Watched

Beautiful things grow out of shit. Nobody ever believes that. Everyone thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head—they somehow appeared there and formed in his head—and all he had to do was write them down and they would be manifest to the world. But what I think is so interesting, and would really be a lesson that everybody should learn, is that things come out of nothing. Things evolve out of nothing. You know, the tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest. And then the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing. I think this would be important for people to understand, because it gives people confidence in their own lives to know that’s how things work.

If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted—they have these wonderful things in their head but and you’re not one of them, you’re just sort of a normal person, you could never do anything like that—then you live a different kind of life. You could have another kind of life where you could say, well, I know that things come from nothing very much, start from unpromising beginnings, and I’m an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.

via Austin Kleon

Replied to A warning to my readers (austinkleon.com)
I love meeting my readers, but I am so aware that the person who writes the books that they read is the best version of me — the most hopeful, the most helpful version of me. In my day-to-day life, I am as confused, and stupid, and pessimistic as anybody. As Wendell Berry puts it, “I am a man as crude as any…”
It seems ironic commenting on this post, but anyway.

Austin you might like the comment from John Banville about being two different people: the writer and the person.

Replied to A portrait of the artist as a young father (austinkleon.com)
Here are a handful of things I think I know about being a dad:
The one point that really struck me as I type this with the rest of the family fast asleep was the point about balance:

Work, children, or a social life. You may pick two at a time. (Nobody wants to hear this.)

That is a good point.

Replied to Plug and play studio (austinkleon.com)
So, for about a $150 investment, I can have all my old microphones, bass guitar, and keyboard plugged in at all times, and all you have to do is plug in an iPad (or an iPhone!), fire up Garageband, select the inputs, and go. I’ll often make a drum pattern with the built-in sequencer, then record myself singing and playing my old Yamaha piano through the MIDI input. It’s fun to do the basic tracks, unplug the iPad, then sit on the couch with headphones and do the mixing.
I remember getting a Creative soundcard for my desktop computer that had a single line in and line out. I would use this to record snippets to build tracks. How far technology has come.

I watched a documentary (I think that it involved Trent Reznor) and they were discussing the temperamental nature of early sampling where the computer (think it was an Apple) would sometimes just crash and they would need to wait hours for it to process again.

Bookmarked Learning for learning’s sake (austinkleon.com)
Setting aside the importance of hobbies and the amateur spirit, what worries me the most is this faulty idea that you should only spend time learning about things if they have a definite “ROI.” Creative people are curious people, and part of being a creative person is allowing yourself the freedom to let your curiosity lead you down strange, divergent paths. You just cannot predict how what you learn will end up “paying off” later.Who’s to say what is and what isn’t professional development? (An audited calligraphy class winds up changing the design of computers, etc.)
Austin Kleon responds to the challenge associated with ‘learning for learning’s sake’. He suggests that we need to invest in hobbies and curiosity, just as much as we focus on ‘return on investment’.

This is the trouble we often have with schools, of course: When education is seen as an investment, we decide what students should be spending time on based on what is shown (or believed, rather) to have a return on investment in the marketplace. (And not that we really have any idea.)

This reminds me of Amy Burvall’s point that “in order to connect dots, one must first have the dots”. Also, Janice Kaplan discusses the importance of engaging with curiosity.

Bookmarked Make it (austinkleon.com)
Austin Kleon reflects on creativity and being an artist This is a good introduction to his work.

There are a number of interesting quotes, such as:

It is by doing the work that you uncover who you are, what you are about and what’s inside of you.

And:

When you really don’t want something, that’s when you get it.

And:

Invest in your tools, make then available and work in a way where you are not judging what you do.

Bookmarked The ones who disappear (austinkleon.com)
“I chose not to take the standard options in my business – going to Vegas and singing your great hits, if you’re lucky, or going to hell, which is where Elvis went,” Lennon said. “Walking away is much harder than carrying on.”
Austin Kleon collects together a number of perspectives on the challenges of walking away and finding balance. Kleon discusses the choices of Rick Moranis and John Lennon’s choices to stay at home with children.

This seems in contrast to those like Robyn Williams whose lives are deeply connected to their art. As Cherri Minns describes:

If he wasn’t working, he was a shell of himself. And when he worked, it was like a light bulb was turned on.