Here you can see this poem being made:
In today’s New York Times, a man said this about living in a 112-square-foot house: “It has maximized what I’m able to do with the young years of my life.”
This is the big point I try to make when I speak to young people: “Keep your overhead low.”
The less you have to maintain, the more time you have to do what you want to do.
Sometimes the words don’t come. That’s when I make pictures. (And vice versa.)
I hate writing. What I really love is reading. I tell people I became a professional writer so I could be a professional reader. (Adam Phillips: “I had never had any desire to be a writer. I wanted to be a reader.”)
Always circling the same obsessions, I’ll often make a poem months (or years) after that would’ve fit perfectly into one of my books. This one would’ve gone into chapter three of Steal Like An Artist (“Write the book you want to read.”) Originally, it was going to go, “I read what I want to read,” as a screw you to people who try to make you feel guilty about what you read, but I decided I couldn’t pass this one up.
My first book, Newspaper Blackout, is now available as an eBook.
Word of caution: you need to have a reasonably large, preferably backlit screen to appreciate these things. If you just have an old Kindle or an eReader with a tiny screen, you’d be better off buying the paperback. (I haven’t tested every device, but I can say it looks really great in iBooks on an iPad. Maybe even better than on paper.)
The eBook also contains some “deleted scenes”—a dozen or so poems that got cut from the original manuscript—and a new afterword.
The holidays are coming up, which means that I’m getting a lot of email from folks who want to buy prints of my work to give as gifts.
Unfortunately, we won’t be selling prints until next year. (My wife Meg is working hard on planning the logistics—we’ll be selling signed, limited-edition screenprints of new and old poems.) Prints available now! In the meantime, here’s how to get a cheap print:
1. Buy a copy of Newspaper Blackout and a regular ol’ 8×10 frame.
2. Razor out a poem you like.
3. Frame and enjoy!
If you’re desperate for a gift, you can also get a signed copy of Steal Like An Artist from Bookpeople here in Austin, Texas. They ship everywhere. Order one here.
If you’d like to know when prints are available, sign up for my weekly newsletter.
Earlier this month, I posted a blackout on Instagram and a follower commented, “Sounds like the beginning of a good tale.”
That got me wondering if could tell a ghost story in blackouts for the rest of October—one blackout a day, each made from the September 29th edition of the NYTimes. (Which, as you can see above, just happened to have a lot of ghost references…)
What I ended up with was a long poem about sexually-frustrated ghosts. Not fine literature, but it was fun to make. Read the whole thing below. Happy Halloween!
Headed to the Pacific Northwest next week. First stop is Seattle to film a 90-minute interview with Chase Jarvis. The interview will be broadcast live, Wednesday, September 18th, 11:00am Seattle time (1pm Central, 2pm Eastern). If you have something you’re dying to know, we’ll be taking questions from the audience. Should be fun. Details here.
As always, follow me on Twitter for last-minute updates: @austinkleon
It’s a good ritual before I do my “real” work for the day. I use this little librarian stamp on the poem when I’m finished—if I’ve kept up with my routine, I only have to move the day slider one little notch:
They don’t always turn out:
Sometimes the bleed from the poem makes for interesting art on the other side:
I wanted to share a few of my favorites below…