(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Austin Kleon

“Short was good in a book”*…




With the kids in the house all day I am finding it terribly hard to concentrate when reading. Hopefully you’re the opposite, and having a fine time, tackling Moby-Dick or War and Peace or Ducks, Newburyport or whatever. But, if not, here, copy and pasted from an old newsletter, are some of my favorite short books:


Short stories:






Staying sane:



You could read many of these in a single afternoon. Happy reading!

(Buy from your local bookstore or Bookshop if you can.)

Characteristically-good advice from the estimable Austin Kleon (@austinkleon): “Short was good in a book.”

* Charles Portis, Gringo


As we concentrate on the compact, we might send charming birthday greetings to Ludwig Bemelmans; he was born on this date in 1898.  An author, illustrator, and artist, he is best known for his six Madeline picture books.

In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline…



220px-Ludwig_Bemelmans source



Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 27, 2020 at 1:01 am

“If you fake the funk, your nose will grow”*…




Prince would get mad when people called his music magical: “Funk is the opposite of magic. Funk is about rules.”

Here’s Bootsy Collins laying down the #1 rule of funk: Keep it on the one


Collins learned about The One from his former bandleader James Brown. Collins thought he was “killin’ ’em” with all his wild playing, but Brown set him straight:

“Son, give me the one. You give me the one, you can do all those other things.” So, I started to understand: If I give you the one, I can do all these other crazy things.” James Brown was the one that told me: “Son, you need to give me the one.” […] He didn’t know the power of that. That changed my whole life. Once I learned where the one was at? It was on.”…

Austin Kleon on the musical maxim that is also a life lesson: “Keep it on The One.”

* Bootsy Collins


As we return to first principles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that The Fonz jumped a shark on Happy Days, introducing– and immortalizing– the phrase “jumping the shark” as a metaphor for something past its peak, trying too hard.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 20, 2019 at 1:01 am

“The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal”*…

Here, via the Economist, a wonderful preview of the (broadly applicable) ideas that animate Austin Kleon‘s upcoming book:

click here to play

* Pablo Picasso (or was it…?)


As we apprehend appropriate appropriation, we might wish a harmonious Happy Birthday to Aaron Copland; the composer, writer, teacher, and conductor was born on this date in 1900.  To Austin’s insights above, it’s worth noting that Copland’s best-known composition, “Appalachian Spring,” relied centrally on the “stolen” Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts.”

source, rights

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 14, 2011 at 1:01 am

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