In this week’s newsletter: why practice is so hard, looking at your fish, good books, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
practice - suck less

Hey y’all,

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

  1. “It isn’t so much that geniuses make it look easy; it’s that they make it look fast.”
  2. I tore through Edie: American Girl, an oral history of Edie Sedgwick and the 1960s. (Fun bit: George Saunders says the book was an influence on the montage sections of his novel Lincoln in the Bardo.)
  3. I’ve been reading a bunch of art books about seeing and influence: Gorey’s Worlds, a catalogue of Edward Gorey’s personal art collection; Lawrence Weschler’s Everything That Rises, which has me seeing things; and The World Through Blunted Sight, an investigation of faulty or failing eyesight in the work of artists and writers. (Fodder for my file of artists whose physical shortcomings led to their signature work came.)     
  4. I re-read cartoonist Eleanor Davis’s How To Be Happy. I just love her stuff. I also recommend her book Why Art? and, maybe most of all, her comic diary, You & a Bike & a Road, which might be my favorite thing I’ve read all year. So happy she’s working on a new one.
  5. The (surprisingly long) history of the cut-up technique.
  6. The New Yorker profiled my friend Jason Polan, author of Every Person in New York, and his Taco Bell Drawing Club. (I’m happy to have been drawn by Jason a few times — I wrote about the TBDC in my post on finding creativity and community in mundane retail spaces.)
  7. Love the idea of starting a museum club.
  8. David Sedaris: “It’s fascinating, the things you see when you’re on foot.” (I write about Sedaris and walking in Keep Going.)
  9. Ear candy: My collage-making music this week was David Bowie’s Scary Monsters. I’m also enjoying Numero Group’s Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground.
  10. The advice tacked above historian David McCullough’s desk: Look at your fish.
Thanks for reading! If you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to a friend, tweet me some love, or best of all, buy a book!

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

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