In this week’s newsletter: in praise of making bad art, growing without schooling, ear and eye candy, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
Try to do some bad work

Hey y’all,

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

  1. When the going gets tough, make bad art. (I’ve been making sticky note collages and blackout poems.)
  2. A batch of nice writing about drawing: Meaghan O’Connell on drawing with your kids, Edward Carey on making a drawing every day in quarantine, and Gary Panter on the point of making pointless things.
  3. This week I’m reading the first volume of John Holt’s unschooling newsletter, Growing Without Schoolingfirst published in 1977. I’m finding it really comforting to read how parents helped their kids learn from home over four decades ago. (There are second and third volumes, too, or you can browse through the original issues as PDFs.) I’m going to try to tweet out a favorite bit from each one.
  4. I really loved the first 3/4 of May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. (It will probably go on my favorite books of the year list.) I set Empire of the Summer Moon aside, briefly, to re-read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, the absurd horror of which I’m finding an appealing escape from the absurd horror of our present moment. (Also: It’s pretty funny in spots?) Which reminds me: the late great Charles Portis’s novels are $1.99 on eBook right now. I love all of them. (Ed Park once said his books were “like Cormac McCarthy, but funny.”) 
  5. Even though I hate cars in principle, I miss driving around and talking to my kids.
  6. Rick Steves is learning to cook and enjoying every sunset. (And is about to smoke a ton of weed.)
  7. Podcast: BBC’s Great Lives on Tove Jansson. (Related: “Five things to learn from the Moomins.)
  8. Eye candy: Tons of closed museums are posting videos of virtual visits. Two from our friends at Open CultureThe Louvre and The Van Gogh Museum 
  9. Ear candy: I’m all about the grooves this week — lots of LCD Soundsystem, Ethiopiques, Vol. 4, and Fela Kuti.
  10. The trouble with advice. (I said I was gonna take a break from zines, but I can’t seem to stop!)
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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my captain does not answer
Austin Kleon

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

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