Author Talk with Austin Kleon

A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to watch a conversation between Austin Kleon and Jessica Abel live.

Here are some of my key take-aways from what Kleon had to say:

    • “I’m a student who never went back to school.”
    • “The only way I can [write] these books is ask what I’m trying to figure out. They’re selfish.”
    • Everything that’s good for kids is good for you… Space, time, books, fresh air and walks.
    • Stop asking direct questions to find the answer, just figure it out.
    • “You’re just a mashup of what you let into your life.”
    • Every writer should work in a books store or a library to be forced to think about the reader.
    • Kids aren’t afraid of a blank page, because they have no expectations of themselves. And they’ve got some incredible confidence. 

One thing I’d love to do once the world returns that I’ve never done before is go see authors speak in person. I never really recognized books tours as something I’d be interested in, but I’m certainly interested now.

Favorite passages from the ‘Fellowship of the Ring’

I’m just about finished with J.R.R. Tolkien’s famed beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As I read, I like to put sticky tabs over those passages I like most, to go back to in future.

Here I’d like to share a few of those passages!

  1. “Then, each in an angle of the great tree’s roots, they curled up in the cloaks and blankets, and were soon fast asleep. They set no watch; even Frodo feared no danger yet, for they were still in the heart of the Shire. A few creatures came and looked at them when the fire had died away. A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.
    ‘Hobbits?’ he thought. ‘Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There’s something mighty queer behind this.’ He was quite right, but he never found out any more about it.”

  2. ‘”Yes, sir!’ said Sam. ‘Begging your pardon, sir! But I meant no wrong to you, Mr. Frodo, nor to Mr. Gandalf for that matter. He has some sense, mind you; and when you said go alone, he said no! take someone as you can trust.’
    ‘But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,’ said Frodo.
    Sam looked at him unhappily. ‘It all depends on what you want,’ put in Merry. ‘You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of your – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, an go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there it is.'”

  3. “The air was growing very warm again. The hobbits ran about for a while on the grass, as he told them. Then they lay basking in the sun with the delight of those that have been wafted suddenly from bitter winter to a friendly clime, or of people that, after being long ill and bedridden, wake one day to find that they are unexpectedly well and the day is again full of promise. “

  4. “As they listened, they began to understand the lives of the Forest, apart from themselves, indeed to feel themselves as the stranger where all other things were at home. Moving constantly in and out of his talk was Old Man Willow, and Frodo learned now enough to content him, indeed more than enough, for it was not comfortable lore. Tom’s words laid bare the hearts of trees and their thoughts, which were often dark and strange, and filled with a hatred of things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers. It was not called the Old Forest without reason, for it was indeed ancient, a survivor of vast forgotten woods and in it there lived yet, ageing no quicker than the hills, the fathers of the fathers of trees, remembering times when they were lords. The countless years had filled them with pride and rooted wisdom, and with malice.”

I realize that some of their beauty is taken when read out of context from the whole, but I hope you still got some of they same sense of beauty that I did when reading them.

P.S. I was sitting in my bed last night, thinking there was something I’d forgotten to do… I shrugged it off and went to sleep. Only this morning did the fluttering memory return; I didn’t write anything yesterday. C’est la vie!