Replied to Blogging as a forgiving medium – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

I want to be able to be wrong. I want to change my mind! I want to evolve.

Being wrong publicly is the easiest way to learn what you need to know. The trouble is: it’s also the easiest way to get yelled at or shamed or “canceled,” as they say.

To do the exploration that growth and change requires, one needs a forgiving medium… but what one really needs forgiving readers.

Austin, wondering if blogging is a more forgiving space because you have turned off comments?
Liked David Epstein’s Range – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

One way you know if a book is any good is if you are still thinking about it a year after you read it. (Or five years, or a decade, etc. The longer you think about a book the better you know it is.) Another way to know if a book is good is if it seems like every week you read an article that could be a supplementary chapter.

Liked Nouns and verbs – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

The first exercise in Jeff Tweedy’s How To Write One Song is called a “Word Ladder.” (Not Lewis Carroll’s word game.) It goes like this:

  1. Make a list of ten verbs related to some profession. (He uses a physician, I used a construction worker.)
  2. Write down ten nouns within your field of vision.
  3. Connect the words that don’t usually go together.
Bookmarked The Steal Like An Artist Audio Trilogy – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

An audio compilation of my bestselling books about creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work! and Keep Going.

I purchased Austin Kleon’s audiobook trilogy from His books (and blogs) are something I dive into again and again as a point of reflection, so I am excited about reading the books with new ears. Also a sucker for authors reading their own work.
Replied to David Lynch on getting ideas (

Thank you Austin for sharing. I love this reflection on ideas from David Lynch:

If you catch an idea, you know, any idea, it wasn’t there and then it’s there! It might just be a small fragment, of, like I say, a feature film or a song of a lyric or whatever, but you gotta write that idea down right away. And as you’re writing, sometimes it’s amazing how much comes out, you know, from that one flash…

This reminds me of an interview between Kevin Parker and Rick Ruben in which Parker talks about the challenge of capture ideas when they come to you. Ruben shares how Neil Young always responds to ideas no matter how rude it may be. This excerpt captures Young’s thinking:

Usually 1 sit down and 1 go until I’m trying to think. As soon as I start thinking, I quit… then when I have an idea out of nowhere, I start up again. When that idea stops, I stop. I don’t force it. If its not there, it’s not there, and there’s nothing you can do about it… There’s the conscious mind and the subconscious mind and the spirit. And I can only guess as to what is really going on there. (Zollo, 1997, pp. 354-5)

Ruben then gives Parker permission to stop what you are doing and capture the ideas when they come.

Replied to Recording an audiobook during a pandemic by Austin Kleon (

It took us two days to get through 42,000 words, which I’m told isn’t too bad! I had two big revelations:

1. Recording is a physical process. It’s actually really hard work — it requires a ton of concentration and performance while sitting on your ass. My throat and my nerves were raw and I was an exhausted wreck at the end of the day! You start to notice every single weird pop and click your horrible mouth makes. I drank probably 3 gallons of water. (I was told, too late, that a green apple helps with mouth noise.)

2. You should record the audiobook before you turn in the book. I always read my work out loud when I’m editing, but being forced to say your words into a microphone and hearing your voice over headphones turns up every wart and wrinkle in the text. “What illiterate wrote this script?” I thought, five minutes into recording. The books got even better in the course of recording.

Thank you Austin for sharing your recording experience. It sounds like the closet is the way to go.

The process of using tools provided and dialling in remotely reminded me of Jacob Collier’s reflections on the use of Source Connect on the Switched on Pop podcast.

Looking forward to hearing the books. Maybe it is a trick of the mind, but I always like hearing an author read their own work.

Replied to #perfect31 (

What this became over the course of a month was a really cool kind of daily blogging exercise. My posts got deeper (and longer) as the month went on and I started using the albums just as an excuse to write about whatever they made me think about when they were playing.

Austin, you have some record collection. Thanks for sharing. Even better, now I have another playlist to listen to:

Replied to The fog horns (
I finally got around to listening to Damon Krukowski’s Ways of Hearing. This association with the field recording and music reminds me Krukowki’s recollection of meeting John Cage who said he, “never closed the window [to his apartment]. Why would he? There is so much to listen to all the time.”

Replied to The Chronovirus (

For those of us lucky and healthy enough to stay home and isolate, what the virus really destroys is our sense of time. Days feel like weeks. Months feel like seconds.

I love how Ben Folds captures the current situation:

“It used to be ‘that song is so 2008’. Now it’s ‘ugh, that song is so 10am. What are you thinking? With that old song you old man?”

I feel that we are all made up of different fragments of self often existing in different spaces. One easily overlooked is the private space. A plot of land often left fallow. For example, the personal diary. As Austin Kleon suggests, such a medium offers a good place to have bad ideas:

I find that my diary is a good place to have bad ideas. I tell my diary everything I shouldn’t tell anybody else, especially everyone on social media. We are in a shitty time in which you can’t really go out on any intellectual limbs publicly, or people — even your so-called friends! — will throw rocks at you or try to saw off the branch. Harsh, but true.

Personally speaking, I find the challenge is that such spaces are the last to get tended to, yet often the most important in regards to mental health.

Replied to How I start a notebook (

Ear candy: I have a lot of writing ahead of me, so I’ll soon be making my way through Pitchfork’s 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time. An album missing from that list is Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Music for Nine Post Cards, which my friend Jez just wrote about. Another composer on that list I’m really into right now is Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, who did the soundtrack for the recent Safdie Brothers film, Uncut Gems.

Thank you for the link to the interview with Daniel Lopatin. I too have been diving into the world of Oneohtrix Point Never.