10 things worth sharing this week
Congrats on the Guardian article. Next “”Time Man of the Year”
So much good stuff! First a well-deserved congratulation on the Guardian article! On George Saunders Substack Story Club he talked about writing that changed your life and a commenter mentioned reading her first terrible book when she was a teenager and being gobsmacked that bad writing existed in a book because it must be good if it was published right?! I totally felt a jolt of recognition--it took me way too long to get this. Chast is one of my favourites. The book CANT WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? her memoir about aging parents could have been my story--so much made me laugh and cry.
And finally thank you for the link to the bundle of Mary Ruefle's books. I did an art project using her colour poems? In MY PRIVATE PROPERTY (a book I took out of the library) and I’m excited to read the other two books.
Lauren Groff article was really fascinating. When I got to the part where she is tossing a manuacript on a bonfire, talk about escalation, I might have gulped and jaw dropped. Not sure, but I was shocked. But then, the athlete she is, chalked it up basically to the nature of practice. Not every run, not every write, is going to be good.
As an athlete (more former than current although I still aim for consistent short runs) and someone who reads, arts, and creates, that spoke to me. I'm stuck in my art currently on a page in my sketchbook that I just can't seem to let go. Between Groff and your post on bad art, I'm feeling the nudge to relax and either accept the bad or unfinished art or just move on.
On the topic of redrafting from memory... Joyce Carol Oates in her Masterclass on short story talks about writing a first draft, leaving it, going for a run or walk, playing the scenes visually in your mind, and then come back to write it all again from memory. And long firm if possible. Sounds like Groff subscribes to that practice but in a slightly different way.
Oates also insists that writers have to absolutely find a time and space with no interruption, acknowledging that mothers of small children are particularly susceptible to interruption. I like that Groff has a contract with her partner that allows her to have an unfettered and uninterrupted morning.
Being a mom, particularly of small children, and a writer or creative if any type (and then add on top of that your full time job if you aren't a working creative, someone getting paid) is a particularly challenging situation. I'm always amazed when I read about people with children who manage to block out the time to be creative. It requires a willing and capable partner and enough financial freedom to do so. The rest of us (and even more so the single parents among us) are creating in what can feel like stolen or sneaked moments of 15 minutes here and there or burning the midnight oil only to have to wake up 5 hours later to get kids to school.
But that tension... of needing to create in a life full of responsibilities to others, for me at least... can (sometimes) cause a combustion of creativity that are really satisfying.
Congratulations on the guardian award, well deserved!
Kleon gets a full subscribe for this excellent posting.
Don’t worry, I find lots of badly written books on my own! And big congratulations!
Congrats on being featured on the Guardian! Well-deserved publicity. Hope it brings you scads more subscribers.
Very intrigued by Groff's work - will have to look up.
If I don't like a book, I have no problem abandoning it. I never thought there might be some value in continuing to read it. I'd much rather read Groff --she is just incredible! And, Woo-Hoo! Congrats on the Guardian mention. And of course, thanks for including Basquiat in this week's line up 👑
Hey Austin, did you know that the Roz Chast interview is behind a pay wall?
Oh, Austin, I am so not surprised that your newsletter was selected by the Guardian. Yours is the one one of all that I subscribe to - so far. But that may now change seeing as how I have a list of other "good ones" from the Guardian, which I greatly respect. On another thread - Go Longhorns! I went to UT a billion years ago and loved it!
Great synchronicity. I’ve been down a Basquiat rabbit hole all week.
Good Washington Post article that reminded me of an Austin Kleon book (somewhat):
I used to survey people experiencing burnout. Here’s what they taught me.
While these notes are anecdotal, they have influenced the way I approach and value things in my everyday life by SÓLVEIG EVA MAGNÚSDÓTTIR
I hope the link is okay.
Hey Austin, so cool for the guardian to recognize your Substack, I think it’s a big deal that you moved to Substack, your work is essential.
Nice work Austin. Congrats. I love this newsletter/community. Great value and inspiration. Thank you.