I've thought for a long time about which creators and artists have had an outsized influence on my own tastes. Here's my current Taste Family Tree:

Maria Popova——>Austin Kleon, David Whyte

Austin Kleon—>Lynda Barry, Ezra Klein, Andrew Huberman

Ezra Klein—>Studs Terkel, George Saunders, Maryanne Wolf

Andrew Huberman—>Adam Grant

Often I feel that I'm Bill Murray in a Groundhog Day scenario given how I've allowed myself to be influenced by many of these speakers, writers, and makers over and over and over again, but when I think about it at any length (like right now), I feel that I'm moreso Bill Murray how he is at the end of the movie, playful and accepting, rather than the confused, frustrated Bill at the start of it.

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Feb 2Liked by Austin Kleon

Re: Suck less calendar

I just bought a new piano accordion to replace the student model my dad bought me when I was ten. For the past 60 years it served as an instrument I would pull out and play a polka or happy birthday for giggles. Yeah, you could say I need some practice.

I retired to a tiny town in northeast Minnesota where folks love polka music, especially the folks at the nursing home where I play the weekly “happy hour” as a one man band with an electric keyboard. The accordion will be icing on the cake!

I just printed the calendar. It’s hanging in my kitchen where I will always see it. Great timing on this post, Austin.

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I loved your interview with Jane. So many bits of gold in it! I have two small kids ( we also live in Austin) and I value so much their ability to create, build and play with abandon, whiling away hours on their creations whether it be lego building or imagination games! I have to remind myself to channel it and have been craving the way in which I played when I was younger recently. Your interview resonated so strongly with me.

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What a wonderful interview! So inspiring! I’m doing the 100 Day Project—this is my fourth year!—that starts February 18 and I’m pondering my theme. Love the idea of following the materials and letting them lead.

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The Year Flaco the Owl Roamed Free

He fled the Central Park Zoo and made the rest of Manhattan his new home. What has he been up to?

Ed Shanahan

By Ed Shanahan

I was reading this article about Flacco when your newsletter hit this morning Austin, immediately thought of the screech owls at your house! Also read Jane’s interview with you yesterday…thanks for pulling us further into your world. Inspiration from your words and writing has become a mainstay around this house. We appreciate you!

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Austin, I can't recall if you know/read Suleika Jaouad. The journal prompt for this week's Isolation Journals feels like a cousin of the blackout poem


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I did a screenshot, saved it and printed it out. It’s now n my wall. I so need this! I’m 3 days behind! I need to sketch in my sketchbook! I’m taking a figure drawing class that’s kicking my ass. It’s humbling to say the least.

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Happy Groundhog Day. No shadow; the little fellow tells us we will have an early Spring. Since the beginning of the Pandemic (which for me was my birthday 3/15/2020), I've been celebrating the lifestyle of Groundhog day. This year will be 365x4+1 (Leap Year). The Pandemic may be officially over but this week two friends got it for the first time; one friend is on her third round--so I'm maintaining my Thoreau-esque lifestyle. Amused to turn on the tv while Austin's "Every day is Groundhog Day" was on my computer screen and see the opening credits of -- you guessed it.

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