One! Hundred! Thousand!
10 things worth sharing: a special offer to celebrate a big number, tales of the library, National Poetry Month, ear and eye candy, and more...
I try not to pay too much attention to numbers, but we hit a fun number this week: 100,000 of you get this Friday newsletter!!! (Only took us 9 years…)
Why that number counts: This newsletter is completely reader supported. I’ve never accepted outside money or ads or sponsorships and I’ve only pointed to the weird stuff I like that I think you’d like too.
Thank you for hanging with me, and extra special thanks to the paid subscribers who make Friday free for everybody! If you haven’t gone paid yet, I’m offering 20% off to celebrate:
Okay, here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
Over the years, people have asked me if I have advice for starting a newsletter. I say: “Write a newsletter you’d like to read, pick a repeatable format, and turn off your unsubscribe notifications.” As to how I put this thing together each week, I wrote a little bit about that a few years ago.
A library ends late fees and the treasures roll in. A library goes unstaffed and nobody steals anything. A library waits long enough and Darwin’s journals are returned. (Yep, it’s National Library Week.)
April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, I wrote about poems so good you hang them on your refrigerator. April also marks the 12th anniversary (!!!) of my book Newspaper Blackout, which, somehow, still remains in print. (A library week/poetry month crossover: I was delighted to see this display of blackout poems at the St. Louis Public Library.) If you’d like to make your own blackout poems, here’s a how-to video, and here are 3 other types of poems you can make from the newspaper. Finally, if you’d like to get into poetry and you don’t know where to start, I recommend a daily poetry newsletter like Poem-a-Day or my favorite, Pome.
April is also Autism Acceptance Month. A book that made a huge impact on me is Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. (Steve also has good tips for being an ally — I learned to stop saying “high functioning” and “We’re all a little on the spectrum, aren’t we?”) If you’re a parent or a family member of an autistic kid, I found this booklet, Start Here: A Guide for Parents of Autistic Kids very helpful. (A few of my notes here.) Also worth reading is comedian Hannah Gadsby on her autism diagnosis. Some books by autistic authors on my to-read shelf: Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist, and the anthology, Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum With Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity.
Music documentary: Big Fun in the Big Town is a 1986 Dutch documentary shot in New York City, in two parts: the first part is about Iggy Pop and the other is about the early hip-hop scene. Wonderful footage. I love the scene of Iggy explaining how Johnny Cash inspired “No Fun” and Grandmaster Flash spinning on the decks. (You might want to poke around director Bram van Splunteren’s Vimeo page for more musical gems.)
Movies: A profile of one of the most enduring collaborations in film history: director Richard Linklater and editor Sandra Adair. I am fascinated by film editing, and think writers can learn a great deal from it. I love chopping up footage in iMovie, and one of my favorite books is Walter Murch’s In the Blink of an Eye. A particular interest is the origins of the work and why so many great film editors are women. (See: the story of Marsha Lucas.)
Singer/songwriter ear candy: Walter Martin’s new album The Bear (check out his gorgeous schoolhouse studio) and a handy guide to the albums of Destroyer. (My personal favorites: Destroyer’s Rubies, Your Blues, and Kaputt.)
TV: 60 Minutes interviews Laurie Anderson. (Last year I wrote a little about her work with artificial intelligence.) And a handful of interviews with interesting TV-makers: Quinta Brunson of Abbott Elementary, writer Dan Erickson and designer Jeremy Hindle of Severance, and Natasha Lyonne of Russian Doll. (Loved this line: “You don’t get a lot of shots to say what you want to say, so you may as well say what you want while they’re letting you.”)
I had a lot of fun putting this particular issue together, so if you liked it, please consider sharing it with someone you think would like it, too.
PS. I visited my friend Ryan Holiday out in Bastrop and finally got a chance to see his bookstore, The Painted Porch. (They now have signed copies of all my books in stock, including the 10th anniversary gift edition of Steal Like an Artist.)