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In this week’s newsletter: solving problems with your hands, new metaphors for creative work, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
collage

Hey y’all,

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

  1. Honestly, I was sort of off this week. I spent an embarrassing amount of time learning how to solve my son’s Rubik’s Cube. Afterwards, I wrote about how good it feels, when life’s problems seem unsolvable, to work on solvable problems with your hands.
     
  2. My reading has been all over the place. I’ve been dipping in and out of Every Person in New York at the breakfast table, thinking about Jason. I read Be Here Now out of curiosity after hearing an interview with Ram Dass. (I’m most interested in the production of the book, which was done by a group of people using rubber stamp type.) And I read Molly Bang’s Picture This: How Pictures Work, which is about how visual compositions engage the emotions.
     
  3. I spent a whole morning browsing the LIFE magazine archive in Google Books. It’s incredible looking back through all those issues — I particularly like all the old advertisements. (And here’s some found art I stumbled across.) 
     
  4. A story that’s partly about the power of newsletters: How Elinor Kaine Penna became a pioneering pro football writer in an industry where women weren’t welcome. (I enjoyed this tweet thread about the piece.)
     
  5. It’s still Winter in America.
     
  6. Ear candy: I’m enjoying these Spotify playlists of Aphex Twin’s piano works and Grimes’ favorite “calming sci-fi.”
     
  7. Music lovers: follow Dust-to-Digital on Twitter and Instagram. They’re always posting high-quality vintage performances. 
     
  8. Food: My wife and I have been drinking a lot of fluffy coffee.
     
  9. RIP Andy Gill, guitarist and co-founder of Gang of Four. I’ve been blasting Entertainment! in the studio and watching old shows of theirs on YouTube. (Check out these performances of “To Hell With Poverty,” “Damaged Goods,” and “He’d Send in the Army,” all from 1980.)
     
  10. In Keep Going, I wrote about how we need new metaphors for creative work... and I keep finding them! This week: collage as thinking on the page and the art of mending.
Thanks for reading. If you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to someone who’d like it, buy a book, or get your organization to hire me to speak at your office or event.

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xoxo, 

Austin
art from life
Austin Kleon

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

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