Interview with James Victore

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

James Victore came by the garage and interviewed me for his Burning Questions series. In the Show Your Work! spirit, he posted our interview unedited. Watch it here.

Interview with Unmistakable Creative

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

If you have an hour to kill, I had a nice chat with Srinivas Rao on his Unmistakable Creative podcast. Srinivas said listeners had been requesting me for a while, so I was more than happy to disappoint them be invited.

Among the many topics we discussed: why I found my best work after I left school and what one should to do with an audience once they show up.

Listen here. [53 minutes, MP3]

People you follow

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015


When you discover a new-to-you piece of culture that you want to investigate, say, a new artist or a TV show, it can be hard to know where to start.

Most of us jump on Wikipedia and go from there, but these days I like to head over to Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 9.00.19 PM

Read the rest of this entry »

Six years of logbooks

Monday, January 12th, 2015


“Writers are the custodians of memory, and that’s what you must become if you want to leave some kind of record of your life…”
William Zinsser

A little over six years ago I bought a little Moleskine daily diary and started keeping a logbook. Here’s how you can keep your own.

Better than I deserved

Friday, January 9th, 2015


My morning routine

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

my morning routine

The site My Morning Routine asked me some questions about how I get my day started, and encouraged me to repost the answers here. Please note that this post is not intended to be prescriptive, but simply descriptive, a la Daily Rituals.

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My reading year, 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 11.41.53 AM

I read over 70+ books this year, a personal record. (Here’s how.)

In no particular order, here are 20 personal favorites… Read the rest of this entry »

How to read more

Monday, December 29th, 2014

my reading desk

I read 70+ books this year, a new personal record. If you’re interested in reading more, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Throw your phone in the ocean. (Or, keep it in airplane mode.)
  2. Carry a book with you at all times.
  3. Have another book ready before you finish the one you’re reading. (Make a stack of books to-read or load up your eReader.)
  4. If you aren’t enjoying a book or learning from it, stop reading it immediately. (Flinging it across the room helps give closure.)
  5. Schedule 1 hour of non-fiction reading during the day. (Commutes, lunch breaks, and any contained period of idle time work well.)
  6. Go to bed 1 hour early and read fiction. (It will help you sleep.)
  7. Keep a reading log and share your favorite books with others. (They will send you even more books to read.)

I posted this list on Twitter, and tweaked it based on all the responses. It was inspired by Ryan Holiday.

If you liked this post, you’ll like my books.

Above: My reading desk, designed to resemble a library study carrel.

100 things that made my year

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

i think there will be a year when we'll say gosh we were good enough this year

In no particular order:

  1. Reading a book instead of looking at my phone.
  2. Not finishing books I didn’t like.
  3. Going for a three-mile walk every morning with my wife and son.
  4. Fela Kuti.
  5. Holding office hours instead of answering every email. (Most questions can be boiled down.) (Don’t ask.)
  6. The opposite of schadenfreude.
  7. Joan Didion on self-respect.
  8. Wendell Berry on divorce and putting things back together again.
  9. Discovering P.G. Wodehouse. Snorting and snickering and laughing out loud through Right Ho, Jeeves.
  10. Losing 25 pounds on VB6 and Isa Does It.
  11. Reading old horror novels, like Dracula and Frankenstein.
  12. Going to the local comic book shop to buy Saga.
  13. Getting huge comic book series from the library. Y: The Last Man. The Sandman.
  14. Signing books at BookPeople.
  15. Interviewing Joshua Wolf Shenk about his book, Powers of Two. Thinking about creative duos and unsung partners.
  16. Watching massive amounts of TV with my wife after putting the kid to bed. The AmericansJustifiedTransparent. The Good Wife. Bob’s Burgers. Going Deep With David Rees. Sherlock. Game of Thrones. True Detective. Nashville. Mad Men. Masters of Sex. Hannibal. An Idiot Abroad.
  17. Paul Zollo’s Songwriters on Songwriting
  18. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk.
  19. Steve Albini on releasing art like a bird or a fart.
  20. Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love.
  21. Antonio Sanchez’s drum kit soundtrack to Birdman.
  22. Learning how to make an awesome paper airplane.
  23. Flying to San Francisco in the morning to see David Hockney’s show at the De Young and then flying home that night.
  24. Steal Like An Artist on ESPN. (And in the funny pages.)
  25. Seeing Magritte shows in three cities: at the MoMA in NYC, at the Menil in Houston, and at the Magritte museum in Brussels.
  26. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Reading Lives

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

I had a nice chat with Jeff O’Neal on Reading Lives, a “podcast with interesting people who love books.”

We talk about the endurance of physical book browsing, the difficulty of coming back to comics as an adult, being who you are at a young age, and much more.

Listen here. [50 minutes, MP3]

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