Consider this a second installment of a “people I take time to read and listen to” series. I featured meditation teacher and writer Sebene Selassie on Monday. Today is Austin Kleon, an artist and writer I have written about in the past. I look forward to his Friday newsletter with its ten topics that could take a month to explore. He’s like the New Yorker of newsletters. I can never finish one magazine before another arrives.
I appreciate Austin’s work so much I took the step of becoming a paid subscriber. That means I get an additional email during the week where he muses on life, art and more. This week, he reviewed a dozen books he read this summer and described the guilt associated with being able to read during the day.
I resonated with these sentiments. While I renounced the notion of calling any reading a guilty pleasure, I do understand the idea of guilt at seeing some free time during the day and thinking, “I could read my book.” And then immediately imagining all the people I know who are toiling away at desks, in offices, online and feeling that pang that perhaps I *should* also be doing something other than “just reading”. Prior to retiring, even though I have worked from home for decades, I almost never read during the day unless it was professional literature. My work day mimicked that of the real world, and I felt as though I was cheating clients if I was engaging in hobbies during the day.
Now, however, as I explore this liminal space in which I am living, reading during the day is rapidly becoming part of the routine, both in the morning and in pockets throughout the day. It is all part of the increase in my reading mojo. I created a bookshelf bullet-journal style page and penciled in some of the titles I want to get to before the end of the year.
P.S. And now I *really* feel guilty as I realized the new season of the Great British Baking Show is available now on Netflix and the streaming has begun.
My inbox has gotten quite cluttered with messages from various organizations and companies who seem to take the more is better approach. So, in the interest of my own less is better approach for 2020, I have been busy unsubscribing.
I find it annoying, in this digital age, that I have to wait ten days for some of them to process. After all, they were able to sign me up without a waiting period. I understand that they schedule emails ahead, but there should be some process for removing emails globally at the moment the request is made.
There are three emails, however, that I usually open right away:
- Austin Kleon’s weekly email covers books, music, poetry, and creativity. Browse the archives and then subscribe.
- Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings newsletter brings her incredible writing to my inbox. Her best of 2019 offers seemingly a lifetime of reading as she weaves her observations around the words and ideas of so many others. And, in the interest of transparency, I am a sustaining supporter.
- Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets features contemporary and classic poets.
I would love to hear what others feel is important enough to actually receive as an email?
Update: I went back to cleaning out email and there was Lady Carnarvon’s blog post reminder. She is the current mistress of Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey. It is a fun glimpse into a different world.
I’m not sure how I discovered artist and writer Austin Kleon. Probably on Twitter. I have his books and the new one is on preorder. But, it’s his weekly newsletter that makes him an integral part of my life. I look forward to it every Friday. He seems to have mastered the art of the email newsletter: ten quick items. He highlights his blog posts which are always thoughtful and also introduces his readers to music and books and art, all in the name of supporting our own creativity. If you don’t get the newsletter, you should.
Go ahead…subscribe now. I’ll wait.
I’ve thought about crafting my own Austin Kleon style blog post each week, but I’ll be honest: I’m a little intimidated. Kleon has a breadth and depth of knowledge of culture and the arts that make my offerings seem meager. But, as the saying goes (at least if you grew up with Risky Business), sometimes you just have to say WTF. So…here you go: five items from the week ala Austin:
- I was sad to finish The Books By the Bay mystery series by Ellery Adams, but she knows when a good thing is done. Using the setting in coastal North Carolina to craft the stories, Adams drew on Native American and Appalachian culture while painting a loving portrait of the fishing community that resides along side the tourists in Oyster Bay.
- This Newshour feature on conductor Jessica Bejarano inspired me to stream some classical music, including Beethoven. I’m also learning to play Piano Sonata No 20 (short and pretty simple), and it feels good to sit down at the piano in the evenings for a little practice. I have never been much of a music memorizer, but I would like to try to get a couple pieces under my belt (or my fingers, as it were). I may try this easy tip.
- The Electric Light Orchestra has always been a favorite, and Mr. Blue Sky has been running through my head lately, probably because it has been raining so much! As though the Internet was reading my mind, I stumbled on this animated version.
- It is February 1, and I like Austin’s idea of starting my resolutions now. I often wait until my birthday month in May as that’s really the start of my new year, but May seems far away. Today is about this blog post and 10,000 steps, something I haven’t done regularly since Christmas Day.
- Thursday was the last day for the 4H STEM Club. As I said on Twitter:
Austin Kleon is, hands down, the best newsletter writer I know. I LOVE his weekly lists and know I will always find some new to read, watch or listen to. It’s short and sweet and geared towards the reader. I look forward to its appearance every Friday.
If you don’t subscribe, you should do so right now.