10 things worth sharing: Rumi, bicycles, brains, an Instagram tip, the paintings of Rego, and more...
It’s hot as Hades down here in Texas. The summer of Campari continues! If you partake in spirits, I highly recommend a Campari Spritz: fill a glass with ice, add Campari, Prosecco, and sparkling water. Stir and adjust to taste.
Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” Thought of that Rumi line after seeing two signs on a recent bike ride. (More bicycle links, if you can stand them: Clive Thompson on why cycling improves his thinking and Kevin Kelly’s reasons to tour on bicycle.)
I finished a remarkable comic this week called Two Heads: A Graphic Exploration of How Our Brains Work With Other Brains. It was written by the neuroscientists Uta and Chris Frith and their son, children’s book author Michael Frith. Drawn by Daniel Locke. Good reviews of the book over at The Guardian and Kirkus.
The Friths made a list of “the best graphic novels that explain things that matter.” It includes two of our Read Like an Artist book club picks: Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Lynda Barry’s What It Is. Other comics on the list I’m looking forward to reading: Trashed: An Ode to the Crap Job of All Crap Jobs and Logocomix: An Epic Search for Truth.
McSweeney’s is running a Kickstarter to bring The Believer back home. (If you’re unaware of the epic nonsense that’s gone on around the magazine, the New York Times has it covered.)
Instagram tip: My friend @wendymac asked if there’s any way to make it less awful. One thing that’s worked for me: click the Instagram logo in the top left of the app, and you’ll be given a choice of Following or Favorites. Following shows Ye Old Instagram, with reverse chronological posts from people you follow. What a concept! (If you’d like to follow me only to have the algorithm hide my posts: I’m @austinkleon.)
Eye candy: After I wrote about a form of collage I call “The Simplest Cut,” a reader sent me a perfect example: Isabel Reitemeyer’s uncanny collages.
Peel slowly and see: a treasure trove of Lou Reed archives and recently unearthed demos. The archive was supposed to go to the Ransom Center here in Austin, TX, but Reed’s widow, the artist Laurie Anderson, decided against it after the boneheads down here passed a law permitting guns on campus. (Speaking of Anderson, the documentary about women synth pioneers she narrated, Sisters With Transistors is now streaming on Kanopy.)
TV: My whole family is loving the show Gravity Falls, which Kelly Link described as “X-Files for kids & parents if X-Files were 3 seasons long & the conspiracy theory stuff were actually interesting & fun.” I even bought my kids the journal that Dipper and Mabel use in the show. (When they’re in bed, I’m loving the dark 3rd season of Barry and these recaps with star/director Bill Hader.)
RIP painter Paula Rego. (I’m going to make some time to watch the documentary her son made about her.)
A reader who just became a brand-new mom wrote to me that she’s read a great book about not having kids, but she’s had difficulty “finding well-written works on the upside of having kids.” I couldn’t think of a specific book, but I dug into my “parenting” file and sent her “The Best Thing Ever Written About Work-Life Balance” and some of my favorite books about art and motherhood. If y’all can think of a recommendation, leave it in the comments!
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Ps. Two different people sent me this display of my books in the gift shop at the National Gallery of Art. Good company it’s keeping: Keri Smith’s classic Wreck This Journal and the Comic Book Notebook, which has pages with empty comic book panels for you to draw your own comics.
(Thanks to L.M. Sacasas for this snap — he writes the wonderful newsletter, The Convivial Society. His post about the internet as the past has stuck in my mind for days now.)
Add this to the files: Ann Patchett’s wonderful new essay collection These Precious Days has an essay called “There Are No Children Here” about her choosing not to have kids and her experience of being questioned for this decision when male authors often aren’t.
This is written by an economist but it’s definitely positive on the upside of having kids. And I think he has a bunch of kids. Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids https://a.co/d/bGeDDCc