more than Lynda Barry, and it finally happened!!! I drew the drawing above after meeting her twelve years ago. Since then, hjer work has meant so much to me. I would not be doing the work I’m doing without her. Among other things, she’s taught me that four-year-olds will get you unstuck, your hands are a means of resistance, the page is a place, “Does this suck?” is a terrible question, collage is what you do when you’re stuck, the power of drawing Batman, and drawings have the right to exist. Go out and read all her books.
  2. This week I read Hot Comba book of comics by Ebony Flowers, a student of Barry’s who seems to have absorbed her teacher’s brushwork and ability to conjure childhood. 
  3. Advice from William Blake via Kris Kristofferson: “You’ll be miserable if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.”
  4. I talked to Texas Monthly about all sorts of stuff.
  5. Lovely interview: Thom Yorke picks his discs for a desert island. (I really like his latest solo record, ANIMA.)
  6. When a guitar pedal becomes an instrument.
  7. A look inside Richard Feynman’s calculus notebook.
  8. I took my mom to see the Downton Abbey movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, and it was exactly what it should be.
  9. A late RIP to Hazel Smith, who was the MVP of Ken Burns’ documentary, Country Music. (I’d like to get in a time machine and visit Hillbilly Central.) 
  10. RIP lyricist and poet Robert Hunter. He believed, like me, that mishearing is a creative act.
Thanks for reading. If you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to someone who’d like it or, even better, buy them a book!

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PS. San Francisco! I’m coming to Litquake in October. Tickets here. (Want me to come speak at your event? Drop me a line!)

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

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