Discover more from Austin Kleon
Messages from the compost heap
10 things worth sharing this week + 20% off paid subscriptions
If you’d like to get an extra “deep dive” newsletter from me on Tuesdays, join a creative community of thousands of interesting and helpful people, and keep this Friday newsletter free for everybody, consider taking advantage of my 20% off summer sale and become a paid subscriber!
Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
If this new season is already playing tricks on you, just do what Don Quixote does and blame enchanters: “Hordes of enchanters always walk among us and alter and change everything and turn things into whatever they please, according to whether they wish to favor us or destroy us.” I’m so in love with this 400-year-old book. I laugh out loud at some point in every chapter, and it feels like it could’ve been written yesterday. The “classics” are so much weirder and livelier than we think!
My 40th birthday present to myself: I got a new bike! A 10-speed gravel bike I’ve named “Rocinante” after Don Quixote’s horse, a la Dervla Murphy and John Steinbeck. I find it very hard to be unhappy on a bicycle and riding one around has re-enchanted the city for me. If you are bicycle curious or you haven’t ridden in a while, I really can’t recommend adventures on two wheels enough. Here’s my list of 10 things I’ve learned from riding. (If that’s not enough for you, here’s my “bicycles” tag.)
A 2000-year-old reason to stay off social media from Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic: “The talk of snobs and parasites sticks in our ears long after we’ve heard it.” Thumbs up. I kept the book on the kitchen table and read a letter at each meal. (If you’ve never read Seneca, I might start with this slim Penguin Great Ideas collection, On the Shortness of Life.)
I got some really positive responses to my recent letter, “You don’t need a vision.” I was especially pleased to hear from so many of you with aphantasia! I wrote a tiny afterword on my blog and included what the rough draft looked like.
“There is no goal for what we're doing.... it's just a continual process... The band is a by-product of us trying to improve as people and learn about ourselves.” The great Deerhoof live on KEXP.
“Let kids get bored. It’s good for them” would’ve been a good addition to my list of ways to “unschool” this summer. But let me say once again: Almost all advice for kids doubles as advice for adults! When was the last time you let yourself get bored? Boredom is a pit stop.
Ear candy: I’ve been hipped to the Analog Africa label and have much to explore. I’ve been blasting their comp Ecuadoriana by the pool — a collection of “tropical electronics mixed in with Andean melodies and lyrics” to make “Andean Cumbia.” (Cumbia is one of my top 5 favorite poolside genres. The others are: 80s synth-pop, dub reggae, surf, and Ethiopian jazz. And speaking of genres: 33 1/3’s genre series is open for submissions.)
A summer cocktail: I’ve been mixing a lot of paper planes: equal parts bourbon, amaro, aperol, and lemon juice.
Netflix: The Joys and Sorrows of Young Yuguo is short, sweet, and very sad documentary about a 16-year-old Chinese boy who leaves China to study poetry in Romania. At one point he quotes the great Wisława Szymborska: “I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.” (Thanks to Malaka for the recommendation.)
I receive messages from the compost heap.