November 27, 2014
Read deeply. Stay open. Continue to wonder. Google it yo.
By Austin Kleon
I remember the feeling of discovering Austin Kleon's newspaper blackout poetry a few years ago: excitement and awe - it was just so wonderfully creative, and how had no one else thought of it before? Why hadn't I? Poetry has comforted me many times, and sifting through Newspaper Blackout was especially comforting, moving, special. Austin's poetry art is the epitome of "creativity is subtraction."
I spotted this book on a trip to San Francisco in September, while visiting a good friend of mine who I've had the most open conversations with regarding the trajectory of my life -- what I want to do & who I want to be. This book resonated in that moment, and still does now, as I try to figure out what makes the most sense for me moving forward, how to shake the feeling I sometimes have of being stuck, how to pursue what makes me happy and the conflict that comes with making decisions that honor my happiness but are also logical and realistic. The decision I've come to most recently (which can change any second TBH), is that I like where I am now but, on the side, I have to start pursuing the interests and hobbies I let go by the wayside. Slowly but surely…
This is a short, fun book with the best of intentions and every page holds advice worthy of an excerpt. One of my favorites via pages 18-19 below. It reminds me of my childhood because I asked so many questions. We had a comprehensive A-Z collection of encyclopedias, and my dad would very often point me in the direction of them and say "Look it up" when I asked him for information. I think his response was due to equal parts exhaustion & him wanting to make me stop nagging, him not always knowing the answers, and him wanting me to learn on my own. It was so frustrating sometimes, but there is no denying the satisfaction of discovering the answers by myself trumped being told. Same sentiment here, but now we have Google: