I have so much respect for Jonathan Van Ness. Originally, it was founded in his charmingly kooky presentation and unbelievable way with words. Then, as I watched more episodes of Queer Eye, I came to see that at the root, he is an intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate human with a lot of grit. Having read the New York Times article (an interview timed with the publication of JVN's memoir), I can see where his foundation comes from — he built it himself.
After making big changes in my work life over the last year, I've had to deal with the many, small, repercussive changes that followed. I made the decision to make one big change, but I don't think I was fully prepared for how many smaller changes would also result. I wish I'd read this post by Leo Babauta months ago! Instead, I've done it all on my own (with my partner and friends to support me), and a lot of times I've felt like I'm stumbling around without forward motion to show for it. The last part of the post, Key Skills in Creating Shift, reinforced what I have slowly (and painfully) come to figure out on my own — small steps are better than none at all and self compassion is key. 🔑
I inhaled the first season of Abstract — a series of short docs about a graphic designer, an interior designer, an illustrator, a photographer, and four more creative professionals. It's so right up my alley — learning all about how artists work and grow and became who they are. I am late to the game in appreciating Ruth Carter — I learned about her only after I saw Black Pantherand fell in love with its characters' cool looks. In season 2 of Abstract, I immediately skipped to her episodeandloved it. She's a reader and researcher who loves libraries and writes stories with costumes. I'd really love for someone to do a full-length documentary on her life because it felt like this one could barely fit in her lengthy career, and there was only time for a little bit about her childhood and personal life. It was great, but more, please! 😁
Keep Going is the third book in Austin Kleon's series that started with Steal Like an Artist and was followed by Show Your Work! I love his style in general — handwriting, collages, blackout poems, great quotes — and this book is the best of the three IMHO. I originally got it from the library and then bought my own copy because I could tell that reading it once wasn't going to be enough. I'm at a new point in my creative life and career, and the messages of this book are just what I need to hear — about hope, perseverance, and art as a fun and meaningful part of your everyday life.
BONUS PODCAST LINK: A great conversation between Austin and Jonathan Fields on the Good Life Project podcast, talking about the book and about living creative lives.
I loved this interview with Linda Ronstadt in the New Yorker. She's a singer who can no longer sing (a result of Parkinson's disease), a San Francisco resident, and a voracious reader. I am always moved by stories of aging artists — well, any artists, but I do love hearing about artists who continue to practice their art no matter their age. So to read about Linda Ronstadt, a woman who had a powerful voice and who can no longer sing, made me think about what to do to fill the holes when the things you have used to define your life are stripped away. What would I do if I couldn't read or talk walks with my dog or count on the reliable flow of my creativity?
THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST TEEN MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I am not kidding. It's a female teen buddy comedy starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, set on the last day of high school, and directed by Olivia Wilde (🙌🏼female director!). The cast is diverse, the characters don't fall into stereotypes, hijinks happen but everyone is kind to each other, and the use of music to highlight a moment or create an emotional tone is seriously on point. This is my favorite movie of 2019, and I hate that the Oscars don't value comedies like they should because this one would sweep! 🏆
WTF is my long-time fave podcast. Marc Maron is an insightful interviewer with a knack for getting people to open up in a way I don't hear on other podcasts. Betty Gilpin stars with Marc on the Netflix series Glow, and their relationship as cast mates is clear in this conversation. The revelation of this interview is Betty Gilpin's completely charming metaphor-laden view of life. How to trust people and let them in "beyond the vestibule," and being all made-up for work and feeling like a "porn poodle" were two of my faves! It's a smart conversation between two "thinky" people who don't trust surfaces or the status quo.