In this week’s newsletter: an app for concentration, poolside recommendations, eye and ear candy, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
having a secret before the world knows

Hey y’all,

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

  1. It’s fun to have a secret before the world knows.

  2. I’m reading Mary Ruefle’s short prose collection, My Private Property, slowly, at breakfast, a piece or two at a time. (I love her work — her newest poetry collection, Dunce, was one of my favorite books I read this spring.)
  3. Elisa Gabbert’s second essay collection, The Unreality of Memory, is out this week. (Her first, The Word Pretty, was on last year’s list of my favorite reads. Another book on that list was Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back). He just announced a new book about songwriting, How To Write One Song.)
  4. Want quick knowledge? Read a non-fiction book from the children’s section! I’ve been stealing Once Upon A Word, an etymology book for kids, from our second grader. (Here’s the author, Jess Zafarris, explaining the origin of “pumpernickel.”)
  5. The new Ruth Asawa stamps from the USPS are wonderful. (“Every time life dealt her a blow, she turned it into something wonderful, something creative.”)
  6. If you are lucky enough to be poolside in these dog days: I love my Wonderboom bluetooth speaker, my Rite in The Rain waterproof notebooks (AquaNotes work great, too, but I like to keep them in the shower), this dorky pizza raft like the one Andy Samberg floats on in Palm Springs, and this “Poolside ‘86” Spotify playlist by Ryan Schreiber. (He also made this playlist of Aphex Twin piano works I like to write to.)
  7. Forest is an app that helps you stay focused by planting a digital tree — if you look at your phone before it’s fully grown, it dies. Sounds ridiculous, and it is, but it’s been working for me! (Thanks to @hayleycampbell for the recommendation.)
  8. Movies: If you’d like to watch a quiet, lovely movie about poetry and everyday life, I recommend Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, the movie he made after his even more excellent vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive. (Throw in his old classic Down By Law while you’re at it — all three are great lockdown movies, for different reasons.)
  9. Podcast: This American Life ran a segment called “Time Bandit,” with stuttering composer, JJJJJerome Ellis. (More about my interest in stuttering.)
  10. The addictive joy of watching someone listen to Phil Collins.
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PS. I like the looks of this library! (Thanks @librariabuzuku)
Austin Kleon

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

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