In the past six months, as another part of his personal journey, Kleon said he has begun to meditate and has found that the daily practice helps his creative work. He sets his timer for 10 minutes, and when the time is up he goes to his analog desk (no computer or electronics) and writes a poem.
“Meditating kind of fills you up in this weird way. By emptying your mind, you make room for new stuff,” Kleon said. “Meditating and attempting to write a poem are very similar in that you have to go into both without any expectations.
“I find that the more I meditate and the more I try to work on that process of just kind of letting it happen, it makes my poetry practice better, because I’m able to sit down and not try to force it, but to let things come, enjoy the process and not worry so much about the product.”
Kleon said he thinks that many creative people believe that to be great artists they have to be destructive and give up a lot of good things, including family life.
“What I’m trying to do is flip over that myth,” he said. To illustrate the point, he shared Gustave Flaubert’s advice: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
“I’m trying desperately to be a good family man and a good husband and a good father,” Kleon said. “It’s really important to me to meet great artists that I admire that also happen to be good husbands and fathers.”
His list of successful artists who are also family men includes George Saunders, Wayne White and Ed Emberley.
The author has also written “Newspaper Blackout,” a collection of poetry. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Meghan, and son, Owen. Kleon blogs at austinkleon.com.
If you go ...
What: Austin Kleon book signing
When: Wednesday, April 16, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.
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