Replied to Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter: The digestive system (

Ear candy: I’ve mainly just been listening to New Order’s “Your Silent Face” and my New Division Joy Order playlist on repeat. Very autumnal.

Not sure if you have already stumbled upon it, but I recommend Peter Hook’s conversation with Zan Rowe on the Take5 podcast
Replied to Mishearing as a creative act – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

Misheard lyrics, by the way, have a name: Mondegreens. Here’s Maria Konnikova on the science behind them in The New Yorker:

“Mondegreen” means a misheard word or phrase that makes sense in your head, but is, in fact, entirely incorrect… Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way.

I love the Tom Waits strategy of intentionally mishearing. This reminds me Harold Bloom’s notion of a ‘map of misreading’:

With the publication of Yeats (1970), Bloom began to extend his critical theory, and in The Anxiety of Influence (1973) and A Map of Misreading (1975), he systematized one of his most original theories: that poetry results from poets deliberately misreading the works that influence them. Figures of Capable Imagination (1976) and several other works of the next decade develop and illustrate this theme.(source)

Replied to

This is such an important message Fiona. It reminds me of Austin Kleon’s message from Steal Like an Artist:

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.

We however forget about stealing from our past selves.

This is what I like about Song Exploder, where artists break down the birth of an idea.

Bookmarked It’s not inside you trying to get out, it’s outside trying to get in – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

What if you stopped thinking about your ideas as things you need to let out of you, but things you need to let in to you? Things you need to be ready to receive?

Austin Kleon reflects on how Tom Waits and Nick Cave get ideas when writing songs. The focus is not about getting ideas out, but rather letting them in from the outside. This had me thinking about why blog. In Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson talks about the way the same ideas have occurred to different people at the same time:

The things we think about are deeply influenced by the state of the art around us: the conversations taking place among educated folk, the shared information, tools, and technologies at hand.

Bookmarked Bookworms Rejoice – The Best Libraries in Australia (The Design Files | Australia’s most popular design blog.)

Take a (whispered) tour of the most incredible architectural reading spaces across Australia.

Maybe the future of libraries is in design? This post feels like an invitation for library tourism.
Bookmarked Youth Spies and Curious Elders – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

On holding onto your curiosity as you age.

I love the term ‘curious elder’:

John Waters is what I call a Curious Elder — someone who manages to retain their curiosity as they age and stays interested in what young people are up to. The curious elder isn’t interested in judging youth, they’re interested in learning from them.

As a parent and an educator, I think that there is a danger of understanding, rather than “revelling in the mystification”.

I remember when I taught music I would start each weekly lesson with a listening diary where we would reflect upon a different piece of music chosen by a student. It was a fascinating opportunity.

Bookmarked I’m Author Austin Kleon, and This Is How I Parent  (Offspring)

Austin Kleon doesn’t glamorize creative work. It’s hard. (Hence, the “work.”) But the bestselling author has found ways to stay the course in the face of burnout, self-doubt, and yes, even raising children. He shares his wisdom in his new book Keep Going, which comes out tomorrow. Today, he talks to us about how he parents.

I always like following Kleon’s tips and reflections associated with parenting. I was just wondering about the place of Kleon’s wife in all of this. It reminded me of Douglas Rushkoff’s argument that being human is a team sport, I think the same could be said about parenting.
Replied to What to say when there’s nothing to say (Austin Kleon’s Weekly Newsletter)

OK, friends. Thanks for reading. Next week I go into full Book Promotion Mode with the new one. If you like this newsletter and want it to keep going, pre-order Keep Going online or at your favorite indie bookstore, and save your receipt because we’re announcing an awesome pre-order gift next week. (The reviews on Goodreads so far are better than good and my 6-year-old was quite pleased by the nice comments about his book trailer.)

Not sure I completely get how the book industry works, but have pre-ordered Keep Going in the belief that this makes a difference to production numbers.
Liked Love what you do in front of the kids in your life by an author

Want your kids to read more? Let them see you reading every day.

Want your kids to practice an instrument? Let them see you practicing an instrument.

Want your kids to spend more time outside? Let them see you without your phone.

There’s no guarantee that your kids will copy your modeling, but they’ll get a glimpse of an engaged human.

Replied to A Slow Start (Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter)

If you’re interested in songwriting, parenting, or the creative process, I recommend Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)I listened to him read it on audiobook, which is rare for me. (I don’t have a commute, I like reading with a pencil, I use words all day so I can’t listen to them, and I usually like taking my walks without headphones in.)

Austin, I am intrigued. Did you listen to Tweedy’s memoirs because it was read by him? I find listening to an author read their own work really compelling. For example, I not only love the way Douglas Rushkoff writes, but am grabbed by his prowess as a reader too. Although false, it makes me think I am somehow closer to the truth of the text.
Bookmarked If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first by an author

It’s been said a million times — it’s one of the main points of my books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! — and yet, it still seems to be controversial or confusing to young people who are starting out: If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.

Austin Kleon provides a collection of quotes outlining the importance of reading before writing. It is interesting to think about this in regards to J. Hillis Miller’s argument that reading itself is an act of writing:

As we read we compose, without thinking about it, a kind of running commentary or marginal jotting that adds more words to the words on the page. There is always already writing as the accompaniment to reading.

Liked In praise of Garageband by an author

One afternoon a few years ago when we were bored, I showed my son Owen (now 6) how to make simple tracks on his little iPad mini, and ever since then, he’s been completely obsessed with the program. He spends, on average, at least an hour a day in Garageband. (He would spend way more if we didn’t limit his screen time, and we have to, because if we don’t he gets that weird zombie recording glaze in his eyes. [Musicians will know what I’m talking about.])

Liked Close listening by an author

Though I didn’t become a professional musician or producer or recording engineer, I like to think that this kind of exercise — studying something you love in depth — is valuable no matter what the field or the genre. The results don’t matter. When you study something so closely, in so much depth, you learn what it is to really pay attention. And paying attention is the art that builds a more meaningful and creative life.