In this week’s newsletter: collages, book and music recommendations, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon

Hey y’all,

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

  1. As I figure out the next book, I’ve been making lots of collages in my diary, and thinking about collage and how it’s an intelligence in your fingers, a kind of time travel, a tool for locating your present between past and future, and why it works so well for me when I’m stuck or in between projects. (I’ve also been thinking about how my favorite Magritte paintings are terrific examples of what I call “The simplest cut.”)
  2. David Epstein’s Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World is both a validation of how I’ve chosen to go about my work and a kick in the pants to not get complacent, stretch out, and go down weird paths. (It’s also, as Ryan Holiday suggested to me, a parenting book in disguise.)
  3. How pencils are made.
  4. My friend Jez asked for some favorite artists memoirs and I recommended: Philip Glass, Words Without Music; Patti Smith, Just Kids; Sally Mann, Hold Still; Duncan Hannah, 20th Century Boy; Mary Karr, Lit; Alison Bechdel, Fun Homeand Joe Brainard, I Remember.
  5. Anthony Bourdain’s writing desk is one of several of his possessions that will be up for auction in October. (Man, I miss him.)
  6. Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood has started a new classical music label.
  7. I have mixed feelings about Ken Burns’ Country Music (personally, I think Peter Coyote’s narration is too gloomy for the subject — would love to hear it narrated by Willie or Dolly) but it’s been good to hear old favorites and learn about about new-to-me musicians and songwriters like Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. (If you’re on Spotify, the Ken Burns Country Music Experience is pretty cool.)
  8. Ear candy: my son and I have been listening a bunch to Four Tet’s New Energy. (We especially like the track “Two Thousand and Seventeen.”)
  9. We pay a lot of attention to artists and not enough to the champions of artists: the people who help get the work out of the artists and into the world. RIP cartoon editor Lee Salem. RIP musicologist John Cohen. RIP editor Susan Kamil. (Here are remembrances from Ruth Reichl and Elizabeth McCracken.) RIP musician Ric Ocasek, who also produced the work of other great musicians. 
  10. Living on in doodles.
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Austin Kleon

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

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